Tuesday 30 June 2015

Photo Tips: Wildlife Photography

I'm not an expert photographer but I've had a bit of experience with wildlife photography in Australia, North America, Southern Africa and Europe now so I thought I'd go through my equipment for this trip, how I shoot & process and add as many tips along the way as I can.  While I'll try and keep it fairly general I'll probably be focusing on our African Safaris.

Freiburg and Triberg

The view from our accommodation...

If there’s one thing I love about the Germans (and to be honest, there are lots of things I love about the Germans), it’s the way they utterly embrace and celebrate whatever season they find themselves in. I think it comes from living in a country where the seasons announce themselves to much more definitely than Australia. When I’ve been there at Christmas time in the past, every house is adorned with traditional Christmas decorations – not the neon-lights-you-can-see-from-space kind (though those can be fun too) but carved wooden candle-holders in the windows and evergreen wreathes and beautiful old nativity scenes and gluhwein drunk in the snow at little stalls at the Christmas markets. This time we were there for spring, and Freiburg was going to be ready! Every window was decorated with traditional wooden eggs with delicate painted designs and spring flowers were growing in profusion in every garden. My prevailing memory of our visit to Freiburg, a university town in the Black Forest, was the market that was on around the church at the centre of town, where the locals (and tourists) had gathered to buy fresh, seasonal fruit and vegetables, local meat, wooden toys and flowers – lots and lots of flowers. We wandered there quite happily for quite some time, also popping into the church, which had some pretty stunning wood carvings to see.

Friday 26 June 2015

On to Europe we go - Munich and Neuschwanstein

Two continents down, one to go! We sadly bid farewell to Africa after some R&R in Johannesburg (seriously, we didn't do one touristy thing. We hung out with a friend, did some shopping and went for coffee). We were also meeting Will's sister Fi in Munich so, as I said to my friend Tara at the time, finally I had someone to tell my travel stories to without them saying, "Yes, I know, I was there. And you made that last part up." Hooray!

Saturday 13 June 2015

Okavango Delta and Morami, Botswana

The Okavango Delta is somewhere Jackie and I had been looking forward to for a long time and was actually the primary goal of time in Africa. However things didn't quite turn out the way we had planned...

Our African safaris were one of the first parts of this trip that we found and booked in so that we could time our flights properly, which was great, till our Botswana safari fell through.  This resulting in much scrambling and searching while we were away in North America till we found another group safari on dates that fitted with our flights and was within our budget (which was, admittedly, not very high).  As it turned out, we were the only ones on the trip which was a little weird but also had some perks.

Sunday 7 June 2015

Chobe National Park, Botswana

Chobe is a national park in North East Botswana (and the name of a river on its border) that is world famous for amazing wildlife.  We stayed a couple of nights in Kasane and were lucky enough to have three trips into Chobe, two as game drives and one as a boat trip.  We saw heaps of amazing wildlife but here are a few highlights.

Saturday 6 June 2015

Victoria Falls the Second

Important things first. This is where I was finally reunited with my bag 10 days after arriving in Africa. There was a hairy moment when the place I was picking my bag up from said 'Bags, no, we haven't received any bags...' but it turned out that bags always get sent to their other office in town (they couldn't have said that first???) Ah, that sweet reunion! Imagine me spreading all of my belongings out on the bed and wallowing in the glorious variety of it all. I didn't actually do that, but you can imagine it if you want.

So our amazing time in the national parks of Zimbabwe was at an end and we were back where we started, Victoria Falls, albeit on the Zimbabwean side now. We went back to the falls to see them from this side and I personally think the view from Zimbabwe is better than the view from Zambia. Feel free to contradict me - you'll have to travel to Zambia and Zimbabwe to be able to so I reckon that would be worth it. And while we had other close encounters with baboons, these ones at least kept their hands to themselves. Also, we didn't get quite so wet. That's not because we actually stayed dry, just because it would be scientifically impossible to be any wetter than we were on the Zambian side.