Wild Eyes

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The original inspiration for the Wild Eye View website was a photograph of the wild eyes of a Buffalo taken by Stuart years back in Umfolozi National Park in South Africa. Since then photographing the eyes of wild animals and birds has been a focal point of our travel photo adventures.

While working through the thousands of photos taken during our last trip to Kruger, I was astounded by the number of great “eye” shots taken. So, what a better topic for today’s blog than these.

It was hard choosing the top shot, but in the end I settled for the immature, but not quite innocent eyes of a Leopard cub we photographed early one morning near Letaba. As it came down the tree it stopped for a moment and looked right down the lens. So for this, it deserves to be top of todays blog. The day before, on the way to Letaba we came across the Leopard below right next to the road. It seemed annoyed by mine and another vehicles cameras as it strolled through the grass adjacent to the road. But what else can you do. You have to take the shots of elusive animals like this when you get the chance.

Amongst all the photos chosen for this week the ones I like the best are the ones below of Nyala cows. It was early morning and the  light was perfect for catching these wonderful browsers at their best.

Another set of shots that came out really well were of Crested Guineafowl that were scratching in the dry underbrush next to our tent in Pafuri. It was a hot afternoon and the light was very strong, but it brought out the best of the birds striking bright red eyes.

Another wonderful bird that posed for me early in the morning in the Lake Panic Hide gravel parking area was this Crested Francolin. Once again the old adage that the golden hour for photography is the first hour after sunrise proved so true. The light was just perfect. The birds white feathers amost blend with the white gravel behind highlighting its colored features superbly.

Lake Panic is a location that never fails to deliver something good. Besides the Francolin we also came away with this shot of a magnificent Goliath Heron is all its splendor.

No Wild Eye blog would be complete without some shots of Buffalo eyes. Get near these guys and you can be assured of getting the hairy eye!

For years we have wanted good shots of an Elephants eyes, but this has proven a more difficult challenge than we could ever have anticipated. Elephant’s eyes are very small, so even if you have a big lens you have to be quite close to the animal to get a good eye shot. Then you need good light, at the right angle to highlight the eye. The photo below, whist still not where we want to be, is our best yet. It was taken from an elevated hide next to a waterhole in Mapungubwe National Park the day after we left Kruger. The elephant was part of a large family group that came to water very close to the hide.

I can never get enough Hippo shots, and visting the hide at Lake Panic assures pleanty. This hippo below was less than five meters from where we were sitting, allowing for a great shot as it rose to the surface for air.

To close the blog we have some innocent eyes. Well, they look innocent, but actually they belong to hardened thieves. These Vervet monkeys tried everything to distract us so they could steal from our bungalow at Shingwedzi. Working in a gang, they know every trick. But this old Zimbabwean has been robbed too many times in the past to be caught again and eventually they gave up and went on their way without anything.

Eyes got to go now to catch a flight to Melbourne…..see youse all next week!

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