2011 – July – African Photo Safari Newsletter

Renner Safaris
Dream, Explore, Discover!

Newsletter Highlights:

Featuring Photos from our recent Botswana/Zambia safaris.

Kenya and Tanzania for the Great Migration – August 29 – September 14, 2011. There are only three spaces still available. We have a single woman that would like to find a roommate to save the cost of the single supplement. Please contact me immediately if you are serious about joining us on the safari.

2012 Kenya and Tanzania Safaris: see the tables below for information itineraries and trip prices.

New Botswana and Zambia 2012: safari details

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Our photo safaris to Botswana, Zambia and South Africa were outstanding! We had a wonderful diversity of wildlife and in good numbers. We came home with awesome photos.

I left home on May 3rd and spent seven days in South Africa scouting areas around Kruger National Park and Cape Town in preparation for leading a tour there in 2012. What I saw was incredible! Contact me if you are interested in joining me on a photo tour in South Africa toward the end of September 2012.

Refreshing Drink
On a private reserve adjoining Kruger N.P. South Africa
Canon EOS 1D Mark lll, Lens: Canon EF100-400mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2011

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Botswana: Our guide received word by two way radio that there was a large male leopard in the area so everyone in the vehicle was excited to be on the lookout for the big cat. We rounded a bend and suddenly, right in front of us, was the leopard in the road. We followed him a short distance until he flopped down in the grass at the edge of the track. Our driver pulled up along side of him. It crossed my mind that we were sitting in a totally open 4×4 Land Cruiser with a large male leopard laying three feet from the vehicle. For a moment I thought to myself “are we crazy?” We were photographing a WILD leopard that was only a few feet from the vehicle. Had he wanted to, he could have easily jumped in and taken over the car! But fortunately for us they do not eat cars, so rarely pay any attention to the vehicles! It’s awesome because on safari this gives us the rare opportunity to observe the totally natural behavior of the wildlife we encounter.

Leopard on the Prowl
On a private reserve adjoining Kruger N.P. South Africa
Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF100-400mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2011

It wasn’t long before my thoughts were interrupted because the leopard stood up and began walking again. This time he headed away from the track, so the driver began following him off-road through the bush. I noticed a small pond with water where it appeared the leopard was going for a drink. I mentioned to the driver that we would have a better vantage point from back on the road, so he quickly got us in the best position to photograph. It was late, the sky was dark and cloudy, and what light we did have was fading fast. I set my ISO up to 1250 because I needed a faster shutter speed (much higher than I like to set it to, because I don’t like digital noise) and got ready to photograph. Just as we had hoped, the leopard turned and went to the other side of the pond and began drinking. This offered us a beautiful view of him at the water’s edge. Once he started drinking, I set the motor drive speed on high, hoping that when he heard the shutter clicking he would look directly into the lens. It worked! It is a photo I have wanted to get for many years. Needless to say, I was a happy camper!

Leopard Drinking
On a private reserve adjoining Kruger N.P. South Africa
Canon EOS 1D Mark lll, Lens: Canon EF100-400mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2011

Back at the lodge, upon closer inspection of the photo on my laptop screen, I noticed that the digital noise was minimal and that the small plants in the water were actually four-leafed clover. What a stroke of luck!

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Before actually charging, elephants display signs of being aggravated. On safari, it is helpful to know these signs! One of the first is a vigorous shaking of their head. This is often accompanied by a loud clapping sound made from their ears slapping their body, sending a cloud of dust erupting off of their head, neck and shoulders. This display of power and strength can be very intimidating however it is also exciting and when one is ready, offers great possibilities for truly unique photography.

First Warning
Botswana
Canon EOS 1D Mark lll, Lens: Canon EF100-400mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2011

Don’t miss the thrill and excitement of being on one of my safaris just because you aren’t a photographer or you don’t use a “great camera.” If you enjoy wildlife you will love these safaris. Most likely you will come home with some great photos too!

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The grace and beauty with which giraffes move is captivating. In Botswana, these two males were fighting and even the motion of swinging their neck and heads to hit each other was graceful. They seldom do physical damage during these battles even when the fight goes on for extended periods of time.

Settling Their Differences
Botswana
Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF100-400mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2011

Free Giraffe Ride!
Red-Billed Oxpeckers on a giraffe’s neck.
Botswana
Canon EOS 1D Mark lll, Lens: Canon EF100-400mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2011

These birds do their best to keep giraffes, Cape Buffalo and many other animals free of ticks and other annoying insects.

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African Photo Safaris In 2012

Tanzania and Kenya – 17 Days Birthing Season for Migration Jan. 28 – Feb.13, 2012 Itinerary and Pricing
Botswana and Zambia 16 Days May 10 – 22, 2012 Itinerary and Pricing
Tanzania and Kenya – 18 Days Season for Mara River Crossings July 18 Aug.4, 2012 Itinerary and Pricing
Tanzania and Kenya – 17 Days Season for Mara River Crossings Aug. 27 – Sept. 12, 2012 Itinerary and Pricing
Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Trek Sept. 12 – 17, 2012 Itinerary and pricing coming Soon*

On our safaris you will stay in first class luxury lodges or luxury permanent tented camps. In Kenya and Tanzania we have a maximum of only three passengers per nine passenger 4×4 Land Cruiser safari vehicle. This allows plenty of space for you and your equipment during game drives and also the advantage of being able to watch and/or photograph the animals until you are satisfied.

There are only a few spaces available on each of this year’s safaris. To avoid disappointment, make your reservations today. To reserve your space on our photo safaris, please call Paul Renner at (949) 295-3136, or email him at: paulrenner3@cox.net or call Prem Sharma at Somak Safaris (800) 757- 6625.

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We were on a night game drive and moving about 15 miles per hour when the driver suddenly hit the brakes. After stopping abruptly, he jumped out of the vehicle and ran back to a nearby bush, reached up and broke off a limb then returned to the car to show me his find. It was a chameleon! I asked him how in the world he spotted it while were moving so fast while driving at night. If you join me on one of my safaris, I will be happy to let you in on the secret :0)

Chameleon
Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF100-400mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2011

Join me on safari soon and capture your own photos of these magnificent animals!
I will be photographing right along side of you and sharing helpful information about what to watch for in terms of wildlife behavior and giving lots of photography tips as well. You will have a wonderful time and learn a lot too!

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White Throated Bee Eaters live in colonies which are most often found along rivers and streams. They dig tunnels up to three feet deep, straight into the cliffs, making their nests difficult for predators like Monitor Lizards and snakes to enter. Sometimes one will find hundreds of nests in a single colony.

White Throated Bee Eater
Zambia
Canon EOS 1D Mark lll, Lens: Canon EF400mm, f/5.6 USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2011

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Monitor Lizards can reach lengths in excess of 72 inches. Most of the ones we have seen on safari have been in close proximity to water or along rivers streams They dig up and eat unguarded crocodile, turtle and bird eggs. In spite of their ominous appearance, they are actually quite shy of humans, but if cornered will lash out and strike with their tail.

Monitor Lizard
Zambia
Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF100-400mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2011

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African Wild Dogs are well known for their hunting tenacity. They hunt together in packs using well-executed teamwork and often run their prey to exhaustion.
They have amazing endurance and are capable of running extremely long distances. They have a success rate of nearly 100% on their hunts.

They have become quite rare in Africa, but we were fortunate to see them on both safaris in Botswana.

African Wild Dog
Botswana
Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF100-400mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2011

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Lilac Breasted Rollers like to perch on the outer branches of dead trees. From there they have a good vantage point for finding insects or bugs which they then swoop down and catch. I have personally watched as one caught a grasshopper that was at least four inches long and then proceeded to gulp it down. The grasshopper was so big, I still wonder how the bird didn’t choke to death. On this trip we watched one eat a four inch long centipede. Imagine all of those feet going down the throat! These birds are our friends! (and fun to photograph too!)

Lilac Breasted Roller in Flight
Botswana
Canon EOS 1D Mark lll, Lens: Canon EF100-400mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2011

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Mongoose – Cute little guy and deadly for snakes
Botswana
Canon EOS 1D Mark lll, Lens: Canon EF100-400mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2011

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Important information about our African photo safaris:

Prices for our safaris to Kenya and Tanzania include airfare from LAX – most other companies do not include airfare.
• We have only three passengers per nine passenger 4X4 Land Cruiser safari vehicle. You will enjoy plenty of space for you and your equipment!
• We stay in luxury safari lodges or permanent tented camps.
• You do not have to be a photographer but you must enjoy watching the wildlife
because that is what we do!
• I will be there to photograph with you and available to answer your questions.
Parks we visit on our African safaris.
I hope you will join me for an African Safari; your adventure of a lifetime! For more information, prices and itineraries click here.

To reserve your space on a safari, please call
Paul Renner at (949) 295-3136, or
email him at paulrenner3@cox.net
or call Prem Sharma at Somak Safaris (800) 757-6625

 

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On our Safaris we stay in luxury lodges and permanent tented camps.
For information and photos of the lodges and accommodations click here.

 

More Important Safari Information:

We have only three passengers per nine passenger vehicle giving you plenty of space for you and your photo equipment. You can photograph through windows on BOTH sides of the vehicle and also from the top, which pops up to create shade so you are protected from the hot, equatorial sun. Compared to other tours that pack the vans with up to eight people, this is a huge deal! Our African photo safaris are limited to eighteen people, including the leaders.

As we leave the lodges, the vehicles separate and spread out. This allows us to have up to six guides out looking for wildlife. They each have radios to share what they find. This way no one misses out on seeing the wildlife! With six great guides, you can hardly believe all of the wildlife they find. We have trained them to understand lighting, composition and what we are trying to achieve. Our guides are awesome!

Our safaris are designed for the ultimate photographic experience, however please don’t be intimidated out enjoying one my photo safaris just because you are not a photographer or you don’t use a “great camera.” If you enjoy wildlife you will love these safaris and more than likely you’ll come home with some great photos too!

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We don’t really rough it on our safaris. This was our room at Savute in Botswana. Elephants spent a lot of time in the watering hole just outside. I loved the location!

We also stayed in permanent tented camps which were a little more rustic, however still very nice accommodations.

Roughing It On Safari
Botswana
Canon EOS 7D, Lens:EF-S18-135mm, f/3.5-5.6 IS
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2011

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Victoria Falls, located on the Zambezi River is in southern Africa, between the countries of Zimbabwe and Zambia. It is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. A trip to southern Africa would not be complete without visiting these falls, the largest in the world.

Double Rainbow at Victoria Falls
Canon EOS 7D, Lens:EF-S18-135mm, f/3.5-5.6 IS
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2011

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Africa is well known for spectacular sunrises and sunsets. Each day we begin our morning game drive before sunrise. On our afternoon game drives, we return to the lodge just after sunset. This gives us the best opportunities to photograph this breathtaking beauty.

Clouds After Sunset
Botswana
Canon EOS 7D, Lens:EF-S18-135mm, f/3.5-5.6 IS
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2011

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Our African photo safaris are the trip of a lifetime! I am so thankful to have been born and grown up in East Africa. Now that I am able to take people with me and share what I know about photography along with my personal experiences of Africa, I am thrilled so many clients return and say to me “that was the best trip I have ever been on” or “thank you for the vacation of a lifetime! I want to go again soon!”

I hope you will be able to join me on an African photo safari soon. It will be your trip of a lifetime! Why not in sign up now so you don’t miss out?

For more information, prices and itineraries click here.

Enjoy each day.
Paul

Paul Renner
paulrenner3@cox.net
www.rennersafaris.com

 

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