March 2022

Hwata hide at dawn

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Hwata hide at dawn

Jenny Hishin
By Jenny Hishin
Guest Guide

Spending time in the Hwata photographic hide is a popular activity, and like a sunset cruise should be on your wish list when you visit Singita Pamushana. The hide faces east, so the most popular time to be there is late afternoon when the setting sun gives the most pleasing golden hour results. It’s also the time you can expect harder to find wildlife and view them for longer, like elephants and white and black rhinos.

However, for the fleeting moments before sunrise the lighting is unparalleled for rim-lit backlight.

This image was taken with my cell phone because a cell phone has a wide angle lens and it processes difficult lighting situations in very pleasing ways compared to DSLR cameras. No filter has been added, and you can see that the view out of the hide, even with no animals around, is sensational.

Slowly the diurnal plains game made their way to the water’s edge, for an early morning drink to hydrate themselves for the hot day that lay ahead. Wildebeest, zebra, kudu, and even a lone eland arrived so I switched to my DSLR with a zoom lens. The colours went from kaleidoscopic, to gold, to white-out within the hour, and to capture the magic you constantly have to override your DSLR camera’s automatic exposure settings as it valiantly tries to achieve an overall middle-ground exposure.

The morning spent in the hide reminded me of the poem, The Magic Plains, by Cullen Gouldsbury, that follows the photographs on the next page. Poetry is such an evocative medium that often helps one to understand and appreciate the world around us. It could be said that poetry casts a backlight on the world, highlighting its golden edges, making the stark truth of beauty all the more visible. As a dear old friend, since departed, reminded me, poetry tugs at one’s heart-strings.

Photos overleaf:

A lone wildebeest bravely strode up to the water’s edge, giving zebras the courage to do the same.

Four zebras drink, while a kudu waits his turn, and a shy eland in the background cautiously assesses the scene.