Monday, May 7, 2012

C4 Images and Mashatu deliver on a grand scale. - Dave Barnes

How do I start to explain the photographic experience that I had with C4 Images at Mashatu over the last few days. Driving back to Pretoria my mind is filled with the many adrenaline packed moments my wife and I experienced during an action packed 5 days.
Our first evening drive commenced with a sighting of 2 very young lion cubs with their eyes just starting to open being brought out of cover by a very inexperienced mother. This was followed by a sighting of 2 young leopards on a kill.
On our first morning outing as we were heading for the underground hide our short journey was interrupted by wild dog spoor. Following the tracks as well as the clues of a male Kudu’s sideways glace and fast retreat soon led us to the pack. We followed them on the move and shared some quality time with them frolicking around a water hole in the river bed.
Well we finally made it to the underground hide a bit later than expected but nobody was complaining. At around 09h00 followed what can only be described as an experience of a life time. Without any warning the water hole was surrounded by a herd of elephants around 60 strong some close enough to touch. Looking up at these gentle giants from ground level is a photographer’s dream come true. But with all the action and opportunities it is easy to fall into the trap of shooting away and forgetting to consider how to capture the essence of what is happening in front of one.
Our afternoon destination was the Bee-eater hide but we were again diverted this time by a sighting of hyenas surrounding a kudu carcass. Although in a shady river valley the activity and interaction between the clan members as well as the appearance of a jackal made for interesting photographic opportunities. Leaving the hyenas to do their thing we passed a leopard sleeping in the thickets but decided to pass by and head for our destination. Well all this activity led to us arriving at the bird hide just as the light was fading. A good time to get a few portraits images of the bee-eaters, but a bit late to capture them in flight.
After sundowners we decided to return to the leopard to see if he had awoken from his snooze. Well our timing could not have been better as he headed off to the waterhole to quench his thirst prior to setting off for the evening hunting session. Well it was not only the leopard that required to wet his throat the hyenas also felt it necessary to do so. We soon learnt that a single hyena is no match and does not scare a leopard but as soon as he retreated and brought along a friend it was time for the leopard to make a hasty retreat up the nearest tree.
Over the next few days the action did not stop and we had great sightings and encounters at the waterhole and on game drives. For those of you that have considered this photo hides workshop book now I am sure that as the word gets around it will be difficult to find a spot available.
Join C4 on our next Photo Workshop at Mashatu:
13-17 July 2012
3-7 August 2012

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