Three Lines, Three Photographs, Three Days: Band of the Banded

For today – the last day of the challenge – I was planning on a portrait I had taken during the summer. When I skimmed some old photographs, however, I came across this one, and found it fitted the theme better than the other two, at least. 😛

Banded mongooses, the creatively named Mungos mungo, are the most commonly found mongoose on the Masai Mara. Their groups average around 20 but can be up to 70 in number. In the photograph below, it was evening, and after a long day’s foraging, this band of three (pun intended) were returning to their den. For more information on banded mongooses, I highly recommend checking out bandedmongoose.org, an ongoing research project by the University of Exeter on their fascinating behavioral tendencies and social quirks.

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I would like to note that for this challenge, black and white was not mandatory: it merely happened so that all my photographs turned out that way!

Three Lines, Three Photographs, Three Days: Necks

Today is a fairly loose interpretation of the challenge. (Then again, so was yesterday’s.) In my defense, it’s exam week; I don’t have the time to go out and take new photographs, so I’m stuck with my archives. For this one I went all the way back to Kenya – not geographically, of course, though that would have been lovely. 😛

This was the biggest journey, i.e. group, of giraffes we saw the whole trip. While most usually contain about five or six animals, this one had almost twenty. A mixture of juveniles, young uns, and adults, they barely shifted position and we had numerous opportunities to observe going to and fro from our camp. Unlike most wildlife photographs I took during the trip, this was made with a wide-angle lens.

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Three Lines, Three Photographs, Three Days: Silhouettes

After the black-and-white challenge a few days ago, I was nominated by Priya on Facebook for another, less well-known one: the line challenge. As the title of this post so aptly describes, it covers three days, on each of which you post one photograph containing at least three lines. It seems like something of an esoteric challenge, especially in wildlife photography, but once I started looking I realized lines are everywhere.

I took this image at Sungei Buloh a couple weeks back. It’s a flock of whimbrels (Numenius phaeopus), a migratory shorebird species now being found in full force on most of Singapore’s shorelines, in flight. While processing it, I decided to go a little ‘artsy’ with it. Most photographers strive to avoid grain at all costs; I actually added it to this photograph to give a sort of old-timey film feel to it. How well it turned out I’m not so sure – tell me in the comments!

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The Lilac Saga, Part 1 (Also, Caption Contest!)

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I came to Africa with one bird, and one bird in mind only: the Lilac-breasted Roller.

Not for I were the innumerable Kenyan endemics, nor the plethora of endangered species in the area. Experience of birding failures had taught me to aim low and land high. I would be best, I decided, with an achievable goal that would make me happy, rather than a too-ambitious one that would leave me disappointed and unable to appreciate the rest. (I modified this strategy for my Kullu trip with three birds I ranked from achievable, definitely not achievable, and never in my wildest dreams. Needless to say, only the former got fulfilled.)

So the fact I’d seen this bird three times before we even stepped foot on the Mara went a long way towards my general enjoyment of our trip. This sighting in particular was of a juvenile, who surprised us by landing right next to our jeep. This prompted, of course, a storm of photographs of the fluffed-up thing from yours truly. But I still wasn’t satisfied. The colors of the juvenile – while spectacular by most birds’ standards – are only lackluster for this variegated avian. Without the long tail feathers of their older counterparts, they aren’t as appealing as the multi-hued sight we saw just disappearing from telephone wires and the tops of trees countless times.

Did I photograph the adult? Did I almost photograph it? Was it another disappointment? Find out in ‘The Lilac Saga, Part 2’, coming soon to a blog near you.

(Hey, that rhymes!)

Whether or not you’re interested in hearing about the adult roller, have you got a caption for the above photograph? What do you think it’d say if it could speak? Comment and tell me!

Cheetah – Black and White Challenge Day 4

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Another dig through the archives produced this image. While this wasn’t the only cheetah we saw on the Mara, it was by far the best spotting we had of one, and definitely the most unexpected. We were moving from one campsite to another when we noticed a group of vehicles and headed in their direction. The cheetah’s demeanour was as different from that of the complacent, indifferent lions as could be. Even though it was taking an afternoon siesta, its eyes were never closed and its body always alert: this graceful animal was ready to run.

Webbed – Black and White Challenge Day 3

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This was a stunning spider that had camped out just outside the guesthouse we were staying at in Kullu; when looking for photographs for this challenge I decided to try converting my images of it. I’m not entirely happy with the result, mostly because the soft patterns on its body detract from the sharp crispness of the webs I was aiming for. I might post this in color later if I feel so inclined.

Eclipse – Black and White Challenge Day 2

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Day two of the black and white challenge is here, and with it, a romp through the photo archives.

I missed the famed lunar eclipse by simple virtue of forgetting about it but caught a brilliantly red moon the next day. However, my lens proved too short to capture it properly (as expected). Rather than a boring shot of the (almost) full moon, I decided to try for an ‘eclipse’ of my own with a bit of bokeh. The flowers of the plumeria tree proved willing subjects and after finally figuring out how to manipulate my tripod to point upwards rather than forwards, I got this.