Archive for the Hippo Category

Tanzania – The Great Migration

Posted in 1, Acratech, Africa, African Safari, Benro, Birding, Birds, BlackRapid, Buffalo, Canon, Cheetahs, Columbia sportswear, Elephant, elephants, Elephants in Africa, Giraffe, Great Migration, Hippo, Hippo yawn, Hippos, Hyenas, Induro, Lilac-Breasted Roller, Lion, lions, Mara River Crossing, Ngorongoro Crater, photo tips, photo tours, Serengeti, Tanzania, Tarangire National Park, Tarangire NP, Wildebeest, zebra with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 25, 2020 by mmphototours

_Y5A4415 The masses of wildebeest web ready

_S5C5853 The start web ready

Almost everyone has heard about or seen something on TV about the great wildebeest and zebra migration on the Serengeti in Tanzania.  Think NatGeo or Discovery TV – while those programs are awe-inspiring and extremely educational they do not come close to being in the middle of the Great Migration and experiencing all that comes with the Great Migration.

_S5C5849 The river crossing race is on web ready

So, what is The Great Migration?  It is the epitome of the Circle of Life – it is also known as Africa’s Race for Life.  The journey for the key players in the Great Migration – the 1.5+ million wildebeest, starts in the south of the Serengeti, with the birth of half a million calves between January and March (this is when we do our Reverse Migration safaris).  A favorite season for many seasoned photo safari leaders – the area is full of new life and action.  Predators like lions, cheetah, leopard, and hyenas are constantly stalking the newborn, and tens of thousands of calves are born within a couple weeks of each other.

_S5C5976 Coming out of the woods web ready

When the drought comes in May, the herds moves north cutting through the Serengeti on their way to Kenya and the Maasai Mara.  It is the sight of millions of wildebeest dotting the landscape as far as the eye can see that excites one about The Great Migration.  The wildebeest form great herds and clump together as they make their trek towards the Maasai Mara.  Along the way they dodge many obstacles as they eat their way through the high green grass.  They are quickly followed by gazelle and zebra.

_Y5A2740 Zebra in water B&W

The migration is not without risk.  Rivers crossings means facing over 3,000 crocodiles who are patiently waiting for a meal.  This is what many people think of when they hear “Great Migration.”  While these crossing are often epic they are only part of the entire process.  Do not forget that there is the Serengeti lion population, by far the largest in Africa.  Seeing a group of lions collaborating to take down a wildebeest is an unforgettable sight.  Add to that leopards, cheetahs, and other wildlife and you get a perfect picture of what the Serengeti and The Great Migration are all about.


_Y5A5515 Narrow escape web ready

_Y5A4566 Croc on wildebeest web ready

Then, with the beginning of the short rains in late October, the migration makes its way back onto the Serengeti.  By December, the herds pass Seronera – a small settlement in the central Serengeti where they return to their calving grounds and the circle is complete.  Only to begin anew.

Having led multiple Migration safaris I know what it takes to soak in everything about the process, experience, and still connect with Tanzania and her people and how this entire process supports much of what happens in the greater ecosystem.

Safari activity is the lifeblood of the region.  And, our hosts know exactly how to help us enjoy the experience while still protecting the wildlife.  There are rules to be followed and they only enhance the entire experience.

I always come home from these safaris feeling like I have connected with Mother Earth, learned about myself, learned about my hosts, learned about my guests, and I have always learned about the animals and why they are vital to the survival of the ecosystem and the local way of life.

I hope the  images help you appreciate the beauty of what Tanzania and The Great Migration are all about.  Once you visit you will want to return every chance possible and continue your journey through life as you appreciate what nature has given us to experience, enjoy, and protect.

_Y5A9043 Serengeti sunset web ready

Botswana photo safari

Posted in Acratech, Africa, African painted dogs, African Safari, African wild dogs, Bee-eater, Benro, better my photography, Birding, Birds, Birds in Botswana, BlackRapid, Botswana, Botswana birds, Botswana crocs, Botswana photo safaris, Botswana photo tour, Botswana photo tours, Botswana photography safaris, Botswana safaris, Canon, Chobe River, Columbia sportswear, Crocs in Botswana, Elephant, elephants, Elephants in Africa, Elephants in Botswana, Elephants in Chobe River, Elephants playing in water, Fish Eagles, Fish Eagles in Botswana, Giraffe, Hippo, Hippo yawn, Hippos, Hornbills, how to photography, Hunt's Photo & Video, Induro, Jeff Cable, Kaenon, Khwai Reserve, learn photography, Lenses, Lexar Digital Film, Light, Lilac-Breasted Roller, Lion, lions, Moremi Reserve, Painted Dogs, photo tips, photo tours, photo workshops, Photographer, Photography, photography skills, Photography tips, photography workshops, Pro Photographer, Pro Photography, Professional Photographer, Red Bill Hornbill, Tiffen, Travel, Travel Photography, water buffalo, waterbucks, wide-angle, wide-angle lens, Wild Dogs with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 20, 2019 by mmphototours

M&M Photo Tours, Inc. lead a photo safari to Botswana in July 2018.  Depending on who you ask Botswana is either #1 or #2 for wildlife safaris in Africa.  We can tell you that Botswana did not disappoint and remains in solid medal position for M&M and our guests.

The camera/lens gear I used for the trip was 3 Canon bodies – 5D Mark IV, 5D Mark III, & 7D Mark II and they were paired with the following glass – Sigma 150-600 C, Canon 100-400L II, Canon 70-200L II, or Canon 24-105L.  I also used a Canon Powershot G9 X Mark II for some video and stills.

_51A3600 Fish Eagle take-off web ready WEB SITE

Fish Eagle w/ Canon 7D Mark II, f/8, ISO 640, 1/2500 @ 200mm

This amazing Fish Eagle was one of many that we enjoyed photographing while along the Chobe River.

_Y5A6994 Young elephant splashing water in Chobe River web ready

Elephant w/ Canon 5D Mark IV, f/8, ISO 1600, 1/1600 @ 267mm

And elephants along and in the Chobe River never disappoint.  We had great luck several different times with elephants playing in the water.

_Y5A6964 Elephants playing in Chobe River web ready

Elephants w/ Canon 5D Mark IV, f/8, ISO 1250, 1/1250 @ 172mm

The Chobe has so much life in and around it one could spend years and still not get every possible image presented.  We spend 4 days on and near the river so we capture as much as possible.  Like hippos, giraffe, birds, elephants, crocs, and much more…

_51A3092 Big Hippo entering water with mouth open web ready

Hippo running into Chobe River w/ Canon 7D Mark II, f/8, ISO 640, 1/1600, @ 200mm

_Y5A9305 Giraffe snapping head up while drinking water Chobe River web ready

Giraffe getting a drink w/ Canon 5D Mark IV, f/8, ISO 1600, 1/1250, @ 221mm

There is all sorts of bird life along the river – Kingfishers, Lilac-Breasted Rollers, Herons, Fish Eagles and so many more.


_Y5A6733 Croc eye sharp snout soft web ready

Croc w/ Canon 5D Mark IV, f/8, ISO 1600, 1/400, @ 600mm

We also spent time in Khwai area which is part of the larger Moremi Reserve.  The raw beauty of the setting coupled with the excellent guides and the great hosts at camp made for a memorable trip.  Of course, the photography was amazing and the subjects endless.

_Y5A3061 Hippo splash web ready

Hippo water toss w/ Canon 5D Mark IV, f/8, ISO 2000, 1/800, @ 374mm

_Y5A2980 Moremi hippo yawn web ready

Hippo yawn tight crop w/ Canon 5D Mark IV, f/8, ISO 1600, 1/640, @ 403mm

Plenty of gazelles around the water made for some fun imagery.

One of the big draws to Botswana is the chance to see Wild/Painted Dogs.  They are so beautiful, playful, fun to photograph, and amazing to watch on the hunt.

Botswana probably has more elephants than any other country in Africa and they are everywhere doing everything you expect an elephant to do.  They make for sure great subjects and their young are just adorable.

Lions are always a safari highlight – Botswana has plenty and seeing lions in or near water with their young (tickler alert) is always a plus.

Botswana is a birders paradise.  So many beautiful colors, species, settings, and sizes to photograph.  We had great luck with birds the entire trip.

M&M’s 2019 Botswana photo tour is full but we have dates in 2020 and 2021 on the books so if Botswana is a destination you have been wanting to photograph – start saving now and join us for an awesome safari to Botswana!