Shadow Shot Sunday: Sunset Giraffes in the Masai Mara

How could I resist adding a giraffe photo or two today? My friends on Facebook are all having a go at a riddle, which if you get wrong, you have to change your FB profile to that of a giraffe to three days. Now I don’t see an issue with that, given giraffes are pretty handsome creatures!

© Pauleen Cass 2013

© Pauleen Cass 2013

So going along with the theme, here is today’s post: not my favourite photo of giraffes on our recent trip, but an appropriate end-of-day photo. These two guys were snapped as the sun set over the hills. They may look like they’re feeling rather amorous but in fact they’d been engaging in a protracted bout of necking. Unlike the 1960s human version, this is actually a way of ascertaining dominance of one male over another. Our guide said these fellows were not very old (teenagers maybe?) and were really practicing rather than taking it seriously.

© Pauleen Cass 2013

© Pauleen Cass 2013

In a serious bout, which this had looked to me, there’s a lot of bashing of necks going on. If the fight was severe enough it would be entirely possible to break the other guy’s neck.

So, an initially serene scene with a hidden tension.

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Shadow Shot Sunday

Shadow Shot Sunday Samburu and Kudu

Today is once again Shadow Shot Sunday and I thought I’d start the photos from my recent trip to Africa – Kenya, Uganda and Zanzibar in Tanzania.Shadow Shot Sunday

We were very fortunate to do a few of safaris while in Kenya, the first in the Masai Mara National Reserve, one to Lake Nakuru where we saw flamingos, and one at Samburu National Park further north. What was great was to be able to see different species of animals, and ones that differed between the parks. The scenery varied quite a lot so we were so pleased to have the time and opportunity to take more than one safari.

A male Greater Kudu in Samburu. © Pauleen Cass 2013

A male Greater Kudu in Samburu -the shadows dapple his striped coat. © Pauleen Cass 2013

We were impressed to note that our pilots on the flight to Oryx airstrip at Samburu National Park were both young Kenyan women. One of our guides, Anthony, was there waiting for us in the ubiquitous open-sided Landcruiser and we set forth on mini-safari en route to Elephant Bedroom Camp.

A female Greater Kudu with her pretty face, and striped coat snacks on the tree.  © Pauleen Cass 2013

A female Greater Kudu with her pretty face, and striped coat snacks on the tree. © Pauleen Cass 2013

Anthony was a Samburu man and I think that their multi-generational knowledge brings so much interest to each drive. His keen eyesight soon picked out a few Greater Kudu grazing among the shadows.  Initially we didn’t realise this was such an important sighting as we’d seen a wide variety of antelopes already. However it’s fairly unusual to see a Kudu as they are quite shy and generally stay in more mountainous areas.

They have beautiful markings and the males have quite impressive horns. The multiple twists of his horn suggest that he’s quite old but with his young ladies around he certainly wasn’t solitary as our animal book indicates.

In the midday heat they were enjoying snacking in the shade of the trees – can you blame them?

Breaking from the shadows the male shows  the "war paint" across his nose. © Pauleen Cass 2013

Breaking from the shadows the male shows the “war paint” across his nose. © Pauleen Cass 2013

Shadow Shot Sunday: Cycad and waterlilies

Another Open Garden, another tranquil spot.

Waterlily shadows_edited-1

Waterlilies and a magnificent cycad add drama to this scene.

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Shadow Shot Sunday: The ringer and the butcher bird

Australia really is a remarkable place with a wealth of amazing scenes, though I suppose the same could be said for most places. All that it requires is that we open our eyes to see the detail and beauty in what’s before us, wherever we are.

One of the stops on my road trip was Longreach which featured here in my A to Z posts.

It was nearly 20 years since we stopped to look at the Longreach Hall of Fame and as I had a friend with me this time, we prioritised a visit. Sadly we felt the venue needed updating to more multi-media interfaces but it’s still worth visiting to learn more about the outback, yet so much more could be made of it. We left towards the end of the day and I captured the shadows over the building and on the face of the ringer. It seems appropriate as if he’s heading back after a long day in the saddle.

Shadows lengthening Ringer Longreach_edited-1

Look closely and you’ll see that he seems to be carrying a butcher bird along as a pet. Pure chance that the bird landed just there as I was about to take the photo, and flew away straight afterwards. I like the contrast between his strength and the fragility of the bird.

The ringer and the butcher bird_edited-1

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Shadow Shot Sunday

Shadow Shot Sunday: Tropical Tranquility

Another photo from Jasmine Jan wonderful bush garden near her inspirational artist’s studio. Darwin people can take watercolour workshops and classes with Jasmine if they aspire to be artists themselves. I’m going to work up my courage and have a try myself next year.

Kayaks lillies and shadows_edited-1

Quiet paddling

Among paperbarks

And snowflake lillies

Natural tranquility

Shadow Shot Sunday

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Shadow Shot Sunday: Circularity in Red

This week’s shadow shot is from a lovely garden owned by a local artist, Jasmine Jan (check out her amazing paintings).

Seat circles varn_edited-1

I love the vivid red contrasting with the shadows and the sharp lines of the leaves.

red chair dreaming

Shadow Shot Sunday

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Shadow Shot Sunday: Yin and Yang

Another photo from last weekend’s Open Garden which was so full of magnificent shadows, and some interesting contradictions.

While yin and yang is not entirely appropriate for Buddhism, nevertheless it reveals light and shadow. Similarly it’s interesting the Balinese-influenced gardens here so often include a Buddha, yet Bali is predominantly Hindu. That oracle of all things, Wikipedia, says “Balinese culture is a mix of Balinese Hindu/Buddhist religion and Balinese custom”

Yin and yang

Light and Shadow

Buddhist and Hindu

Balinese tranquility

In Darwin gardens

Yin and Yang, Light and Shadow

Yin and Yang, Light and Shadow

Shadow Shot Sunday

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Shadow Shot Sunday: Tropical shadows

Yesterday we visited our final Open Garden of the year. The weather is turning and what we call the Dry (elsewhere it’s winter) is steadily running out of puff with the temperatures and humidity kicking in. However this weekend’s Mosaic Garden would be a perfect spot regardless of the weather with tropical shadows and shady nooks.

Open Garden, Mosaic House, Parap, Northern Territory

Open Garden, Mosaic House, Parap, Northern Territory

Tropical shadows

Glimpses of green

Cooling breezes

Draw me in.

Shadow Shot Sunday

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Shadow Shot Sunday: Trembling in the light

After a frenetic burst of activity through April with the A to Z challenge this poor blog has been languishing in the shadows itself. Time to bring it back into the light.

Trembling in the light

Brazen flowering plants

Compete with the sun

Tropical light trembles

Reveals the cooler shadows.

Shadow Shot Sunday

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Shadow Shot Sunday: Tropical Shadows

Tropical shadows

Refuge from the sun

Colours and flowers

Flowing water

Tropical tranquility

Tropical Shadows Nusa Dua, Bali 2005 ©Pauleen Cass

Tropical Shadows Nusa Dua, Bali 2005 ©Pauleen Cass

This post is part of Shadow Shot Sunday 2013.

Shadow Shot Sunday