These two are brother and sister. Moments before I took this shot the female sprang up and surprised the male. You can see how he rocked back in surprise right off the ground, with his legs out and his tail out straight for balance.
Of course, it is not a serious fight – just the two of them keeping each other on their toes. And you can see that even though the male was caught by surprise he is ready with a look of defiance and aggression. It’s all training for when they are older and defending themselves becomes a matter of life and death.
That’s particularly true for the male. And one view of why males have manes is that manes protect their vulnerable necks from the claws of other lions. Lions are pretty much the top of the tree, so there has to be some way to keep the numbers down – and fights to the death between male lions is the way.
The Vervet Monkey At Gorah
This is a vervet monkey I photographed outside our lodge at a camp on the Eastern Cape in South Africa. The monkey stole a muffin from the tray I was bringing from the main lodge for my wife. I slid open the door, tray in both hands.
My wife shouted out a warning but in that second, the little monkey had snaffled the mini-muffin in one paw and was out of the door quicker than you could say muffin.
I grabbed my camera and went outside and photographed it sitting on the deck. Then it climbed up into the rafters of the lodge and I took this photograph. I shot it with my Nikon D500 and the EXIF data of the photograph says I shot at 1/320 second at f5 with the lens at 100mm and ISO 900.
In the past couple of years my wife and I have been on safari to South Africa, to Saint Petersburg in Russia, and to Vienna and Salzburg in Austria. We have also been to Budapest in Hungary, Florence in Italy, and on a trip across Andalusia in southern Spain.
Besides those trips, I have been on my own to Israel and to Nepal. So that probably qualifies me to write a travel blog. I also like to take photographs, and I have progressed up the ranks as it were, with each new camera I have used. So that probably qualifies me to write about photography and travelling with a camera, and about camera gear.
Investigating, Not Gawking
The places we travel to don’t have to be exotic, but they should feel authentic and worthy of repaying deep investigation. When my wife and I went to Austria, it was to see where Mozart lived. My wife is a pianist and she loves Mozart’s music, so she was the guide and we took full advantage of the time we had and went to concerts, to listen to string quartets playing Mozart’s music.
If we had simply gone and gawked at Mozart’s house without any background, we would have had a much poorer experience.
We are very aware that image and reality do not always come close, but we try for authentic experiences. That is what I mean when I say that education turns a flat landscape into a three-dimensional experience.
The longest I’ve been away on a single trip is a year. And often now my wife and I tend to go for just a couple of weeks, although we were away for a month on our trip to South Africa.
You can read here How I Caught The Travel Bug.