DIANA'S BLOG




A Month in Africa

I just returned from a month in East Africa. I spent time in Kenya and Tanzania with photographers Tom Mangelsen, Sue Cedarholm, Howard Arndt and Andy Wolcott. I will be posting photographs as I get them edited. We shot several hundred thousand photographs in the Serengeti, Ndutu, Ngorongoro Crater, Amboseli and Masai Mara. It was my third time in Kenya and Tanzania and it was by far the best trip ever. Thanks for supporting my work and travels.


Elephants in a line, Amboseli National Park, Kenya, East Africa

Leave a comment

Masai Mara, Kenya, East Africa

We drove from the Serengeti in Tanzania to Masai Mara in Kenya crossing the border at Isebania. Our Kenyan drivers met us there and we said a reluctant goodbye to our Tanzanian drivers. After a simple visa check and pass-through at border control we transferred all our gear to our Kenyan Land Cruisers and headed to Masai Mara. It was a beautiful drive and we were glad we hadn’t flown. The countryside was lovely.

We stayed at the Kichwa Tembo Tented Camps (http://www.andbeyond.com/kichwa-tembo-tented-camp) at Masai Mara so we were able to drive into the reserve before sunrise. As a result we were able to get some spectacular shots of the sun rising over the Masai Mara.

Thanks for following my blog and for supporting my photography! You can buy any of these photographs as prints on my website Buymyphotographs.com/.


Sunrise in Masai Mara, Kenya, East Africa

Right after sunrise when the light was truly exquisite we continued our game drive and stopped at some incredible sights. We were lucky to encounter this mother and baby elephant right after sunrise near the entrance to the reserve. Watching the baby with its mother and listening to the sounds they made was a real treat.


Mother and baby elephant, Masai Mara, Kenya, East Africa. These incredibly beautiful animals are threatened by habitat loss and ivory poaching.


Baby elephant leaning up against its mother, Masai Mara, Kenya, East Africa

Our guide spotted this White-browed coucal so I was able to photograph it spreading its wings in the great morning light.


White-browed coucal (Centropus superciliosus) in Masai Mara, Kenya, East Africa

In my two previous trips to Kenya I had been lucky enough to see many Lilac-breasted rollers. They are such beautiful birds that it’s hard to pass one by. So while others in my Land Cruiser were focused on seeing leopards and cheetahs I was known as the one who couldn’t pass a bird by! It’s true. I’m really glad we stopped for the birds, too!


Lilac-breasted roller (Coracias caudatus) on acacia tree branch in Masai Mara, Kenya, East Africa


Pied kingfisher (Ceryle rudis) along the Mara River, Masai Mara, Kenya, East Africa


Brown snake eagle (Circaetus cinereus) at Masai Mara, Kenya, East Africa


Grey kestrel (Falco ardosiaceus) with butterflies at Masai Mara, Kenya, East Africa


Tawny eagle (Aquila rapax) in acacia tree, Masai Mara, Kenya, East Africa


Tawny eagle (Aquila rapax) in flight, Masai Mara, Kenya, East Africa

After stopping to photograph birds we did, of course, come upon a leopard and her cub in a tree. We waited and watched the pair a long time. It was well worth the wait as they interacted and changed positions in the tree branches several times. Leopards stay in the trees during the hot hours of the day and hunt at night when it’s much cooler. I have not seen many leopard cubs so this was a great find.


Leopard and cub spending the hot afternoon in the shade in a tree, Masai Mara, Kenya, East Africa


Leopard cub and mother in a tree, Masai Mara, Kenya, East Africa


Leopard cub climbing a tree, Masai Mara, Kenya, East Africa

I always like sitting by the watering holes in Africa to see what happens. Waves and waves of animals coming in to drink in the mid morning can be so interesting to photograph. The zebras were usually skittish and would dash out of the water fearing a crocodile or lion was nearby. I took many slow shutter speed exposures to blur the motion as they took off. I set my shutter speed to 1/50s or 1/60s at f/22. The results can be very interesting.


Zebras dashing out of the watering hole, Masai Mara, Kenya, East Africa


Zebra running, Masai Mara, Kenya, East Africa


Zebra dashing out of the water hole, Masai Mara, Kenya, East Africa

A few years ago while we were in Samburu National Reserve, Kenya, I was lucky enough to witness a male bee-eater displaying for two females. I got the photo and it is one of my best bee-eater shots. You can see it here. On this trip I saw this bee-eater in Masai Mara and photographed him while he flexed his wing. It was a beautiful sight.


White-throated bee-eater (Merops albicollis) flexing a wing, Masai Mara, Kenya, East Africa

In Africa, the “Big Five” game animals are the African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard, and rhinoceros. The term “Big Five” came from big game hunters and refers to the five most difficult animals in Africa to hunt on foot. Luckily, we were only hunting them with our cameras. Here is one of the Big Five, the regal Cape Buffalo. I was lucky to see this one with her very young calf. Our guide thought the calf was just a day or two old.


Cape Buffalo and days-old calf, Masai Mara, Kenya, East Africa

We got to see many baby elephants and it was encouraging to see such strong populations of elephants in Masai Mara. This baby pretended to be eating grass like its mother but then would occasionally go over to mama and get some milk.


Baby elephant nursing, Masai Mara, Kenya, East Africa


Elephant in Masai Mara, Kenya, East Africa


A baby elephant bluff charging our Land Cruiser in Masai Mara, Kenya, East Africa

We got caught in a rain storm one afternoon and got to photograph these elephants in the rain.


Elephants in the rain, Masai Mara, Kenya, East Africa


Baby elephant and mother in the rain, Masai Mara, Kenya, East Africa


Mother and baby elephant in Masai Mara as a rain storm approaches, Kenya, East Africa

It’s always fun watching the zebra roll around in the dirt. The official name is “dust bathing” which according to Wikipedia is “an animal behavior characterized by the act of grooming while rolling or moving around in dust, with the purpose of cleaning fur, feathers or skin, and removing parasites.” The zebras seemed to enjoy it a lot.


Zebra rolling around in the dirt, Masai Mara, Kenya, East Africa

We saw lots of antelopes and other animals in Masai Mara. Here are a few.


Waterbucks (Kobus ellipsiprymnus), Masai Mara, Kenya, East Africa


Topi (Damaliscus korrigum) antelope standing on a mound in Masai Mara, Kenya, East Africa

One morning we were watching wildebeests and zebra cross the Mara River just like they do at migration in the spring and we spotted a leopard on the opposite side of the river. We were amazed to watch as he jumped over rocks in the Mara River and crossed to our side. It was an astonishing sight to see. I call this one “Leaping Leopard.”


Male leopard jumping over rocks in the Mara River, Masai Mara, Kenya, East Africa


Leopard jumping over rocks in the Mara River, Masai Mara, Kenya, East Africa


Wildebeests and zebras on their way to the Mara River, Masai Mara, Kenya, East Africa


Zebra calling to other zebras crossing the Mara River, Masai Mara, Kenya, East Africa


Zebra colt playing ‘King of the hill’ in Masai Mara, Kenya, East Africa


An endangered Black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) in Masai Mara, Kenya, East Africa


Female lion on a hillside in Masai Mara, Kenya, East Africa


Lion cubs in the grass, Masai Mara, Kenya, East Africa

Another beautiful Masai Mara sunrise.


Sunrise in Masai Mara, Kenya, East Africa

More photos coming…

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , · Leave a comment

Ndutu Conservation Area, Tanzania, East Africa


Two cheetah cubs in the early morning light, Ndutu, Tanzania, East Africa


Cheetah in the rain with baby Thomson’s gazelle, Ndutu, Tanzania


Cheetah pokes her head up out of the marsh to investigate two male lions sleeping at the marsh’s edge, Ndutu, Tanzania, East Africa


Two male lions walking to the watering hole just after sunrise, Ndutu, Tanzania, East Africa


Two Masai warriors guarding my tent at night at Ndutu Wilderness Camp, Tanzania, East Africa


Long-crested eagle (Lophaetus occipitalis) in flight at Ndutu, Tanzania, East Africa


African sunrise, Ndutu, Tanzania, East Africa


Male lion drinking at the watering hole, Ndutu, Tanzania, East Africa


A flock of African pygmy falcons (Polihierax semitorquatus), Ndutu Conservation Area, Tanzania, East Africa


A flock of African pygmy falcons (Polihierax semitorquatus) taking flight, Ndutu Conservation Area, Tanzania, East Africa


Female lion hiding behind a tree just before hunting wildebeests, Ndutu, Tanzania, East Africa


Two female lions sizing up their prey, Ndutu, Tanzania, East Africa


Wildebeest spots the lions behind the acacia trees just before the attack, Ndutu, Tanzania, East Africa


Female lion creates chaos at the watering hole as the hunt begins, Ndutu, Tanzania, East Africa


Female lion goes after wildebeest at the watering hole, Ndutu, Tanzania, East Africa


Female lion confronts a wildebeest, Ndutu, Tanzania, East Africa


Female lion attacks a wildebeest, Ndutu, Tanzania, East Africa


Male lion, Ndutu, Tanzania, East Africa

Tagged , , , , , · Leave a comment