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Wildlife Photography Highlights From 2023, Part 1

We at Untamed Photo Safaris would like to say a big thank you to all our guests that attended our photographic safaris during the 2023 period. The year was very exciting and our team fully enjoyed hosting all of you through our many destinations in Africa. For those of you who have not yet been on safari with us or who had attended a photographic safaris with us in previous years, here are a few exciting stories that we would like to share with you form 2023.

Baby Lions of the Masai Mara

On our second day here in the Masai Mara, we get a call from one of the other lodges that the cubs are starting to get active outside of their den. The group gathered their cameras and quickly and we rapidly got to the truck. The timing was perfect as we had just finished our lunch while observing a herd of elephants. We set off and headed towards the location where we had secret intel of the lion cub activity.

On rout, passing zebra, giraffe and gazelle, the guests had to hold on as we hastily made our way towards what would be a unique photographic sighting.

What was predicted was that the young lion cubs were on the verge of leaving the den of which they were born. This was going to be the first time they would have left the safety of their mother and into the open savanna of the great Masai Mara grasslands.

The photo truck got to the destination where the photo host and the driver created a plan to hold off and keep a distance. Mark the photo host and yes Other Mark the driver, a Massai, created a plan that predicted the movement of the Lioness and her cubs. The predicted that as the main lion pride were behind us, she was going to lead her cubs past our truck and to them. We kept a distance of at least 100 meters that allowed our photo guests to get multiple shots with their 500mm lenses, 400mm lenses 100-400mm lenses and 150-600mm lenses. As predicted, the photo host and the driver noticed a large movement suddenly taking place. The group leader informed the photographers to get ready. Out of nowhere, the mother and her cubs as predicted began to make their way towards our truck. Mark the photo host began to look through his camera and talk through to the guests on how to get the shot. Information about composition, aperture options, lighting and where to focus all commenced. All four young cobs bounced through the grass following the mother as she made her way directly towards us. As she got closer the images became more effective. Most guests with an F4 capability managed to get only the mother in focus leaving the cubs as more of a structure to the image. Others with a 5.6 capability harnessed a photo the contained most of the cubs in focus.

The mother and cubs finally got to 10 meters to the car where the photo host advised people to photograph the lion cubs only as it would make for a more effective photograph. As she passed, we respectably followed her by a distance with one other car and finally took some final shots from yet another head on position. After this second and successful attempt, we continued to find other photographic subjects for the last drive of the day around the mara. Having it been only day two, our guests returned fulfilled and beyond happy to have witnessed this unique sighting. To tell you the truth, Untamed did celebrate with a complimentary bottle of champaign on that night.

Chimps of Kibale National Park, Uganda

When it comes to adventure, trekking through the African rainforests with a camera, really tests your photographic skills. We will take you into a time when some of our guests with Untamed Photo Safaris like many others, got to witness the dominant and impressive chimpanzees of Kibale National Park here in Uganda. Start from Entebbe, the group dove north west for half a day and to the forest of Kibale. One of the last remaining chimpanzee national parks on the planet. After settling in at the rainforest lodge the driver and two photo hosts Mark and Jaren began the introduction o the chimp trek for the following day ahead.

After a good sleep and an early awakening at 5am, the group made their way to the forest and began their trek into the forest with their camera equipment. With staff at hand to help carry excess lenses and baggage, the photo group trekked off into the forest and in search for the wild chimps. After half an hour, the group located the chimps in the trees where photographs were at their limit. As they were not going to move we moved on and slowly approached an obstacle. Forest elephants! With fully trained armed guards the group silently passed the forest elephants on foot and carried on walking. The group managed to not disturb the elephants and we were ok. After another 20 minutes, we got to a family of Chimps that were more comfortable with the groups presence. Photo host Mark A Fernley guided the photographers to get low, bump up the iso, down the f-stop and help them constructively compose strong and effective images.

As the chimps moved on, the group was escorted safely to move with the chimp family, trying to not interfere with their ways of life. One or two individuals managed to stay still when beautiful head shots and body shots were taken. At one point the photo host was approached by three large male chimps as he sat one the floor. Very slowly he captured one shot as the group silently waited for the males to leave.

Further on, the group came across to a well lit tree fall that was spotted by Mark. On it lay three chimps that were beautifully lit by the suns rays in the opening. Photo guide Mark led the group towards the troop and there lay a chimp on his side. The chimp was lying like Rose from the Titanic, fully stretched on the log and beautifully lit. With a quick giggle about the situation, all guests managed to capture the shot of the individual. After a lengthy day of photographing the chimps, all our guests returned fully satisfied and tired, but ready for bed.

The Living Fossil known as Craig

Located south of Kenya here in Amboseli National Perak, Untamed Photo Safaris takes pride in allowing guests to observe a living fossil. His name is Craig. We would like to tell you a story from whence we visited his vast and dry territory just north of Mount Kilimanjaro.

On day three of this full on Amboseli photographic safari, Mark and Jaren the two photo hosts plus the driver got together and prepped for the search of Craig the elephant.

To give you a bit of incite of what and who Craig is, Craig is a super tusker elephant who is one of 25 remaining large tusker elephants remaining on planet earth or in he universe as we know. Due to trophy hunting, these last remaining mammoth sized African Elephants are what is left on Africa's sol. Untamed Photo Safaris give great pleasure to allow photographers to photograph this unique elephant as he is monitored, protected and admired as he lives the rest of his days wandering Amboseli National Park. Tim, another super tusker that we used to photograph sadly died of old age but we respect and remember him closely.

During the morning of day 3 our good friend and Massai Tracker found Craig and reported back to us. We set off to where he was spotted and after only 10 minutes in the truck, the group spotted him. Both photo hosts and the driver worked as a team in getting the photography guests to get the shot. Most of the guests were told to get low when taking the shot. As we were in the National Park and not in the conservancy, guests were not allowed to get outside of the car. This was not a problem as he was a about 50m away but heading our way. He began to get closer and closer and then the shots were taken. He kicked up dust, swayed is lengthy tusks side to side but as usual he came up to the truck calmly and gently due to his old age.

As he passed the truck, guests were advised to swap lenses to a potential wide angle or to a stranded lens as Craig the elephant walked behind the truck in all his pride allowing guests to get a rather stunning and close shot of him. Once again, we carried on with the game drive with the car buzzing with excitement with what they had seen. Crag is certainly one of those elephants you will never forget.

Take a look at our new and upcoming photographic safaris for 2025


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