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Trip around the Kalahari
Posted By: tcom, 04-14-2010, 12:10 AM

Hi

I am back from a wonderful 3 weeks trip around the Kalahari desert.

The tour started in Windhoek and headed south for the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Parc (KTP). Then, we left that parc for a few days in the Kaa Concession area and ended with the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR), including mostly the Deception Valley.

The first week was very hot and dry (making it really dusty), the other two weeks showed us that the rainy season was not over. A rain or thunderstorm at midday or in the evening was likely. This washed away the dust, but humidity raised, up to the level of having quite dense mist on early mornings.

I finally decided to take the following equipment:
  • 2 K-7
  • DA12-24/4
  • DFA100/2.8 WR
  • DA*200/2.8
  • DA*60-250/4
  • TC 1.7x
  • Solarpanel with powermodule and Ansmann Vario Pro charger to charge the K-7 batteries when away from power supply.
  • Netbook

What worked well
  • The weather sealing of both K-7 and the weather sealed lens worked perfectly. Even in such conditions, I never had any dust on the sensor[
  • With the help of the 26W solar panel, a power module and the ansmann vario pro, I could charge all my batteries (K-7, AA batteries for GPS and the battery of the netbook). I even charged the batteries of other people in the group.
  • All lens delivered great IQ.
  • Quite frequent use of high FPS was really helpful to follow actions such as playing lions
  • Sorting the RAW photos on the netbook in the evening was not quite fast, but still very usable. I do now have to sort "just" out of 800 shots, while I did really take over 2500 shots.

What did not work as expected
  • DA12-24 does not zoom so smoothly anymore, so weather sealing seem to make the difference
  • Because of the dust and rain, the DA*16-50 would have been the better choice than the DA12-24.
  • As it is not allowed to leave the car while in the national parcs, composing nice wide angle landscapes with the DA12-24 is not as easy.
  • Normally, on such a safari, I took both DA*200 and DA*300. This time, I took the DA*60-250 and DA*200 instead. I was quite surprised that the DA*60-250 was not what I expected. When taking a wild animal with a prime lens, if you are too close for the used focal length, you take a detailed shot or portrait shot, if you are too distance for the used focal length, you try to show not only the animal but also the surroundings. When using the 60-250, you always hesitated in taking a detailed shot or a shot showing the animal in its surroundings.
  • The 1.7x TC on the DA*60-250 takes too much light on early morning and late afternoon shots.
  • On many occasions, I missed a longer lens. I do really wish a prime lens in the 500mm region. Hopefully Pentax will soon bring a lens going beyond 300mm, or I might well take the Sigma 500/4.5.


Last edited by tcom; 04-27-2010 at 09:41 AM.
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05-06-2010, 11:24 AM   #166
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A lot of tiny waterdrops are now on leaves, spiders' web and of course on the clothes. I start to feel soaking wet.

184
DA*60-250, 1/1600s f/4.5 at 128.0mm iso200


185
DA*200, 1/250s f/4.5 at 200.0mm iso100


05-06-2010, 11:27 AM   #167
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On the side of the trail, there is a small herd of Kudus. Unfortunately, the driver, sitting lower than we, saw them too late, and they are almost all hide in the bush until the car comes to a stop.

186
DA*60-250, 1/320s f/4.5 at 250.0mm iso100


187
DA*60-250, 1/400s f/4.5 at 250.0mm iso100
05-06-2010, 11:33 AM   #168
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The sun comes slowly through the fog, it warms up immediately.

There are also a lot of birds around this morning. Most enter the category of LBBs (little brown birds).

These must be some kind of Larks:

188
DA*60-250, 1/400s f/4.5 at 250.0mm iso100


189
DA*60-250, 1/250s f/4.5 at 250.0mm iso100


190 Helmeted Guineafowl
DA*60-250, 1/400s f/6.3 at 170.0mm iso100
05-06-2010, 11:35 AM   #169
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We do also make a stop for flower shots.

Probably a kind of Ipomoea
191
DFA100WR, 1/250s f/9.0 at 100.0mm iso100


And a wild growing hibiscus:
192
DFA100WR, 1/1000s f/4.5 at 100.0mm iso100


05-06-2010, 11:38 AM   #170
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After these flower shots, we return to the lodge were we are taking a nice lunch. Then we leave the lodge and drive to Maun where we arrive in the afternoon. This is our last night in Africa on this trip.

Before dinner, we see a large-spotted genet (which is feed by the lodge).

193
05-06-2010, 11:47 AM   #171
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11th April: Maun - Europe

The last day arrived. We do enjoy the lodge as long as we can in the morning, but finally have to leave at 11 o'clock.

While leaving the lodge, we see our first zebras on this tour:

194
DA*60-250, 1/250s f/5.6 at 250.0mm iso200


We take a walk along the river

195 Maun
DA*60-250, 1/250s f/8.0 at 60.0mm iso100


After this walk, we take a small lunch in Maun and go to the airport to fly home over Windhoek. On the 12th April in early morning, we land in Frankfurt, just a few days before the ash of the icelandic volcano reaches Europe.

It has been a great tour and I do hope these photos do show at least a bit of it.

These photos can all be seen under pbase and a less narrow selection under flickr. Comments are welcome, either here or in my galleries on pbase or flickr.
05-07-2010, 01:27 AM   #172
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I realise I comment every time you post more shots, but thanks again for sharing these with us!
05-07-2010, 01:36 AM   #173
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This was a wonderful series! Thanks for posting!!!

05-07-2010, 12:41 PM   #174
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Thank you both for the comments and especially rparmar for commenting throughout the thread, much appreciated.
05-07-2010, 04:01 PM   #175
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Some absolutely great shots; thanks for sharing the trip of a lifetime with us (still going over the many photos you posted).

That 60-250 is sure a nice lens
05-13-2010, 11:29 AM   #176
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Thanks for all the comments.

In case someone is interested, here is a map of the whole tour, the yellow marking being the tour.

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