It is not always about the Big 5
Many of us wish to photograph the Big 5 but are they the only animals in the game reserve? No!
I am an avid wildlife photographer and if I manage to get one of the Big 5 on my visit to the Game Reserve it is a bonus. When visiting the park be on the lookout for the unusual shot and many a time you will capture it by being patient and watching the smaller inhabitants.
One of my favourite subjects is the Oxpecker, also known as the Rhino Bird, which to me is a comical bird. You can watch him for hours flying from animal to animal pecking away either cleaning wounds, or ticks. Next time you are in the Reserve, park near a herd of Impala and watch the oxpeckers going about their business and see if you can get some interesting shots of the bird.
The bottom two images are of the Red Billed Oxpecker, the image with the Impala I sat for 15 minutes before I managed to get this shot. Have patience, sit and wait and you may be rewarded with a great photo.
Zebra to me is probably the most photogenic animal in the Game Reserve. Zebras are social animals they graze in herds called a Dazzle. The herd consists of a Stallion many mares and foals. Watch the herd especially if they have a young foal and you may catch that shot of the foal drinking from its mother. During mating season it is interesting to watch the stallions fighting as they seek favour with the mare. One of the actions you can look for with the Zebra is when they yawn stretching their jaws and showing their teeth which always looks like a big grin. The best is composing an image with a Zebra have a look at the portrait image with the two Zebra and how the tree in the background forms a frame of the heads.
I find birds to be a great subject to photograph and patience is rewarded. A Lesser Striped Swallow sitting on the edge of the bridge makes for a fine image as well as a Southern Yellow Billed Hornbill with a scorpion in its beak which he devoured 5 minutes later. One of the successes of taking good shots is learning the habits of the different animal or bird and anticipate their next move. This comes from spending a lot more time with your subject rather than snapping pictures then driving to the next subject, you have to sacrifice time and learn to be patient. A Crested Barbet is a colourful and very hard to photograph as it keeps on moving from one spot to another. Sitting and watching him for 3 minutes I noted that he favoured a particular area where he hunted insects on the ground. I parked my car near to the spot and when he returned I managed to get this shot of him on the ground.
While driving watch for reptiles or mongoose, the photo of the Water Monitor was taken as we were driving onto a bridge and he was peeping over the side. The Mongoose was in the road and when we came around the corner they scattered into the thick grass. Stop the car and switch off the engine, another important thing to remember when you are watching animals is to “Switch off”. Noise disturbs them and they rather move away from it and this would be an opportunity lost. After about 5 minutes the Mongoose returned to the exact part of the road and I was able to take a shot of it playing cute by leopard crawling toward my driver’s door.
I hope that my story will help you in some way and if you wish to view my portfolio, you can go to my facebook page with link https://www.facebook.com/Photography.by.Nobby my web page, www.nobbysphotography.co.za is currently under construction and should be available shortly. We will be in Kruger National Park for the first two weeks in October where we hope to capture some Leopard images
Should you be interested in asking for advice please do not hesitate to drop us a email.