A month in Ruaha & Serengeti Nat Parks- Tanzania. Pt1

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Feb 11, 2008
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My first post for many months, my apologies, have been quite busy editing large numbers of images for work projects.

This recent month long Ruaha/Namiri TZ trip has been one not easily forgotten.
With lost bags, escaping a fatal plane crash by 24hrs, 11 killed in Tanzania plane crash
a smashed D5 & 400 f/2.8E long lens combo (on only my 4th day!!) which saw my 70-200 +1.4tc become my long prime
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and how one quickly must adapt to such setbacks, always a good reason to carry 3 bodies.
Highlights were four ........yes 4 amazing Caracal sightings, a zebra birth, great close encounters with a cheetah mum and sub-adult to a magical last day sighting of a lioness walking & carrying her 3 x four week old cubs over 4 km from their birthplace in the marsh to their new Kopje home to join the rest of her 10 other siblings.

Can't wait to return here again for the Gnu calving in 4 weeks time.

I"ll try not to bore you with an overload of images, so here are a selection of 8.


"Yawning for attention"

Here a very relaxed sub adult female cheetah approaches my vehicle, lies down to stretch and yawn under an early evening sky on the open plains of Namiri/Serengeti.
Her mother was also just feet away. Such a treat! (captured with monopod/flipped ballhead & L bracket @ ground level + Camranger remote)

Nikon D810
Tamron 24-70 f/2.8 G2 (love this new VC equipped lens, every bit as good as the twice as expensive Nikkor VR version plus it's 41mm shorter!)
f/6.3
1/400s
ISO1250@ 68mm.


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"Golden hour ascent"

6.19am and the 3 yr old male leopard known as "Moyo" climbs a tree to a beautiful golden hour sunrise, opportunities like this happen very rarely and was thrilled to capture him in such an iconic pose and soft golden light.
Ruaha Nat Park- TZ.

Nikon D850
Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8E FL VR + 1.4tc
ƒ/4
1/1000s
ISO 1000@ 100mm


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"His majesty"

A magnificent dark maned male from the Vidimbuni pride struts his stuff whilst on early patrol on the grassland plains of Namiri, Central Serengeti- TZ.

Nikon D850
Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8E FL VR + 1.4tc
ƒ/7.1
1/2000s
ISO 1000@ 280mm


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"Moving day"

A young lioness (possibly her fiirst litter) carries her 3 x four week old cubs over 4 km from their birthplace in the marsh to their new kopje (rock outcrop) home to join the rest of her 10 other siblings and taking the total pride number to 23. What a joy to witness and document!
Namiri plains- Central Serengeti, TZ.

Nikon D850
Nikkor 70-200E FL VR + 1.4tc
ƒ/13
1/1600s
ISO 1600@ 280mm


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"Leopard in Sycamore fig"

A wonderfully camouflaged male leopard known as "Ghost" descends from inside a beautiful Sycamore fig to grab his warthog prized kill below.
Ruaha Nat Park- TZ

Nikon D850
Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8E FL VR +1.4tc
ƒ/5.6
1/1000s
ISO 640@ 135mm


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"Do not disturb"

A male lion insists on hanging the "do not disturb" sign up as we approach
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Namiri plains- Central Serengeti

Nikon D850
Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8E FL VR + 1.4tc
ƒ/5.6
1/800s
ISO 4000@ 280mm


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"Cubs on the rocks"

4 x six month old lion cubs from the Mdyona Ju pride seek the shade and shelter of a rock outcrop at the foot of Kimilamatonga Hill in Ruaha's Nat Park- TZ

Nikon D850
70-200 f/2.8E FL VR + 1.4tc
ƒ/5
1/1000s
ISO 720@ 280mm


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Cheers
Marc
 
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A commitment of time, money and talent well spent. Thanks for sharing these and I look forward to seeing any more you elect to post.
 
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The stories you share with your images & the descriptions that go with, are not a bore. I second what keirin stated above-nice talent. Really intrigued by all of these images, especially like the shooting technique in #1. I am glad I had opportunity to view this set.
 

Butlerkid

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Wonderful set of images! I have though of using a monopod and flipped ball head to get ground level shots, but never had the opportunity to try it. Well done!

Pray tell, what happened to the D5/400! OUCH!
 
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An absolutely stunning set of images!

I know that using the 1.4x tc on the 70-200 VR was done out of necessity. Yet, the pictures as they appear in this posting are fantastic. Clearly, the new 70-200 tolerates the teleconverter quite well. Which version of the teleconverter did you use? I'm trying to determine if I should upgrade from my version II of the 1.4x.

Glenn
 
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Many thanks for the positive comments everyone, much appreciated.
The stories you share with your images & the descriptions that go with, are not a bore. I second what keirin stated above-nice talent. Really intrigued by all of these images, especially like the shooting technique in #1. I am glad I had opportunity to view this set.

It's a quick and simple low level tool Kevin.
Comprised of a monopod, sm/med ballhead and a plain L bracket, coupled with the CamRanger (white unit) and controlled remotely via my tablet or iPhone.

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Cheers
Marc
 
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An absolutely stunning set of images!

I know that using the 1.4x tc on the 70-200 VR was done out of necessity. Yet, the pictures as they appear in this posting are fantastic. Clearly, the new 70-200 tolerates the teleconverter quite well. Which version of the teleconverter did you use? I'm trying to determine if I should upgrade from my version II of the 1.4x.

Glenn
I upgraded and see no difference
 
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Truly magnificent photos, love all of them, but am amazed by number 1 at 68mm superb!
Love the story and agree the additional context is really nice too.

Am glad you missed being a statistic 24 hours seems a tad close for comfort, and yes, we all need to know the fate of the D5/400mm please, commiserations but well recovered with the 70-200/1.4TC combo, beutiful and dramtic images.
 
Joined
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Messages
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An absolutely stunning set of images!

I know that using the 1.4x tc on the 70-200 VR was done out of necessity. Yet, the pictures as they appear in this posting are fantastic. Clearly, the new 70-200 tolerates the teleconverter quite well. Which version of the teleconverter did you use? I'm trying to determine if I should upgrade from my version II of the 1.4x.

Glenn
Thanks Glenn

On this trip I used the 1.4tcIII, and have also used my 1.4tcII also and the quality/AF acquisition IMO opinion is virtually identical, the one benefit with the III and it's electronic aperture is more consistent exposure frame to frame when in high FPS. I purchased the III simply because I need at times to have them attached to 2 different bodies/lens combinations.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Palm Cove, FarNth QLD- AUSTRALIA
Wonderful set of images! I have though of using a monopod and flipped ball head to get ground level shots, but never had the opportunity to try it. Well done!

Pray tell, what happened to the D5/400! OUCH!

Always sitting in the front pax seat, my guide and I were following lion chasing buffalo and always have the D5/400/2.8 right & ready on my lap, we hit an aardvark hole at a speed :banghead:............and the rest is history, lucky we both escaped with just a few bumps/bruises.
It's not the first time I've smashed gear and won't be the last. The repair bill from Nikon here in Switzerland was CHF2200 (US$2450) and given that a D5 & 400/2.8E cost US$20K, insurance is vital and a godsend!

Cheers
Marc
 

Butlerkid

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Always sitting in the front pax seat, my guide and I were following lion chasing buffalo and always have the D5/400/2.8 right & ready on my lap, we hit an aardvark hole at a speed :banghead:............and the rest is history, lucky we both escaped with just a few bumps/bruises.
It's not the first time I've smashed gear and won't be the last. The repair bill from Nikon here in Switzerland was CHF2200 (US$2450) and given that a D5 & 400/2.8E cost US$20K, insurance is vital and a godsend!

Cheers
Marc
So very glad neither of you were injured! Gear is replaceable! On a recent trip to Kenya, my brand new RRS tripod was discovered to be defective. At one point the gimbal fell off the tripod! Thankfully my 500/f4 was not attached! Once home, RRS sent me a new apex assembly...but I never suspected a problem like that would happen with a brand new tripod! Glad you had insurance and using the 70-200 and 1.4 tele allowed you to still get the shots....albeit not the compositions you would have created using the 400mm with or without the tele!
 
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Magnificent shots, that ground level cheetah makes me think about keeping my monopod - I've never used it, just not my cup of tea but your use of it shines a new light on it.
 
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