Brad Templeton's Panoramic Photography
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Africa

Africa

These shots come from a trip to Botswana, with some shots from Johannesburg on the way in and Victoria Falls/Zimbabwe on the way out.

Key places visited were Savuti Marsh, the Khwai river and Kwara camp on the Okavango Delta, and Chobe. There are also More shots of Africa. See below for details on this trip.


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We went north to Harvey's Pan in Savuti and as we appraoched, spotted a breeding group of around 20 elephant approaching it. We got there in time to observe them watering.


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A sunset in the Okavango Delta near Khwai. Here, social spiders have formed group webs in the marsh and the sun sets behind them. You will find other shots of this amazing scene in Part 2


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On a beach in Chobe National Park, elephants gather (about 50 of them in total) by the water in the late afternoon.


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The dry season still has rain, and we got it on our first day.


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A mating pair of lion. The male has been following the female around but she has not yet accepted him, so he keeps his distance for now.


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African sunsets somehow remind you that humans came from this continent.


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On a boat cruise of the Chobe river, we stopped by a pod of about 20 hippos. And then our boat engine died. The guide had no paddles, no radio, no backup. Just a pole that could not get us to shore. I did pole us to some reeds so we did not drift into the hippos. Hippos kill more people in Africa than any other animal. Eventually we realized that we had our cell phones, so for $5/minute we called the hotel to arrange a rescue, which was late so we had an hour of fright. And good pictures.


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Victoria Falls, assembled from many helicopter pictures. The helicopter still moves pretty fast, so joining such images is far from easy but this was the best result. More shots of Vic Falls in Part 2


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Kwara camp during the day. Those are the Mokoro canoes which all tourists seem to do, but we could not get enough of game drives.


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Dawn at Kwara camp.


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Sunset in Johannesburg by the Mandela bridge.


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In the Savuti marsh a long, long line of Wildebeest (Gnu) move through the marsh plain. You will also see elephant, zebra, giraffe and many other animals.


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A family of elephants by the Khwai river. Only the two in foreground are in focus though.


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Dawn on the Khwai river. The water is higher than it has been in recent memory. Because of that some of the jeep trails along the river have become channels of their own.


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A lake in the Kwara delta, including some hippos. One of them chased or boat a bit. Handheld from the roof of a boat -- a real pano challenge.


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It's winter, and dew has collected on the grasses at Kwara.


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The southern sky with the dust lanes in the Milky Way


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Zebra gather by a waterhole.


See also More shots of Africa

I went to South Africa in 1995 to keynote their first internet conference. I was not much into photography then, but the experience made me vow to return, even though usually I rarely repeat trips because some new location is calling me. When I was in Kruger park in South Africa, the locals told me "when we want a real Safari, we go to Botswana." And so I wanted to go.

Many years later, at the DLD conference Lufthansa put out a call for ideas to help improve aviation. They liked my proposals and gave me an employee class ticket good anywhere they flew. The best way to make use of such a ticket is South Africa, because it's so far away but they fly daily nonstops from Frankfurt. We planned a Safari in 2009, but we had not realized the restrictions of an employee class ticket -- you can only reserve a seat if the computer system predicts the plane will not sell out. We had to cancel that Safari for lack of seats but made it happen in 2011. (As a result we got to try out the new A380 that flies the route which was something else new.)

Botswana is expensive because the government tries to keep the tourist population down and the camps pay huge fees. For the first part of our trip we hired a personal photographic guide who drove us around the Savuti area and the Khwai area of the Okavango Delta while a crew built camps for us. Then we went to a more traditional lodge in Kwara and finished off Botswana with a night in Chobe.

This in turn was followed with a visit to Victoria Falls, as is often done after a Chobe trip as it's about a 2 hour drive.

Normally I shoot landscapes. These were my first experiments with wildlife panoramas. Wildlife panoramas are hard. First, the wildlife don't obey you or stand in the perfect light -- with a landscape you can at least wait for the light to be just right. And you use longer lenses to get wildlife, but long lenses mean shallow depth of field, which is tricky in doing a panorama. As such many of my wildlife panoramas failed, but such is the way of photography.

I also shot a ton of regular photos which will be up here soon.