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Archive for the Travel Category
I’ve teamed up with friends at ODPSafaris and Pangolin Photo Safaris to offer two exciting photo safaris to Botswana in June 2015. Both tours will give you the chance to join me in the famous Okavango Delta and vast Chobe National Park as we go in search for elephants, fish eagles and my own favourite species, the African wild dog, amongst others.
Combining these two exceptionally diverse destinations in one tour puts this safari head and shoulders above others. Both the Okavango and Chobe offer unequaled opportunities to experience and photograph Botswana’s incredible wildlife. While staying in Chobe we will make the most of both land and water based activities. This includes shooting elephants and other visitors to a waterhole from a bunker hide and utilising the famous Pangolin photography boat, which is equipped with swivel chairs and gimbal heads built into a sturdy photographic setup that will offer the best possible solution for your needs.
The area of the Okavango Delta that we will be visiting – the game rich floodplains of the Khwai river – is well known for its unrivaled African wild dog sightings with up to three packs of this endangered carnivore denning and roaming within close proximity of the camp. We will be timing our visit with when the packs usually den so our chances of encountering this endangered carnivore are good. The Khwai river also offers some of the finest birding with the area boasting a count of more than 420 bird species. Chobe’s famously high population of elephant provides unforgettable photo opportunities but we will also use boats to help you get close to kingfishers, hippos, fish eagles, buffalo and crocodiles.
Each tour lasts eight nights – with four nights spent at each destination – and there are eight places available on each. The first tour runs from the 7th to the 15th of June while the second runs from the 15th to the 23rd. Further information, tour itineraries, costs and links to how you can secure your booking can be found on my website at conservationphotojournalism.com/tours. I hope you will join us…
I’m proud to say that BBC Wildlife Magazine has chosen to feature a selection of photographs taken by myself and Remo Savisaar during the trip that we co-led for Estonian Nature Tours in 2013. You can enjoy the gallery online at their website discoverwildlife.com
If this taster of what Estonia has to offer excites you, Remo and I will be introducing guests to Estonia’s fantastic wildlife again in 2014. During this nine-day tour you will have the chance to photograph from hides, boats, vehicles, viewing towers and on foot as we seek out bears, beavers, birds and other animals in Estonia’s vast forests, bogs and wetlands. You can see the full itinerary and tour details on my website conservationphotojournalism.com
From the Rohantime site…
The huge bear lifted his head in my direction. He knew I was there but he couldn’t see anything thanks to my camouflage. As much as I wanted to sit and watch him feed, I couldn’t stay motionless for long. The mosquitoes were relentless and biting me through my clothing – from my face to my fingertips. I also had cameras and provisions on my back for the night ahead and in 30-degree heat, I was struggling to see for the mix of sweat and Deet running into my eyes. I made the decision to push on and seek refuge in my hide away from the insects and sun, hoping the bear would return to the clearing later and give me a chance to photograph him.
That encounter with a brown bear deep in Estonia’s Western Taiga forest helped me prepare for my upcoming African expedition. As a wildlife photographer I need clothing that will protect me against biting insects and help me cope with intense heat. That’s why I choose Rohan’s Overland shirts. I started wearing the short-sleeve versions while photographing African wild dogs in South Africa a couple of years ago in confidence that the UV-resistant technology would protect me during long days in the harsh African sun (having had a biopsy a few years ago, this technology is important to me).
This time around, not only will I be taking the Ultra Silver t-shirt to provide that extra layer of UV protection but I’m consciously adding the long-sleeve Overland shirt to my list of essential gear too. Over the next two months I will be dodging hippos while canoeing Botswana’s Selinda Spillway, photographing bird life and unparalleled elephant congregations on the Chobe River and tracking predators in Zambia’s Busanga swamps. With malaria a very real risk in these watery wildernesses, I’m going to need the Biteguard™ anti-insect technology of the Overland range as much as its UV protection. The neutral colour palette of the range is also an essential consideration for me when tracking dangerous game.
Because a large number of mosquito bites happen close to the ground, I need to be sure my legs are equally well protected. I count on Rohan’s Trailblazers trousers to deliver this through their Biteguard™ protection. These are without doubt the most comfortable trousers I’ve ever worn and the high degree of stretch in the fabric makes these the perfect trousers for any photographer who – like me – throws himself around a lot to find the best angle on a subject. The convertible option will also allow me to turn those trousers quickly into shorts – perfect for the African winter where cool, crisp mornings quickly give way to hot days.
The heat was also the defining factor when deciding to travel with Rohan’s Freight Vest. I’ll be honest, I used a similar vest made by another manufacturer for years but found it stifling and heavy both on location and while travelling through airports. While I’m walking in the Kalahari Desert in a few weeks time I’ll be grateful for the Freight Vest’s breathability, as well as the conveniently sited pockets large enough to carry my spare DSLR cameras, lenses and batteries.
Having this vest with me will mean I will have the flexibility to leave my camera bag behind if I want to and shoot with more freedom, spontaneity and creativity. I guess those three words sum up how many of us like to travel these days too. Thanks to Rohan, I now can…because I just can’t afford to stop and worry if my gear is going to stand up to the challenges I set it.
A choice selection of photographs from my Botswana travel portfolio published in the March 2013 issue of BBC Wildlife magazine is now online at discoverwildlife.com – the website of BBC Wildlife. This portfolio compliments the insightful piece by editor Sophie Stafford that uncovers the intricate relationship between the wildlife of northern Botswana and the water that feeds this parched land.
The story tells how recent research has mapped the movement of animals in relation to the flood cycles of the Okavango Delta and how the dynamics of the Selinda region to the east of the delta has changed now that the Selinda Spillway is flowing again for the first time in 30 years. The story’s sub-plots include how one of the Okavango’s smallest inhabitants – the termite – influences the lay of the land, creating islands that are used by birds, colonised by plants and fought over by leopards as prime hunting territory.
This is the latest selection of my work to feature on the BBC Wildlife magazine website and follows 2012’s British Columbia portfolio, a badger vaccination portfolio, which accompanied my Autumn 2011 feature in the magazine, and a selection of African wild dog images from my book Underdogs. A second gallery featuring the Bushmen of the Kalahari will be online shortly, so be sure to keep an eye on discoverwildlife.com
In April 2012 I travelled to northern Botswana for BBC Wildlife magazine to photograph the intricate relationship between wildlife and water and see how the annual flooding of the Okavango Delta dictates animal movements and behaviour. I’m pleased to say that this portfolio features in the March 2013 issue of BBC Wildlife.
The photographs illustrate editor Sophie Stafford’s insightful travel feature, which covers research surveying how wildlife populations have changed and moved with recent flood patterns. You can see a selection of photographs from this story in a new gallery on my website. In this gallery, I show how Selinda lions spend their free time, how the yawn of a hippo can make you think twice about getting closer and how one of the Okavango Delta’s smallest inhabitants influences the fortunes of the region’s wildlife.
Botswana is an incredible country and remains my favourite location for photography and wildlife watching. If you’re thinking about going, be sure to pick up a copy of the March issue of the magazine and give Sophie’s article a read. Also, keep an eye on my website for upcoming photography tours to Botswana.
A quick glance around you in the run up to new year’s eve is likely to reveal newspapers each featuring special ‘2012 in review’ supplements, a television set showing one panel show’s ‘special Christmas edition’ after another (probably all filmed sometime in August), websites showcasing their ‘pictures of the year’ and a host of blogs by photographers reviewing their achievements in the year gone by. I was tempted to wade in and join the nostalgic party but if I – someone who neither owns a television nor buys newspapers – feel somewhat overwhelmed then I’m guessing you could do without one more person jumping up and down shouting “look what I did, look what I did”, right?
I also figured that if you did come to this blog expecting a what-was-what in the world of Conservation Photojournalism in 2012, it would be a lot simpler for you to use one finger to just scroll your mouse down the page and pick out the highlights that I bothered to write at the time, thereby saving ten of my fingers the effort of revisiting old news.
In the midst of all this nostalgia, I’m really looking forward to 2013. The first few weeks of the year will be taken up with a plethora of competition submissions of various sizes and guises, the completion of my first ebook and the launch of a range of high quality photographic prints for sale via my website. In terms of destinations, I will be exploring new locations like the Galapagos Islands and returning to old favourites like the Highlands of Scotland. I also have the first of my new photo tours to Estonia in partnership with Remo Savisaar running in May. Finally, with my African wild dog book Underdogs now firmly on the shelves of shops or (hopefully) living rooms, I will be putting the finishing touches to the proposal for my new, dream project and hopefully doing the first recce trip later in the year. Stay tuned…2013 is going to be a great year!