Behind the image - Eye to Eye (with an african buffalo)

It was December 2013 and at the spur of the moment I decided to make a short trip to the Kruger National Park in South Africa. Believe it or not, but I have not visited the Kruger since 2007 (i.e. long before I started to take my photography seriously).

On the agenda and my wishlist was a proper buffalo image, as the lack of one in my portfolio was slowly starting to annoy me. As such I had a five night booking more to the northern portion of the park, with my mind set on them buffalos and maybe a good elephant image or two.

I was accompanied by a good friend, but our adventures will form part of a separate blog post in due course.

It did not take long before we started to see some rather big herds of buffalo, but the weather was all but ideal (photographically speaking) - Heavy rains preceded our visit and the sun was too shy for my liking...

I had this idea in my head of a monochrome portrait, so the weather and the soft light it presented were not bothering me at all. I just had to get close to those beautiful intimidating horns, but opportunities were few and far apart.

On day three or so we started getting some closer encounters and some portrait opportunities presented itself. I knew that for a proper portrait the background will be crucial, but lady luck was against me...

The image below was one of my better shots and you might have seen a monochrome conversion of it in the social media or on MY WEBSITE (click the link to have a look)

My day with a kalahari cheetah family

It was to be an exciting trip to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa! It was and still is our favourite South African national park and it had been a full year since our last visit...

We decided to spoil ourselves and booked three nights in a cabin in the Kieliekrankie Wilderness Camp - A real (and much more expensive) treat from the usual camping. We spent the first couple of nights camping at Tweerivieren Rest Camp, after which we drove along the dry Auob riverbed more to the center of the park, towards the middle of the red dunes where Kieliekrankie is situated.

Kieliekrankie Wilderness Camp
One of the benefits of Kieliekrankie is that it is much closer to the more "busy" waterholes and locations further into the park. We got up early the following morning of 30 May 2012 and was looking forward to a typical Kgalagadi day filled with the usual surprises and hopefully some great photographic moments. Although the camp is not fenced, we were only allowed to leave camp at the usual "gate hours", which was 07:00 for that time of the year.

The morning did however not start with the "bang" that we hoped for. We first drove south along the Auob riverbed, but after a while we turned around and headed north again. After more than 1 1/2 hours since we left camp, we had our first sighting of the family of four cheetahs on the ridge next to the road near Rooibrak waterhole. Little did I realize at the time that the brief sighting that lasted only a couple of minutes on that morning, was only a prelude to the following day, during which I would follow the family around for many hours.

08:34, 20 April 2012

A "Featured Photium Customer Website"

If you have not noticed it before, my website has been designed with the awesome user friendly tools of and hosted by the team of PHOTIUM.

I am honoured to have my main website listed as one of the "Featured Photium Customer Websites" on Photium's home page! You can have a look by clicking THIS LINK.

Photium has hosted my website since 27 June 2011 and I always received excellent quick service and feedback from Will and the other guys behind the scenes! The service combined with a great product and the excellent servers, make for a product that I can recommended to anyone without hesitation! No wonder many of my photographer friends have also chosen them as a gateway to take their work global!

Make sure you have a look at Photium's website if you haven't already!

And if, for some or other reason, you have no visited my main website before, have a look at LINRU PHOTOGRAPHY - REFLECTIONS OF SOUTHERN AFRICA.

Overall 4th place in the 2013 Getaway Gallery Awards

2013 has been a great year for me from a photography point of view - Not only did I have the opportunity to visit locations where I have never been before, but some of my work also did well in various photographic competitions.

I am honoured to have been awarded the overall 4th place in the 2013 Getaway Gallery Awards with my image "Hostile Takeover", which was taken in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. Another image of mine, "Rhino Mud Bath", was also one of the highly commended images in the same competition.

Now for 2014...

AWE by Greg du Toit, Wildlife Photogapher of the Year 2013 - Truly inspirational!

During October 2013 Greg du Toit, a fellow South African, was crowned as the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year. The competition is internationally recoqnized as "the Oscars" of wildlife photography and many seasoned professionals and amateur photographers can still just dream about that "one day"...

Many other South African photographers also walked away as winners in the various categories to make our country proud. They include Andrew Schoeman, Wim van den Heever, Isak Pretorius, Hannes Lochner and Peter Delaney.

Even before the award ceremony, Greg and his publisher was tying the last loose ends to get his first coffee table book, AWE (African Wildlife Exposed), printed and published. Little did Greg know that the publication of his book will coincide almost exactly with the announcement that he has won the most prestigious award for a wildlife photographer today!

iPhone image by Jono Buffey

I had the privilege of meeting Greg at the launch of his book last week. Greg gave a short presentation of his journey as wildlife photographer over the last decade or so and shared some of the stories behind his images. What an inspiration it was! Many of us, including myself as an amateur photographer, loose sight of what we want to achieve with our photography, especially as we do not "get out there" as as often as the professional guys - Well, needless to say... I AM MORE MOTIVATED THAN EVER BEFORE!

Unfortunately, the one thing that I also understood in context for the first time, is that a great wildlife image does not find its way to your memory card every day by pure coincidence or by a strike of good old fashioned luck, even if you have the most expensive top of the range equipment (which I do not have) - Greg spent 270  hours over a period of 16 months, submerged in a waterhole in Kenya's Great Rift Valley, to capture only a hand full of images! Yes, lucky shots do come at times, but the special ones are those that were created by patience, dedication and the desire to achieve more than just the norm.

Wildlife photography is about experiencing the majestic wonder of nature, to capture the moment of that experience, and to be able to share it with the world with the full knowledge that as photographers, we also have an obligation towards the conservation of our natural heritage!

The following quote has been written and published by Greg on his Facebook Page and he invited all to share it:-

     "The conservation value of a wildlife photograph might at first glance be subtle, but remember it is human nature to protect that which we love and appreciate. It is in our DNA, we do not need to be taught this. Every time a special wildlife photo is shared, an appreciation and love for wildlife increases. Eventually it will grow to a point where people will simply refuse to let these animals disappear..." - Greg du Toit 2013

You can purchase a copy of Greg's book AWE by visiting his website. Trust me, it is all worth it! Not only does it contain awesome images, but it is accompanied by journal entries about his experiences and as to where and how some of the images were taken.

Inspiration can sometimes come from the strangest of places at the strangest of times...!