Tag Archives: safari experience

Shooting in Monochrome – Rhino Road

November 05, 2012 - Conservation,Sabi Sand,Safari,Wildlife

There is a term photographers use called “leading lines”. This refers to a line cutting through an image, such as a road, fence or river. It draws the viewer into the image and, if done correctly, can tell a great story. This image has meaning to me because I feel it shows the hard road rhinos have ahead of them, fighting a lonely and difficult battle against poaching. This single rhino on a winding road portrays that to me.

Once again, the clarity slider came into effect here and it gives great texture to dark-skinned animals. I try to crop my images as little as possible as to not lose size and quality, and this is an important factor to consider. Always try and think about the final image you want as you take it, and avoid cropping as much as possible in post processing.

I lightened the road in the foreground to give more emphasis to the rhino, and decided not to darken the edges as I wanted to emphasize the sense of space and isolation of the subject. The motion in the front left leg is important as it shows the rhino is active and busy walking down the long and winding path. All these subtle elements combine to make a big, sometimes subconscious, difference in the end.

Rhino Road by Marlon du Toit

Marlon du Toit thrives on adventure and has a deep connection with Africa and its beauty. Growing up near the Kruger National Park he was immersed in nature from a young age and is now a professional field guide at Singita Sabi Sand.

His eye for capturing split-second moments on camera is astonishing, and after years behind the lens, we thought we would give our readers some of his ideas for taking the perfect wildlife photograph when out in the bush. This is the last post in this particular series, but please check back regularly for more of Marlon’s wonderful photographs and expert advice.

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Shooting in Monochrome – The Big Tusker

October 26, 2012 - Conservation,Sabi Sand,Safari,Wildlife

I am in love with large elephant bulls with beautiful wide tusks. These old bulls are rather “easy” to photograph, as they tend to be more relaxed than the younger bulls. They just have this presence about them and if you can capture that you would have done well. To get this particular shot I had to get close, real close. It was shot with a 16-35mm lens and to create that slightly out of proportionate effect you need to be close. Now don’t go out there and have yourself trampled by a big ellie! Always be careful when in close proximity to these large animals.

Everything works for me in this image. Once again it was a cloudy day and it brought out the texture and folds in the elephant’s skin and trunk. I brushed the elephant separately and used a lot of clarity and contrast on him to emphasize that without making it look too unnatural. The scratches on his ears simply add character and I love it. I also appreciate how the tusks push forward almost giving you the feeling of being stabbed in the eye! That is thanks to being near to my subject with a wide angle lens.

The sky is also important to me. Notice how on the original image below you don’t notice much in terms of cloud cover. Thanks to shooting in RAW format I managed to gain back detail in the sky, something you will not be able to do when shooting in JPEG. This is important to consider as you will not get the best of your images in JPEG format. RAW simply is the way to go and will allow you more freedom when processing. Overall I am absolutely in awe of the “largeness” of the big bull as he fills the frame. It shows power and absolutely screams of Africa.

Marlon du Toit thrives on adventure and has a deep connection with Africa and its beauty. Growing up near the Kruger National Park he was immersed in nature from a young age and is now a professional field guide at Singita Sabi Sand.

His eye for capturing split-second moments on camera is astonishing, and after years behind the lens, we thought we would give our readers some of his ideas for taking the perfect wildlife photograph when out in the bush. Follow the Singita blog for more of Marlon’s tips for black and white photography in the wild.

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Singita Sabi Sand

August 07, 2012 - Conservation,Sabi Sand,Wildlife

I’ve recently arrived back home from a remarkable trip exploring the unspoilt terrain of Singita Sabi Sand.  Home to three Singita lodges in 18,000 hectares, the reserve’s stretches of grassland are punctuated by groves of Acacia and Marula trees.  The trip was extremely successful as the concession was teeming with game and we witnessed some incredible sightings.

Each day I captured as much of what I was seeing from the lens of my camera so I could share it with all of you.  Heading out early every morning offered prime time for wildlife viewing as it was still cool and the majority of animals were still active.  This is always my recommendation as early mornings present the most beautiful sunrises and life begins to stir as another day starts in the African bush – the odd cry of a lone hyena and the cackle of francolins signaling that the dawn chorus has begun.

Once the heat of the middle day has started to lift and ebb away, late afternoons are also a perfect time for exploration.  Between mornings and late afternoons, trekking on foot through the bush or ambling across the grasslands in a Land Rover, just with my camera and radio, I marveled at the memorable moments I experienced.  I was able to tick off the Big Five with relative ease.  The Singita Sabi Sand concession has plenty to offer and the sightings of high profile animals are unmatched. The majority of the game in this area is relatively habituated to the vehicles and this allows one to get up close and personal to a lot of these animals and have the opportunity to view them in their natural environment. If you are cautious, the game vehicles do not disturb them, and you are able to spend time with these animals without altering their behavior in any way.

I also spent a lot of time on foot as this activity really allows one to connect with the environment and appreciate the smaller unique treats the bush has to offer. Without the sound of the vehicle, you allow yourself to hear any noises that may give away the presence of an animal.

Being in the wild heightens the senses in a different way than is normally experienced back at home.  It brings a sense of well-being.  Stay connected with the photographic journals that will be posted over the next few weeks. I hope to share as much as possible with you – and hopefully inspire you to plan a bush experience soon.

James Suter – trekking across the Singita reserves in Africa.

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A Groomed, Bespoke Country House

June 22, 2011 - Accommodation,Experience,History,Lodges and Camps,Sabi Sand

Singita Ebony Lodge – a groomed, bespoke Country House – a romantic mix of European and African heritage.

After a short closure a restored and re-invigorated Singita Ebony Lodge has just reopened.  Singita’s flagship lodge, Ebony Lodge overlooks the Sand River and is inspired by the original Lewis Camp.  Refreshed but true to its original design an authentic, colonial bush experience is represented by bold colours of Africa blended with real antiques, layers and florals that reflect the English heritage of a country home.

Geordi de Sousa Costa, from Cecile and Boyd’s, was involved in the original design of Ebony Lodge and was therefore highly qualified to advise on the way forward when we considered a refresh of the lodge.

Geordi’s interpretation is that Ebony’s style is unique.  She speaks about the beautiful finish that has built up over years of dedicated polishing and care, and the clever combination of African artifacts and European collectibles that would be typical in the bush home of a seasoned, high-end traveler.  Ebony is Singita’s flagship lodge and has a history and heritage that is unmatched.

For more information about Singita Ebony Lodge read more here – and if you are interested in the new rates of the Lewis Suites, find out more.

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Mornings at Singita Explore

May 24, 2011 - Accommodation,Africa,Experience,Lodges and Camps,Singita Grumeti

Safari Brothers experiencing the adventure of Singita Explore….James Suter shares his morning moments, waking up to the smell of fireside-brewed coffee and glorious sunrises…

We awake in the morning at our Singita Explore tented camp filled with excitement, listening to both sounds of the Serengeti plains as well as the early morning sounds of the Swahili staff preparing coffee on the fire. Typical mornings include a 06h00 wake up call, hot shower and then as we step outside the tent we are greeted by the most magnificent Tanzanian sunrises.

Quite remarkable and eco-friendly, each sleeper tent is equipped with a 20 litre bucket that is used for the shower, and this provides 10 luxurious minutes of shower time – or more if needed.  Hot water is made via a volcano pressure boiler, and is fuelled by recycled “green” energy.

After thrilling morning game drives, heading back to camp to enjoy a sumptuous cooked breakfast is all that is on our minds.  A table is set up for us out in the open in front of the camp, with shade provided by a large acacia.  Right by our table, staff prepare generous portions of eggs and meats to satisfy our ravenous appetites.  We could stay here forever!

Nothing like the smell of filtered coffee brewed over the coals and a crisp morning chill in the air – James Suter.

Take a look at more amazing sights that we are capturing on camera….follow the account on Singita’s Facebook page all week.

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