Gearing up for a new trip

To keep up with the tradition, we decided to go on a long trip abroad again this year! This time, we’re heading down the globe nearly vertically to find ourselves in the southern part of Africa once more.

We generally need a lot of millimetres when we’re over there, and this time we’reΒ  tied to weight limits a little more than usual. That’s where this apparatus comes in handy: it’ll sacrifice some light to gain twice the focal length. The trusty 70-200 f2.8 will double to a 140-400 f5.6, which will suffice in replacing the humongous 150-500 f5.6-f6.3 weighing in at around 2kgs. At 330 grams, that’s a nice trade-off. πŸ™‚

Initial testing is nothing less than satisfactory, with the occasional excellent, making me confident that we won’t regret this decision.
I know for sure the destination will not let us down!

Learning the hard way

Going on long holidays to exotic destinations, and taking lots of pictures is nice and all, but the real burdon of it comes long after flying back home.
It is the near endless sifting through the photo’s and determining which ones are to be shown to the loved ones that gets me.

Right now, we have embarked on the journey of categorizing and sorting out well over 400GB of data from our trip to NZ. All in all, the task is monumental.
We thought we tackled large volumes of pictures before, but this year tops the chart.
Our trip to South Africa beat the per week record, but the overall crown goes to New Zealand. Ouch.

This year, yet another trip to a very photogenic location is planned and I really hope we ‘finish’ NZ before it, otherwise the new mountain of data will just create a bigger backlog.

In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek at what we created!

California Quail
California Quail

 

A week at the Kruger

This years trip to South Africa was going to be different from last year, we already knew that before we even went.
For starters: we were not going to be in SA for long. In 2012 the trip lasted for slightly over 3 weeks, where this time around there only was time for 2 weeks.
Also, the itinerary was different, instead of touring the country we are solely going to be in the Kruger National Park for a period of 11 days!

Whenever we fly, we try to book direct flights. Layovers are horrible things and there is always the chance of your bags missing the flight, leaving you stranded at your destination with only the things and clothes you carry. Not good!
Unfortunately we chose to not fly directly this year, but through London Heathrow.
And sure enough, our first flight from Amsterdam to London was delayed which meant we had to run through the airport to get to our flight. And, by now you’ve probably guessed it, the bags did not make it on.
Arriving at Johannesburg we got picked out by the baggage people informing us that our bags were not there and they’d be on the next flight the following day.
Crap.

Luckily we packed smart and carried a trolley containing the necessities as hand luggage so we were golden, and only short some toothpaste. That was definitely well thought out and a good piece of advice for anyone travelling with a short layover.

The bags arrived at our location on the second day in SA and everything was fine. So with all the luggage in place and all with us reunited with all our belongings, the world was a happy place once again!

We did not have to spend all 7 nights in the same location as the Kruger NP is a very big place. It’s 60km by 350km and has three diverse parts. We were to stay in the lower and middle parts with plans to travel to the upper part.
Over the next few days we stayed at Pretoriuskop (2 nights), Skukuza (1 night), Satara (1 night) and Letaba Rest Camp (2 nights). Not all Rest Camps are as good as the others, but over all they are fine and provide excellent spots to start your very own self-drive safaris into the park.
I can particularly recommend Skukuza Rest Camp as it is in an area with lots of wildlife including the highest concentration of big cats in the Kruger. If you want to see Lions, Cheetahs and Leopards, go there as that will give you the highest chance of seeing one.

As the park is a nature reserve and not a zoo, we did not get sightings of a Leopard, nor did we get close sightings of the Lion or Cheetah. But it just is the way it is, nothing is guaranteed and everything is possible.

The next few days will be really exciting as we are off to leave the Kruger and go to the adjacent Private Game Reserves. The usually have no fences between them and the Kruger and offer 2 daily safari drives where you just have to sit down in the car and enjoy the things you get to see, not to mention the fact we’ll be catered throughout the day and spoiled to bits.

BTW: maybe they have WiFi as well!

Continue reading “A week at the Kruger”

Adding to the family

It has not been a long time since I last spent a good amount of money on my cameragear, and yet that time has come again: I bought a new toy!

Not a FF-body, or a new body of any kind but some real glass.
Due to pure chance I ran into an amazing reduction on a lens favorite amongst the professionals: the AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II. That is quite a mouthful for this beasty.

AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II

Needless to say, I’m chuffed to bits about this purchase. The lens performs absolutely amazing and simply outperforms all other lenses we own in all ways fathomable. That is despite the fact the lens is *really* expensive. πŸ˜‰