Safari Diary, MASHATU – 2015/07/16


Photo Workshop, Mashatu Game Reserve in Botswana

16 July 2015

It’s become a familiar feeling with the sun peeping over the horizon while driving on the N1 North towards Mashatu for the start of a new Photo Workshop. Five days at the closest wilderness to Johannesburg with some of my favourite people can only mean lots of fun to look forward to. After transporting a record amount of luggage and camera gear to Mashatu Tent Camp we got our workshop off to a good start with an afternoon game drive. To warm up the shutter fingers we decided to spend some time at an hyena den, photographing in golden light, before sundowner drinks concluded a great first day in the bush!

20150716_2723 | ,  in 1-800 sec at f - 4,5, ISO 640   |   Canon EOS-1D Mark IV + EF600mm f-4L IS USM   |   Shutter priority, -2-3 EV


17 July 2015

An early morning game drive meant that we were in the bush photographing in the best light. We photographed general game and elephants before stopping for coffee. More elephant photography concluded our morning drive. At camp we had some relaxation time after brunch. Then an informal photography lecture and photo reviews were followed by high tea and our evening game drive. Here we photographed backlit baboons before two young male lions in low light and then in the spotlight kept us from having sunset drinks. We did not mind though!

20150717_9118 | ,  in 1-500 sec at f - 5,6, ISO 160   |   Canon EOS-1D X + EF100-400mm f-4.5-5.6L IS II USM   |   Aperture priority, 0 EV


18 July 2015

Our plan for the morning was to send the two groups of photographers, each to a different underground hide. With stunning bird photography from early in the morning it then got a bit quiet. I was ready to boil more water for coffee when the elephants arrived just after 9am. For one hour we experienced the most elephants I’ve ever seen at the hide as herd after herd turned up. This was an amazing morning!! During the afternoon drive we photographed some general game, elephants and then three male cheetahs in the last rays of light. After sundowner drinks we made our way back to camp but not before spotting a leopard in a Mashatu tree to cap off a very exciting day in the bush!

20150718_1376 | ,  in 1-640 sec at f - 5,6, ISO 1000   |   Canon EOS-1D X + EF100-400mm f-4.5-5.6L IS II USM   |   Aperture priority, -1-3 EV


19 July 2015

While the other group went to the Matabole hide we opted for a game drive. We decided to try and find a leopard they saw the day before. She was apparently skittish, so we were holding thumbs. But luck was on our side and we saw her early in the morning and then photographed her as she jump into the shepherd’s tree where she stashed her meal. Beautiful golden light illuminated her otherwise shaded body in a play of light that I’ve never seen before. It was fantastic! We also saw the two lions before returning to camp for brunch. The afternoon drive was action packed with a sighting of the three male cheetahs attempting several hunts. Then, we stopped at the hyena den and at the same leopard from the morning again before meeting at Mashatu’s favourite Baobab tree for drinks and starscape photography.

20150719_1863 | ,  in 1-640 sec at f - 8,0, ISO 1600   |   Canon EOS-1D X + EF600mm f-4L IS USM +1.4x III lens   |   Aperture priority, 0 EV


20 July 2015

We felt blessed with such amazing sightings and experiences during this photo workshop that we decided to have a slow last morning, breakfast at camp, then two hours in the hide, and from there we would leave to go home. As if to come and say goodbye we saw two stunning herds of elephants at the hide. The perfect way to conclude an wonderful photo workshop. Thanks to our guides, Justice and Dan, and the Mashatu Tent Camp staff!! We’ll be back.

20150720_3114 | ,  in 1-640 sec at f - 5,0, ISO 160   |   Canon EOS-1D X + EF100-400mm f-4.5-5.6L IS II USM   |   Aperture priority, 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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