Safari Diary, MASHATU – 2015/06/20


Photo Workshop, Mashatu Game Reserve in Botswana

20 June 2015

Today was the start of an exciting new “video” workshop to Mashatu by legendary cinematographer, Abraham Joffe. I went along to help out with still photography side of things. We arrived at Main Camp just after lunch and were quickly ready to go out on our afternoon drive. For most guests it was their first trip to Africa, so it was a great privilege for me to introduce them to our iconic animals while getting them up to speed with the photography. Our fist drive included elephants, elephants, elephants and cheetah in golden light. Sundowner drinks with a great sunset concluded a perfect start to the safari.

20150620_8400 | ,  in 1-400 sec at f - 5,6, ISO 200   |   NIKON D4 + 500.0 mm f-4.0   |   Manual, -1-3 EV


21 June 2015

Strange overcast weather had settled in for the day, but luckily that was perfect conditions for following the cheetah mother and her four cubs for the entire morning. Memory cards filled quickly as they walked, stalked, and played. After brunch and a video workshop session back at the camp we were out again and this time found two male lions sleeping in a riverbed and then baby hyenas at a den site.

20150621_9195 | ,  in 1-320 sec at f - 4,0, ISO 1600   |   NIKON D4 + 500.0 mm f-4.0   |   Manual, -2-3 EV


22 June 2015

One of the keen bird photographers on this trip joined me on my vehicle this morning. We hit the jackpot as we found a fishing party of birds in the Mojale river in the early morning light. Shutters were firing furiously as they got surprisingly close to us. After a good hour of photography we left the birds and found elephants, elephants and more elephants. Multiple breeding herds all congregated at a pool in the Mojale river and entertained us for hours. This was a major highlight on our trip so far. During the afternoon drive we were lucky to see a leopard and we finished the day with a sighting of the three cheetah brothers.

20150622_0024 | ,  in 1-3200 sec at f - 4,0, ISO 160   |   NIKON D4 + 500.0 mm f-4.0   |   Manual, -1 EV


23 June 2015

We started our morning drive by photographing the general game, followed by a breeding herd of elephants that walked up to and around our vehicle for a memorable elephant experience, and we finished the drive with a sighting of a hyena dragging an impala carcass. Our afternoon drive was just as exciting as we found the two big male lions, elephants backlit against the setting sun and finishing the day by doing starscape and startrail photography that everyone loved!

20150623_2673 | ,  in 1-15 sec at f - 29, ISO 100   |   NIKON D810 + 80.0-400.0 mm f-4.5-5.6   |   Shutter priority, -1-3 EV


24 June 2015

A morning at the Valley hide was very productive with birds, a herd of elephants in the first light, a warthog, wildebeest and some impala in the background. Our afternoon drive was dedicated to finding the cheetah mother and after a fruitless search we decided to spend the final minutes of good light of the day with baboons.

20150624_3753 | ,  in 1-400 sec at f - 6,3, ISO 560   |   NIKON D810 + 500.0 mm f-4.0   |   Manual, -2 1-3 EV


25 June 2015

This day was one of the most special days I’ve ever had at Mashatu. We selected to photograph at the Matabole hide for the morning activity and there I saw the most elephants I’ve ever seen at a hide before. They just kept coming and everyone was photographing at a rapid pace. As if that did not almost fill our cards, a troop of baboons showed up, impala and a family of mongooses to drink at the hide. This was a fantastic morning! Our afternoon drive was dedicated to the rocky outcrops where Rhodes’ Baobab is. This place was confirmed by all our guests as the best sundowner spot in Africa. But, apart from enjoying the spectacular landscape from the top of the koppie, it also allowed some landscape photography and, of course, photography of the elephant shrews.

20150625_1954 | ,  in 1-2000 sec at f - 5,0, ISO 400   |   NIKON D4 + 500.0 mm f-4.0   |   Manual, -1-3 EV


26 June 2015

Our last day at Mashatu on this workshop had arrived and again some strange overcast weather settled in. We managed to find giraffe, elephants and the cheetah mother and her cubs to photograph during the morning drive. This was a nice “good-bye” present. Our afternoon drive was a slow one with photography of the general game and great sundowner drinks where we toasted to an amazing week at Mashatu.

Tomorrow we’ll leave for Johannesburg early in the morning. We had a fantastic final dinner where we celebrated stunning sightings, an exceptional place and new friends made.

20150626_2737 | ,  in 1-2000 sec at f - 7,1, ISO 4000   |   NIKON D4 + 80.0-400.0 mm f-4.5-5.6 lens   |   Manual, 0 EV


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About the Author

Isak is a specialist wildlife photographic guide from South Africa. His discovery of nature's special moments at a young age shaped his aspirations of today: to showcase the beauty of his continent's natural wonders in a creative way.

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