Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Finally, I got to see the Cheetahs!

I arrived at Rietvlei Nature Reserve just after 06:00 on 16 December 2017, and it started like most of these visits do…, seeing zebra.

The Three Stooges, uhm, zebras!
Three zebras moseying along!

I have been visiting Rietvlei Nature Reserve for many years, and several years ago, Cheetahs were reintroduced to the reserve. Since then I have been hoping that I would be able to spot them. I only once got to see them, and it was very fleeting. I am on the Rietvlei Photographers WhatsApp group, and I started receiving many messages that the cats had been spotted. I made my way over and eventually got to see them. Since that time I had been hoping that I would get to find the cats by myself. That opportunity finally presented itself.

Cheetah mom and cubs

Cheetah mom and cubs (about 80m away)
Latitude: 25° 52.983'S, Longitude: 28° 17.646'E

I was on my way to the Otter Bridge (Latitude: 25° 52.888'S, Longitude: 28° 17.722'E) when I looked to my left, and on this mound I could see what I thought was a log. But, as I moved the log kept on changing shape, which is quite logical, since I kept changing the angle at which I saw this log. But then, the log seemed to look suspiciously like it had what to my poor eyesight, looked like cheetah ears. I stopped my car and took my Sony camera with a 150-500mm Sigma lens on it to see what I was looking at, and there it was; not just one cheetah, but FOUR! I moved my car around so that the driver’s window faced them, and settled in for the long haul. I stayed in that position for two and a half hours, until they all moved to the other side of the mound and I could no longer see them. I didn’t want to stay there in case they left on the other side while I waited this side for nothing. So, I decided to move on and then return this way a little later.

On my meanderings I came across dandelions—not a code word for fancy lions—and black wildebeest.


Black Wildebeest
Black Wildebeest

On my return to the Otter Bridge, approaching from the opposite end, the cheetahs were about to cross the bridge. I stopped in one of the parking spots with a good angle to see the cheetahs, and they certainly did not disappoint. They passed within feet of my car. What an amazing experience!

Cheetah mom and cubs
Mom and cubs about to cross the Otter Bridge!

Cheetah cub
One of the cubs!

Cheetah mom and cubs
Mom and two of her cubs!

After getting this rare opportunity to be so close to them and to photograph them I decided that it was time to go home. My day had just become an amazing day!

To see more of my photographs, please visit my Flickr account!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Not doing that much photography right now

About 9 or 10 weeks ago I woke up one day with severe pain in my right wrist. I thought that it was a temporary thing and didn’t bother with it doctorwhomuch. The pain became worse as time went by, and finally my wife made an appointment for me at our GP for 14 December 2016.

I visited the doctor—no, not the one/s on the right—and after he finished checking me out he said that I had acute tendinitis due to my work as a software developer which I’ve been since 1991. He gave me 2 injections into my wrist and told me that the pain should be gone in about 2 weeks. However, the pain never went away.

The pain became so severe that I found it difficult to turn a key in the door, or turn a door handle. The simplest every day activities caused pain in the wrist, and the most difficult for me to handle was the fact that it became unbearable to do my photography. I could take one or two photographs and then it would become necessary for me to nurse my wrist. The end result was that during the December holidays I only went out twice to take photographs compared to 6 times in December 2015.

So, on 6 January 2017 I saw the doctor again, and having learnt about the continuing pain, he referred me to a specialist doctor for sonars to be done on my wrist and hand. Before we entered the doctor’s offices I told my wife that I didn’t think that anything would be found and that it was probably just pains from getting older. The sonar was completed and the result is that I have arthritis in 3 fingers and in the wrist, plus I have the beginning stages of carpal tunnel syndrome and an internal ganglion cyst in my wrist, nd finally that I have fluid buildup in my fingers where there should be none.

I dropped off the detailed report at my doctor’s offices, and later that day he called me to tell me that he is referring me to an orthopedic surgeon and that his receptionist will call me with the appointment details. So, now I am waiting for that to see what happens next.

I know I haven’t been posting here much, but I have thought about posting, though. It’s the thought that counts, right? Here are a few photographs from a while back!

Playing with fire!
A little steel wool experimentation! – 12 Oct 2015

Playing with fire!
Some more! – 12 Oct 2015

Nature in Rietvlei Nature Reserve
There’s mushroom for all of us! at Rietvlei Nature Reserve - 1 Nov 2015

Nature in Rietvlei Nature Reserve
White-fronted bee-eater at Rietvlei Nature Reserve - 1 Nov 2015

Nature in Rietvlei Nature Reserve
The lonely road at Rietvlei Nature Reserve – 1 Nov 2015

You can get more of my photographs at Instagram, Twitter, 500px and Facebook!