July 29, 2010
Post contributed by Chris Gamel, professional photographer
Capturing a great wildlife photograph can be a challenge. Here are some simple tips that will improve your wildlife photography without costing you a cent.
Simplify – Avoid the tendency to include too much in your image. Thousands of wildebeest migrate across the Serengeti plains but capturing this grand spectacle with your lens is almost impossible. The solution is to simplify the image. Ask yourself what the subject of the image is and then eliminate everything else. Simplification will make the message of your image clearer.
Watch for behaviors – Zebras, and other animals on the plains, spend a lot of time eating, which is beautiful while you are there but doesn’t always make for the most compelling photo. Instead, take a few minutes to watch and wait for their behaviors like nuzzling their young, fighting, and running to get a more interesting and dynamic image. (hint: behaviors often repeat)
Wait for the peak moment – All movement involves a beginning, a peak, and an ending. The best photographs usually happen at the peak. When a lion yawns, the best image is going to be when the mouth is fully extended (look at those teeth!). By timing your shots to coincide with peak moments, you capture the drama of the action.
By applying these three tips, your images will start to reflect the vision of your mind’s eye.Photos by Chris Gamel
Click thumbnails for larger image
July 19, 2010
Thomson Safaris was honored to host American Ambassador to Tanzania, Alfonso Lenhardt, his wife Jackie Lenhardt and USAID Environmental Officer, Gilbert Kajuna last week.
During his visit, the Ambassador officially opened construction of teacher’s housing in Sukenya Village, a project being supported by Focus on Tanzanian Communities and Thomson Safaris. In a speech to the students of Sukenya Primary School, he said,
“The school...and this wonderful structure that Thomson Safaris has made available will provide the opportunity for these youngsters to learn what is right about the world and how that knowledge can preserve the Maasai. So sitting in this group are future doctors, scientists, engineers, any number of specialties and professions that will help the Maasai people."
Ambassador Lenhardt also visited with the Enyuata Women's Collaborative, a group of Maasai women who have progressively established several small businesses. Their initiatives have been supported by Thomson Safaris and Focus on Tanzanian Communities.
During the remainder of his visit in the Serengeti, Lenhardt gathered information on the proposed road to be built through the northern Serengeti and, on invitation by the Frankfurt Zoological Society, visited the newly repatriated rhinos from South Africa.click thumbnails for larger image
July 14, 2010
Today marks the 50th anniversary of Jane Goodall’s research in Gombe Stream National Park. See the video below for her thoughts on half a century of studying the same community of chimpanzees in Tanzania.
July 8, 2010
Thomson Safaris’ guide, Ojukwu, just returned from the Serengeti where he spotted the first migratory group of wildebeests at the Mara River. The rest of the herds were spotted between the Serengeti’s western corridor and the Mara. Although wildebeest behavior follows similar patterns each year, predicting their precise location is not an exact science, which can vary day-by-day.
When you think of the Great Migration, dramatic images of wildebeest avoiding hungry crocs as they make their way across the river may come to mind. However, these antelopes partake in another exciting annual event, which is happening right now in the Serengeti. From around mid-June to early July, about 250,000 males compete for 750,000 females in the annual wildebeest mating ritual called the rut.
Dr. Richard Estes, one of the world’s authorities on wildebeest in East Africa, told Thomson Safaris, “the noise made by the bulls is probably the most amazing thing,” Estes said of the rut. “You don’t actually see them mating all that often, but the bulls are running around, butting their heads together and expending enormous amounts of energy to round up females and keep them together. I’ve seen bulls so intent on rounding up and defending a herd that they completely overlook the presence of estrus females. That defeats the whole point of the exercise.” *
Eight months after the rut, between January and March, the females will calve. The three-week calving season, during which ninety percent of wildebeest babies are born, creates an unforgettable spectacle on the Serengeti plains.
* Excerpt of interview with Dr. Richard Estes from a 2002 issue of the Thomson Safaris Newsletter.