Tag Archives: Nature Photography Adventures

The Chobe River and Chobe National Park, Botswana

The Chobe River is a special place for nature photographers and nature lovers.  One side of the river is Botswana, the other side, Namibia. Beautiful birds are nesting along the both shorelines.

Malachite Kingfisher
© Diane Kelsay

Malachite Kingfisher
© Bob Harvey

White Fronted Bee Eater
© Diane Kelsay

Pied Kingfisher
© Diane Kelsay

And the nest robbers go after the eggs.

Water Monitor Lizard
© Diane Kelsay

The Southern Red Bishop searches the reeds for building materials.

Southern Red Bishop
© Bob Harvey

He builds several nests for his home show and invites the female for a look.

Inspection of the nest.
© Diane Kelsay

Elephants love the water, where they drink, eat, cool off and play.

© Diane Kelsay

© Diane Kelsay

Riverbank mud bath.
© Diane Kelsay

And sometimes their life ends in the river.  Dozens of Nile Crocodiles feasted on this elephant for a day – and then for some reason, moved it about a half mile upstream during the night, and then cleaned up what remained.

© Diane Kelsay

© Diane Kelsay

© Diane Kelsay

And of course, the mighty Fish Eagle.  Sometimes the call is the first sound of the morning.

© Diane Kelsay

© Bob Harvey

© Bob Harvey

Along the riverside, lions like to roam in and out of the trees, along the sandbars…

© Diane Kelsay

The roar was the loudest we ever heard.  
© Diane Kelsay

Clearly she was busy grooming and didn’t want to respond.
© Diane Kelsay

Looks like he is waiting for her.
© Diane Kelsay

© Bob Harvey

The river is loaded with hippos.  Lots of action!

© Bob Harvey

© Diane Kelsay

Hippo looking for trouble!
© 2018 Diane Kelsay

It’s a beautiful river.
© Diane Kelsay

© Diane Kelsay

Link to our Botswana Photography Safari

 

 

 

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Mom & Me

© Bob Harvey

It’s time to celebrate our moms.  They feed us, then teach us how to feed ourselves by grazing, browsing, fishing, hunting…   They protect us from predators and teach us how to get along in our environment.

© Bob Harvey

© Diane Kelsay

© Diane Kelsay

© Bob Harvey

© Diane Kelsay

© Diane Kelsay

© Diane Kelsay

© Bob Harvey

© Diane Kelsay

© Diane Kelsay

© Diane Kelsay

© Bob Harvey

© Bob Harvey

© Bob Harvey

© Diane Kelsay

© Diane Kelsay

© Diane Kelsay

© Diane Kelsay

© Bob Harvey

© Diane Kelsay

© Diane Kelsay

© Bob Harvey

© Bob Harvey

© Diane Kelsay

© Bob Harvey

© Diane Kelsay

It’s really special to watch and photograph moms and their young.  Do take the time to study the behavior, not just catch a quick photo.  You will end up with many choices of great moments.

© Diane Kelsay

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N’Giresi Village, Tanzania

The local village of the Wa Arusha tribe are cousins of the Maasai, but unlike the Maasai, are a farming community. We offer a visit to this village as a pre-tour for our Tanzania Adventures.  This time, I went with Kristie and we had a great experience.  This is not a show, this is real village life.

We walked several miles through the village through banana and coffee plantations. These ladies walked uphill about 3 miles from the market with heavy loads on their heads.  And we were tired from carrying our camera bags?
© Diane Kelsay

© Diane Kelsay

We visited a traditional healer and she showed us her collection of medicinal plants. It was very dark, only an open door. I asked her to hold up the pretty plant into the light and caught some light on her face too.

© Diane Kelsay

The healer’s house with a pile of cornhusks.
© Diane Kelsay

 

Drying the corn.
© Diane Kelsay

 

© Diane Kelsay

© Diane Kelsay

© Diane Kelsay

Lunchtime for the goats.
© Diane Kelsay

We asked for a demonstration of how to process the coffee beans (the coffee they served us was amazing)

Shelling coffee beans.
© Diane Kelsay

Tossing the beans into the air for the shells to fly off. The shells are light skins and she assists by blowing them as she tosses.
© Diane Kelsay

Then they are dropped into the roaster. She stirred them over the fire until roasted just perfectly. We could see why this coffee was so great. Everything is done on the farm.
© Diane Kelsay

Many people like to search for the chameleon while walking down this road. 
© Diane Kelsay

It was Saturday but some of the village children were in school.  Others were not. I’m not sure how the system works.  When we approached the doorway, the noisy kids milling about all went to their seats and looked like model students.

Listening intently to the teacher. Then they sang us a song.
© Diane Kelsay

Kristie really loved the children. See her quote below.
© Diane Kelsay

“These kiddos stole my heart from the very first.  How I wish I could be in Tanzania today.  Something in my soul is telling me to get back there as quickly as I can. I miss the people, the animals, the landscapes and the rhythm of life”. She posted this on facebook and I asked permission to copy it here.  Kristie is right on with everything she said.  We have many friends in Tanzania and look forward to every visit. When I go back to this village, I will bring a print for the healer.  She was amazed to see her photo on the back of the camera.  I’ve emailed the guide so he can show her but they love getting prints. Everyone appreciates our visits and the few dollars we bring to the community.

Consider joining us on a Tanzania adventure in the future and we will introduce you to the people, the animals, the landscape.

Link to our calendar

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It’s Spring – A Challenge

Tired of being inside?  It’s spring outside! We are usually gone during spring, so we are making the most of our lockdown with daily walks and finding lots of new life to photograph around our place.

View from the deck. I took my time moving around and arranging the greens and lavender.  In the past I’ve been in a hurry and just took documentary shots.
© 2020 Diane Kelsay

Same tree, cardinals frequent.  NOT an easy shot.  I had to open the door to the deck and hide inside.  There were many misses – out of focus, branch in front of his face, oops he flew away (they are fast).

Cardinal in the redbud tree.
© 2020 Diane Kelsay

Flight abstract. Things you can make with “misses”
© 2020 Diane Kelsay

The bees are working hard! Yay, honey!
© 2020 Diane Kelsay

I enjoyed sitting by the stream, lush green mosses everywhere.
© 2020 Diane Kelsay

Daffodils are up.
© 2020 Diane Kelsay

More abstract opportunities.
© 2020 Diane Kelsay

New growth poking through last year’s dead stuff. 
© 2020 Diane Kelsay

I hope you will go outside and find things.  Even if you have a small yard or apartment common space, there are insects, new growth, blossoms, birds, even reflections in rain puddles and drops on leaves.  Have fun creating and take good care of yourself.  Post your photos on facebook, send them to me at diane@naturephotographyadventures.com.

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Textures All Around Us

Textures

© Diane Kelsay

It’s always easy to spot beautiful textures when we travel.

© Diane Kelsay

Why? Because we are looking!

© Bob Harvey

© Diane Kelsay

© Bob Harvey

© Diane Kelsay

© Bob Harvey

© Diane Kelsay

© Bob Harvey

© Bob Harvey

© Diane Kelsay

© Diane Kelsay

© Diane Kelsay

At this time of hanging around our houses, we challenge you to go find some interesting textures.  They are everywhere and art can be created.  To stay healthy, we all know the rules now, but exercising the mind and body is an important part of staying healthy.  We will spend the next week finding some things to photograph around the house, our gardens and woods, and even some of the things we have brought home from far away places.  Watch for the next post to see the results.

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Feathers

Some of my favorite moments in processing bird photos are when I zoom to 100% to check details.  Birds are beautiful, yes.  But when you look at the endless designs, colors and details of the feather patterns, gorgeous abstracts appear.

© 2019 Diane Kelsay

© 2019 Diane Kelsay

© 2019 Diane Kelsay

© 2019 Diane Kelsay

© 2019 Diane Kelsay

© 2019 Diane Kelsay

© 2019 Diane Kelsay

© 2019 Diane Kelsay

© 2019 Diane Kelsay

Look for the opportunities to create art from nature. Grab your camera, let’s go!

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Chimps and Rhinos

Chimpanzees How to photograph an animal with so much personality. Study them closely as you photograph, they have human like expressions – you want to caption each one with what you think they are thinking.  Easy because we share so much DNA. Use your non-verbal interaction skills to develop a relationship, then capture the moment.

© 2019 Bob Harvey

Just thinking?

© 2019 Diane Kelsay

Hmmm, do we need a pedicure?
© 2019 Diane Kelsay

Being able to nap in a sanctuary – thanks to Jane Goodall.
© 2019 Diane Kelsay

© 2019 Diane Kelsay

© 2019 Diane Kelsay

© 2019 Bob Harvey

This one looks like he heard a “Bob joke” and is trying to give a polite laugh.

Rhinos – a different story.  They wander about pretty expressionless.  The photographic challenge is to capture the setting and use the light, perhaps the mood if it’s charging toward you.  Or the adult/young interaction.

© 2019 Diane Kelsay

© 2019 Bob Harvey

© 2019 Diane Kelsay

© 2019 Diane Kelsay

Close views show interesting textures and features of this odd looking creature.  Can you tell the difference between a black rhino and a white rhino?  It’s not about the color.

© 2019 Bob Harvey

© 2019 Bob Harvey

© 2019 Diane Kelsay

Black rhinos have a pointed lip suitable for grabbing fruit and leaves off trees and shrubs. White rhinos have a flat, wide lip for grazing on grasses. The white rhino is larger.  Learn more about rhinos on our Kenya Photography Safari.

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The Pantanal – Jabiru Storks

First light on the Jabiru Stork nest.  Three young ones watching the adult fly about.

First Light on the Jabiru nest
© 2019 Bob Harvey

© 2019 Diane Kelsay

© 2019 Diane Kelsay

© 2019 Diane Kelsay

© 2019 Diane Kelsay

 

This young one thinks flying looks like fun, getting restless.
© 2019 Diane Kelsay

WooHoo, flying!
© 2019 Diane Kelsay

Coming in for a landing.
© 2019 Diane Kelsay

The adult takes off again to find some goodies to bring back.

Adult heading to the marshy area.
© 2019 Diane Kelsay

Returning with goodies from the marsh.
© 2019 Bob Harvey

Our guide tells us they bring back wet vegetation, adding it to the nest to cool it down.  It also has some good stuff to eat like fish and snails.

© 2019 Diane Kelsay

Enjoying a fish for breakfast.
© 2019 Bob Harvey

© 2019 Diane Kelsay

© 2019 Diane Kelsay

© 2019 Diane Kelsay

The Jabiru is the tallest flying bird in South and Central America. Come join us in 2021 to photograph this nest and other Jabiru sightings in the Pantanal of Brazil.

Link to our Pantanal Wild Photography Adventure

 

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Birds!

Colors! Textures! Shapes!  Serious birders, don’t leave.  There is more to photographing birds than grabbing a shot and checking a list.

Feathers of a Shining Sunbeam. You only get a glimpse most of the time. It takes patience to see all the colors.
© 2019 Diane Kelsay

It’s been a month since my last post – I have been in Ecuador’s Chocó Cloud Forest and then on to the Pantanal in Brazil.  I’m sharing some of my thoughts and photos from Ecuador in this post.

Racket-tailed Puffleg
© 2019 Diane Kelsay

This was my 4th time in the last 16 months in this region and I was determined to improve my skills for hummingbird photography.  It’s a challenge! They move fast. For the above image, I concentrated on the background I chose and with the depth of field I wanted.  I had my exposure right where I wanted it and then just waited for a bird to fly into my “zone” for focus (that would be the place it would hover and wait for its turn at the feeder).  I was lucky enough to capture several birds.  (I also got a few out of focus or parts of birds – ok, more than a few).

Andean Emerald
© 2019 Diane Kelsay

With this cutie, I captured it with a dark background (forest in shadows) and used the bounce-light from a wall behind the feeder to add the necessary fill light for an otherwise backlit bird (sun was to the right).

Violet-tailed Sylph
© 2019 Diane Kelsay

Violet-tailed Sylph
© 2019 Diane Kelsay

Using multiple flash certainly brings out the colors.  This is my favorite hummingbird.

Crimson-rumped Toucanet
© 2019 Diane Kelsay

Crimson-rumped Toucanet
© 2019 Diane Kelsay

While the bird is clearly named for its backside, which is quite beautiful, I just love the way the turquoise feathers play over the lime green in a graceful curl.

Toucan Barbet
© 2019 Diane Kelsay

This Barbet was dancing all over the place trying to get attention. It was a workout to get a position to show all the colors.  Gorgeous bird.

Blue-winged Mountain Tanager
© 2019 Diane Kelsay

Flame-faced Tanagers
© 2019 Diane Kelsay

Black-capped Tanager © 2019 Diane Kelsay

Masked Flowerpiercer
© 2019 Diane Kelsay

My favorite time was sitting at the reflection pool, watching birds come and go.  Every so often one lined up “just so”.  And oh yeah, I broke that famous rule about horizon lines going through the middle.  When I did, it was the most exciting composition for that scene.  And yes, I managed to ID the birds in this blog (newbie birder), but I’m still a “break the rules” artist first.  You can join us in Ecuador to improve your bird photography skills and bring home lots of exciting images (you might even learn a few names).  Our groups are small and our Ecuador guide is an expert birder.

Link to our Ecuador Birds Photography Adventure

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Elephants!

Mt. Kilimanjaro emerges from the clouds,  just as this mom and baby step into the scene.
© 2019 Diane Kelsay

It’s always nice when such a majestic animal arrives in great light to complete your landscape composition. OK, I had the driver/guide move forward, then back, then a little forward… Depth of field and lining things up “just so” was important.

Amboseli National Park, Kenya
© 2019 Diane Kelsay

It’s fun to catch elephants at the waterhole. Fast shutter speeds captured the drops and splashes of water.

Baby elephant
©Bob Harvey

© 2018 Diane Kelsay

© 2018 Diane Kelsay

And they do love water.  They also like to add dust and/or mud after cleaning up in the water. That helps control the insects.

© Diane Kelsay

© Diane Kelsay

© 2019 Diane Kelsay

Rubbing up against a muddy wall – a mud massage.
© 2019 Diane Kelsay

How great they look after their mud bath.  And not so much appeal to insects.
© 2018 Diane Kelsay

It’s nice to combine all sizes, showing various stages of maturity. A panorama crop omits the boring parts of the scene and brings to attention the parade of different sizes.

Elephants crossing the dry lakebed, Amboseli National Park, Kenya. The water behind them is a mirage.
© 2019 Diane Kelsay

But what can be cuter than a tiny baby dwarfed by the size of adults next to the baby.  This strategy of enclosing the baby is done to protect them, but it gives a chance to create unusual and artistic photos. You don’t have to always show the whole animal, try some tight crops.  In these photos, the tight crops emphasize the size of the adult legs and the smallness of the babies while making creative compositions.

© 2019 Diane Kelsay

© Bob Harvey

Elephants along the banks of the Chobe River.
© 2018 Bob Harvey

An early morning stroll. They look very content.

© 2019 Diane Kelsay

Taking the time to learn about the animals, as well as watching their behavior, will help capture interesting images.  Join us on one of our Africa trips and we will spend time helping you choose the right settings and suggest compositions.

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