2012-05-African Photo Safari Newsletter-Botswana

Renner Safaris

Dream, Explore, Discover

In May we experienced another fantastic photo safari in Botswana!  Just like on our previous safaris, the wildlife sightings were fabulous with countless great photo opportunities for each of us!  It is difficult to adequately describe our feelings of exhilaration, excitement and wonder as we sat on the lodge deck our first day on safari, enjoying delicious meals, while elephants were trading places and jockeying for position at the water hole just below the deck we were on.  Savute has to be one of the best places on the planet for amazing elephant watching!  I hope you will be able to join me next year.

View from our Dining Table
Savute, Botswana
Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF100-400mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2012

Feeling Secure
Savute, Botswana
Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF100-400mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2012

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This old bull fascinated us when he walked up to this large tree, placed his tusks and forehead against the tree trunk and began shaking it.  His power was evident as he leaned into the tree and rocked it back and forth.  Suddenly the fruit started raining down around him.  This made it easier for him to pick up the fruit with his trunk.

Bull Elephant
Savute, Botswana
Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF100-400mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2012

 Deck With A View
Savute, Botswana
Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF100-400mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2012

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On our first evening game drive we found this gorgeous leopard laying on a log only fifteen or twenty feet from the road. It was nice because the leopard seemed oblivious to us and the car. She was simply a magnificent subject and gave us many different poses!

Leopard
Savute, Botswana
Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF100-400mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2012

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This spectacular bird is a saddle-billed stork.  This large stork measures 59 inches in height with a wingspan of 7.9–8.9 ft . The females are easily distinguished by the golden yellow iris in their eyes. The males have brown irises and dangling yellow wattles.

While patiently wading around the pond in search of frogs, crabs and fish, this stork spotted a catfish hiding in the mud.  She quickly went to work pecking and biting.  It wasn’t long before she raised her head high with the fish pinched in her bill and swallowed the fish whole!  By pecking and biting the fish she was actually trying to kill it prior to swallowing it. If she had swallowed it while still alive, the fish would have been fighting in the bird’s stomach.  I presume that a fish that large could be pretty uncomfortable if it were still wiggling and trying to escape after landing your stomach.

 

Saddle Billed Stork with Catfish
Okavango Delta, Botswana
Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF100-400mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2012

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We were in boats on the Chobe River gliding through water just a few feet from the shore.  The afternoon sun lights up the the river bank so animals coming for water are in beautiful light for photography and facing us as they come to drink.  Many herds of elephants come to drink and enjoy themselves at the river in the afternoons.  It is a great place to see hippos and some big crocodiles in the river.  From the boats we also saw baboons, monkeys, impala, greater kudu, monitor lizards, cape buffalo, giraffes and even lion.  There was also plenty of birdlife.   Giant Kingfishers, African Fish Eagles African Jacanas and many more species were easily spotted along the river and often up close too!

Hippos Sparring
Chobe River, Botswana
Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF100-400mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2012

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African Photo Safaris In 2013

Our 2012 safaris are all sold out and our 2013 safaris are selling well so contact us soon if you want to go on one of our safaris next year.

Tanzania and Kenya – 17 Days – Birthing Season for the Great Migration Feb. 1-17, 2013 Itinerary and Pricing
Botswana and Zambia – 15 Days May 16-28, 2013 Itinerary and Pricing 
Tanzania and Kenya -18 -Days – Season for Great Migration Crossings at the Mara River July 18 – Aug.4, 2013 Itinerary and Pricing
Tanzania and Kenya -17 -Days – Season for Great Migration Crossings at the Mara River
Aug. 28 – Sept. 13, 2013 Itinerary and Pricing
Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Trek Sept. 13 – 17, 2013 Itinerary and Pricing

African Photo Safaris In 2012

Tanzania and Kenya – 17 Days – Birthing Season for the Great Migration Jan. 28 – Feb.13, 2012 Itinerary and Pricing
Botswana and Zambia – 16 Days (Sold Out) May 10 – 22, 2012 Itinerary and Pricing
Tanzania and Kenya -18 -Days – Season for Grigration Crossings at the Mara River (Sold Out) July 18 – Aug.4, 2012 Itinerary and Pricing
Tanzania and Kenya -17 -Days – Season for Great Migration Crossings at the Mara River (Sold Out) Aug. 27 – Sept. 12, 2012 Itinerary and Pricing
Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Trek (Sold Out) Sept. 12 – 17, 2012 Itinerary and Pricing

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Cape Buffalo
Okavango Delta, Botswana
Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF100-400mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2012

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On our Tanzania/Kenya safaris 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 will 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 from 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 your own great photos too!

I will be photographing on our game drives too, but I am available to answer your questions and let you know how I am photographing each subject so you can learn more about photography and bring home your own great photos too.

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 Best Safaris (800) 757- 6625.

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Botswana has the largest concentration of elephants in Africa.  I never get tired of watching them so I especially love the Botswana safaris.  It is always fun to watch and photograph elephant family interaction.

In Step
Chobe National Park, Botswana
Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF100-400mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2012

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Botswana has also offered us wonderful opportunities for photographing leopards. I love finding leopards because while looking for them we usually discover everything else as well!

Leopard Yawning
Savute, Botswana
Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF100-400mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2012

Leopard Snoozing
Savute, Botswana
Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF100-400mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2012

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Lilac Breasted Roller
Okavango Delta, Botswana
Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF100-400mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2012

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It was first light on the Chobe River when we came upon a pride of lions. We followed them to the river bank where they drank.  They appeared golden in the early morning light.  

After drinking their fill, they began moving away from the river. We circled around to the far side of them hoping to watch them walking toward us.  We spotted them and our plan seemed to be working when I realized that the lead lioness looked like she was stalking me!  They are used to the vehicles there and I thought to myself “she can’t be stalking us. There must be something behind us and they are using our vehicle for cover”.

Lioness Hunting
Chobe National Park, Botswana
Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF100-400mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2012

Sure enough, behind me was beautiful Greater Kudu bull with a female. They were grazing intently when the male raised his nose in the air and caught the scent of the lions.  In an instant they were gone but the lioness continued stalking toward us.

Greater Kudu
Chobe National Park, Botswana
Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF100-400mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2012

I turned around again but this time spotted a herd of buffalo concealed among the trees and bushes.  The lioness continued stalking and was soon joined by other members of the pride. Without a sound they spread out to cut off possible escape routes for the buffalo.  All at once the lions charged the herd.  It took only moments for the lions to separate a single animal from the herd.  He raced towards the river with the lions in hot pursuit.  I thought the buffalo was going to be the lions’ breakfast.  Just about as quickly, the lions returned empty handed.  The big bull had somehow escaped the wrath of the lions, who then turned their focus back to the herd. They followed them deeper into the bushes and out of our sight.

Cape Buffalo
Chobe National Park, Botswana
Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF100-400mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2012

Lion Grooming
Chobe National Park, Botswana
Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF100-400mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2012

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The lodge we used at Victoria Falls is situated inside a national park.  Zebra are comfortable coming onto the lawn to graze even in the daytime. So far I haven’t seen one doing laps in the pool but who knows what surprises are in store on future safaris.  Every day is an adventure filled with surprises!

On a Renner Safari, Expect the Unexpected!
Victoria Falls, Zambia
Leica Camera AG4. M9 Digital Camera
Copyright: Derek Simpkins, 2012

 Sunset in the Okavango Delta, Botswana
Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF100-400mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2012

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You can do this too!

 

Watching Lions From One of our 4×4 Land Cruisers
Masai Mara, Kenya
Canon EOS 1D Mark lll, Lens: Canon EF100-400mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2011

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