NOTE: The photos will look best if you open them by clicking on one. A film strip will appear at the bottom and you can scroll through them. I suggest you read the story then go back and click on the first photo.
Rules are Made to be Broken
We are barely out of the copse of trees in which Entim Camp is located when David’s Rules to Shoot By are tested and blown all to pieces.
A couple explanations:
1. The layout of the Land Rover for photographers provides three rows of two seats each, with each photographer having an entire row to himself/herself. The front row, which is where the access door is, has two seats with a narrow aisle in between. The second row has one seat on the right side and no seat on the left, which is the side David says we should shoot from. This empty area is meant for a photographer to kneel on the steel flooring plates, using throw cushions for comfort. The third row has two seats with a DC-powered cooler box in between, making access to the right seat very difficult.
2. As it turns out, all three of us women have mobility issues. I jokingly call us the Infirm Photographers Group. Mary has a long-standing condition that affects her mobility. I have a piece of a broken bone in my right knee that prevented walking in January and I was very concerned the condition would flare up again. I came quite close to canceling this trip because of that. The Third Person has had three operations on her knees and was afraid her knee(s) would lock up if she knelt.
In Botswana, Marg and Mary graciously and generously allowed me to baby my knee by insisting that I ride in the seat next to the driver, which in a tiered-seating vehicle meant the the least amount of climbing.
On this day at Entim, I remember that I sat in the first row of seats and that Mary sat in the rear. That left the middle, with the missing left seat, for the Third Person. I saw some throw pillows on the floor and took one so I could kneel on it with my injured knee, the idea being that the lower to the ground you can shoot, the better.
Shortly after exiting the trees, the Third Person in the second row says that this will not work for her because of her knees.
When the subject of pillows comes up in the following discussion, I surrender the one pillow I have, realizing it was for the middle seat person’s use. Finally, Delores changes seats with the Third Person and our safari gets underway. More about how we break this rule later.
Almost our first sighting is of some denizens of the Maasai Mara who really appreciate the heavy rains. This is the Mud Hole Day Spa for Cape Buffalo:
Buffalo, elephants, and rhinos wallow in mud for several reasons. It cools them, protects them from biting insects, and also acts as a sunscreen.
It’s also good for their complexions, don’t you think?
Some birds appreciate the mud hole, too.
|Hamerkop has caught a frog|
The guides find some sleeping lions.
|David, Marg, and Laura.|
|I want all you shooters to notice that Marg is practicing trigger safety.|
|So much for a nap.|
Having disturbed sleeping lions, we go in search of more critters to photograph.
|Juvenile Southern Ground-hornbill. Darned grass.|
It’s getting dark and we’re heading back to camp when we spot topi on the horizon in what amounts to today’s sunset. Not colorful at all, but the topi are on the horizon, so…
It’s almost too dark for photos, so I’ve lightened the following photos quite a bit.
The Cape Buffalo, fresh from the Mud Hole Day Spa, are chasing three lions out of the area. I spin to my right and start shooting. And BANG! goes another of David’s Rules to Shoot By.
|See the light brown along the right edge of the photo? That's part of the safari vehicle. That means I'm breaking another Rules to Shoot By and shooting out the right.|
By the time the driver changes positions so we can shoot from the left side of the vehicle, I missed the parting of the three lions.
One disappears into a bush and watches from his lair. Two run towards the vehicles, perhaps hoping the buffalo will give off the chase.
Ah, not so fast these you wily lions. The buffalo continue the chase.
|And don't ya come back no more, no more, no more.|
When at last the buffalo stop running, a thoroughly chastised lion walks away to locate his missing brothers.
And we return to camp.