Very early morning in the Ngala Game Reserve, part of the greater Kruger National Park, this beautiful green chameleon tip-toed gently across the gravel road. His rotating eyes constantly checking backwards and forwards for danger.
This Cape White-eye was quite a character, landing on these tubular extensions of a tree at the door to our chalet on the southern coast of South Africa. It would call and watch us from very close range, keeping a beady eye out for crumbs or insects drawn to the breakfast juice. It was a game of peek-a-boo as it would pop its head between the plant limb as soon as I looked at it and then withdraw from sight, popping up in a different spot with the same behaviour.
During a dive in the beautiful blue water of the Mozambique current, I passed over a gully in the reef topped with bright pink thistle coral. As I looked down, a ball of swirling flashing greens, pinks and golds emerged, almost a living creature. This ball consisted of thousands of small sweepers, swirling together in unison, all using their big eyes to look at me and ready to bolt for cover into the gully at a moment’s notice. It was as if the ocean was presenting me with a bouquet of stunning colour, the equivalent to a landscape with colourful flowers in the world above.
Early evening in Sabi Sands, on a cloudy day, this leopard had climbed a very tall tree and chose a comfortable branch on which to lay and survey the panoramic view before him. It had been seen in the same tree for two days since eating an antelope kill. Suspected to have been left by its mother, rangers were keen to see when this adolescent would hunt for itself.
This large angelfish was quite brazen, approaching the camera and diver with curiosity quite different to that of the rock cod behind who was more intent on slouching away under the overhang. The angelfish presented its full flank, with wonderful blue accents and the clear blue spike that occurs at the bottom of the gill slits easily visible. The electric blue semicircles which appear on juveniles and after which the fish is named disappear on adults such as the one photographed.
Early morning in the Ngala Game Reserve, part of the greater Kruger National Park, four terrapins climbed onto the back of a large hippopotamus to sun themselves in the early morning rays.
This eel was found maintaining station under a ledge out of the strong current at the bottom of the canyon, part of Manta reef off Tofo in Mozambique. I had done a few dives to this site and on numerous occasions had seen either one or a pair in the canyon so was looking to photograph them deep under the ledge. Their underwater colour looks more dark olive green while the squirrelfish appear white and grey until strobe light reveals their true colours. This eel was quite calm and I suspect has had encounters with divers in its environment before and hence did not try escape from the camera.
Late afternoon in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve, part of the greater Kruger National park, a group of four white rhinoceros emerged from the bushes, three of whom had been dehorned and one with his full horn still in place. In an effort to save the lives of rhinos in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve, a decision was taken to dehorn all rhinos to try and protect them from poachers. In South Africa, one rhino is slaughtered by poachers every nine hours. An anti-poaching unit now flies over the area in a helicopter to track the rhinos, who are then darted with a tranquiliser. A ground crew then move in and using a chain-saw, cut off the horn so as not to damage the face of the rhino.
This wild dog had been running with the pack when it arrived at a dam which had some waterbuck grazing on its verge. The dogs attempted to ambush the buck but to no avail as they were spotted on their approach. Instead of fleeing, the waterbuck calmly waded into the water, where upon reaching a safe distance, turned round and stared down the dogs. The dogs were out manoeuvred and sat down for a sleep while one of them, displaying its awesome painted pattern, watched lunch, just out of reach.
This photo was a triumph of different elements. The bird itself being fairly active, the moment of capture with the caterpillar piece in the air and the use of a manual focus super telephoto mirror lens.
This whale shark and another were swimming near the surface, following a large bait ball of anchovies. We could see the birds diving for the small fish and when entering the water saw the shark with its attending remoras continuing to enter the ball. Although they are the world’s largest fish and seem to be expending almost no energy, it is almost impossible to keep up with them while swimming as they disappear in a moment.
At Ngala tented camp is a flowering bush that emanates loud buzzing sounds as you walk past. On closer inspection I found a massive black-winged bee, vastly different to a honeybee. It was kind enough to hold still for a macro photo while performing what I later learned to be buzz pollination. If you listen carefully, you’ll notice a change in the frequency of the buzz once the bee lands on the flower and clasps the anther. It rises slightly to “middle C” as the rate at which it beats its wings changes. The bee disengages its flight muscles from the wings to reduce unnecessary wing movement and uses these muscles to shake the anthers violently. The anthers respond to the sound frequency caused by the vibrations by opening pores at their tips to shower the little insect in pollen. The carpenter bees eat the high-protein rich pollen and wipe it down their bodies to fill small sacks on their lower legs, ready to carry their plunder back to the hive.