Birthday in the Bush!

Today I have celebrated my fiftieth birthday with a morning drive in the reserve (I am still learning the roads :-).

On the drive I ran into this Elephant bull at a small waterhole. He just had finished a “muddy”-bath and was resting from his labors. Looking at his size he could be my age, another gentleman in his best years!

On the same drive I took the picture of an African Hoopoe (picture below).

In the early afternoon I had an excellent massage at Thanda’s beautiful spa and then a relaxing break at one of the guest rooms (called villas, a much better name for those luxurious rooms), where I will also spend my birthday night. I am sitting in the lounge now writing this blog message. Dinner is soon to be served, and I am looking forward to it. The picture below shows the small pool and the the “day-bed in the trees” of my villa.

A quiet birthday in the African Bush with many good wishes from all over the world, a great way to turn fifty!

Thanks for all the birthday calls and messages!

 

 

Bad Luck – Good Luck

Today started with a bit of bad luck. Just driving at Base Camp I heard a hissing sound and realized that my back left tire was loosing air (fast!). So I had to do my first tire change – no problem :-).

A short while after I left the camp I realized that my right back tire was also slowly loosing air. No more spare tire, so I had to live the situation and I have to get the tires fixed tomorrow at the reserve’s workshop.

With my tire situation as it was I could not drive around a lot, and risking getting stuck somewhere on the reserve, so I spent most of my remaining game drive time next to the largest waterhole.

And here I got lucky. First a Buffalo mum and her calf came to drink (Picture below). It is very unusual to see a cow separated from the herd. The little one was quite young.

And shortly after they left a large Elephant bull made his appearance (Picture above). He chased all the drinking Giraffes away from the waterhole and had a good drink himself before he walked quietly away across the savanna.

So, after initial troubles, not a bad morning!

Picture of the Week 14 – The tree that shines from afar

[View all Pictures of the Week 2012]

This African Elephant is browsing in between Fever Trees on Phinda Private Game Reserve, South Africa.

In the Zulu language the Fever Tree is called umHlosinga (the tree that shines from afar). This beautiful acacia has a pale white bark and green foliage. It is one of the few trees where photosynthesis takes place in the bark. The yellow color on the Elephant’s skin is from rubbing against one of the trees.

Enjoy the picture!

The Tree That Shines From Afar ( Fever Tree – Acacia xanthophloea)

The Nashville Zoo Elephants Videos – 3 – Tasks, Talks and Beauty

This third video and last in the Nashville Zoo Elephants video series includes video clips about enrichment for the Elephants and the work the keepers do with them. It ends with a slide show of my best Nashville Zoo Elephant pictures.

There are three videos in this series:
– Video 1 – Introduction
– Video 2 – Care, Sounds and Details
– Video 3 – Tasks, Talks and Beauty

Enjoy the video!

The Nashville Zoo Elephants Videos – 2 – Care, Sounds and Details

This second video in the  Nashville Zoo Elephants video series includes many pictures and video clips about Elephant care, a few interesting sounds and fascinating pictures of some details of Elephants (as the one of the molar above) .

There are three videos in this series:
– Video 1 – Introduction
– Video 2 – Care, Sounds and Details
– Video 3 – Tasks, Talks and Beauty

Enjoy the video!

The Nashville Zoo Elephants Videos – 1 – Introduction

 

In the last few weeks I have spent a lot of the time with the Nashville Zoo Elephants and their keepers.

This first of three videos about these amazing creatures is an introduction to the Nashville Zoo Elephants and the Elephant facilities at the zoo.

There are three videos in this series:
– Video 1 – Introduction
– Video 2 – Care, Sounds and Details
– Video 3 – Tasks, Talks and Beauty

Enjoy the video!

Wading

This is one of my favorite “scenic” shot.

This African Elephant was wading along the water towards a large lala palm at Imagine dam at Phinda Private Game Reserve, South Africa.

Picture Data: Camera: Canon EOS D30 / Lens: Canon L IS 100-400mm at 150mm/ Mode: AV / Shutter Speed: 1/750s / Aperture: f/5.6 / ISO: 200 / Exposure Correction -0.5eV / Metering: Central weighted / White balance: Auto / Center point focus only / Time: mid afternoon / cropped to approx 80% / Freehand from vehicle

I case you are in Nashville today it would great if you could come to my gallery tonight to learn more about Elephants 🙂
Click here for more information: https://christiansperka.wordpress.com/2012/02/29/video-invitation-intelligent-giants-the-nashville-zoo-elephants/

Intelligent Giants, The Answers and The Winner


I admit it was a bit misleading. All the detail pictures in the last “Animal Species Identification Contest” were from the same species: African Elephants.

The first person to send in the correct answer to the question in the contest was Bob Ellis, Smyrna, Tennessee.  Congratulations!

To be more precise, all pictures were of the Elephants at Nashville Zoo at Grassmere.

During the next Nashville First Saturday Gallery Crawl there will be a special event at the Christian Sperka Photography Gallery.

In cooperation with the Nashville Zoo I will be showing many interesting  images and video clips of the Nashville Zoo Elephants.  There will be three presentations by Connie Philipp, Director of Animal Collections (at 6:30pm / 7:30pm and 8:30pm).

Learn more about these INTELLIGENT GIANTS – The Nashville Zoo Elephants

It would be great to see you at my Gallery in the Arcade (Downtown Nashville) on Saturday, March 3, 2012 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm.

Getting Close!

Today I got a very good question from one of my blog readers about the “closeness” to animals on game drives (see comment and answer on the post MORNING MIST).

Here are two pictures of a case when the animal chose to come so close to our vehicle, that we made the decision to get out of the way :-). The second picture is taken from a considerable distance. The Elephant Bull past us quietly!

In the first picture you can see the dashboard of the car and the Elephant. It was pretty close.

Picture 1: Camera: Canon 1D Mark IV / Lens: Canon L 17-40mm at 28mm / Mode: AV / Shutter Speed: 1/320s / Aperture: f/4 / ISO: 400 / Exposure Correction +/-0.00eV / Metering: Central weighted / White balance: Auto / Time: winter morning / Freehand from vehicle

Picture 2: Camera: Canon 1D Mark IV / Lens: Canon L 17-40mm at 40mm / Mode: AV / Shutter Speed: 1/320s / Aperture: f/4 / ISO: 400 / Exposure Correction +1.00eV / Metering: Central weighted / White balance: Auto / Time: winter morning / Freehand from vehicle