Trip report from Maasai Mara, Kenya 2013

In February this year I once again was in Kenya. This was my 12th trip over the years to different countries in Africa, and this time the main goal was Maasai Mara and the Cheetah. And we were lucky to follow the cats during both stalking and hunts, giving us great possibilities for having nice shots.

To get the best photography results my best practice is going back to places I have been before and know well, and focus only on a few main goals. Apart from the Cheetah, and other bonus stuff that might come along (as the Serval cat) we were determined on silhouette photography. An important success factor in that discipline is knowing the best places for sunsets – and waiting for the right moment. Often you also follow animals as they walk slopes and hill sides, and having the best guide who can read the animals’ next movement and collaborate well with the photographer regarding optimal positioning of the vehicle, is essential. Also having the opportunity to – on your own risk – getting out of the Landrover and down on the ground is crucial for a wildlife photographer…

As a result of the silhouette photography a lot of the images from this trip is taken during the dusk of dawn and in the evenings. Especially the evenings, which offered longer time with good, soft light than the mornings, gave great possibilities also to work with black and white photography which has been one of my favourite subjects – all the way back to the glory days of Kodak Tri-X, D76 and the Durst M670 in my old darkroom…

Thanks a lot to my photo companion and youngest daughter Marte (14) for yet another great trip, and to my good friend and guide, Big John.

Below you will find a selection of edited images. A few more can be seen in Gallery/New Images. Please click on the images below to enlarge and see them in 1400px quality.

If you like please also leave your comments below.

#1 Sunset Cheetah. Maasai Mara, Kenya.
Nikon D4, Nikkor 600/4 VR, 1/1250 sec at f/5.6. -1.3 EV, ISO 140.

#2 Are you eatable? Close encounter on the ground with Cheetah. Maasai Mara, Kenya.
Nikon D4, Nikkor 600/4 VR, 1/500 sec at f/5.6. +2/3 EV, ISO 6400.

#3 Successful mother with her young ones soon to be feasting on a full grown Impala gazelle. Maasai Mara, Kenya.
Nikon D4, Nikkor 600/4 VR, 1/800 sec at f/9. +1/3 EV, ISO 1600.

#4 Hyena stealing the Cheetahs’ kill. Maasai Mara, Kenya.
Nikon D4, Nikkor 600/4 VR, 1/640 sec at f/5.6. +2/3 EV, ISO 800.

#5 Cheetah. Maasai Mara, Kenya.
Nikon D4, Nikkor 600/4 VR, 1/1600 sec at f/5.6. +2/3 EV, ISO 1800.

#6 Drinking Cheetahs. Maasai Mara, Kenya.
Nikon D4, Nikkor 600/4 VR, 1/640 sec at f/5.6. +1/3 EV, ISO 1000.

#7 Leopard cub. Maasai Mara, Kenya.
Nikon D4, Nikkor 600/4 VR, 1/640 sec at f/5.6. -2/3 EV, ISO 2500.

#8 Leopard cub. Maasai Mara, Kenya.
Nikon D4, Nikkor 600/4 VR, 1/400 sec at f/5.6. -1/3 EV, ISO 1800.

#9 Serval cat. Maasai Mara, Kenya.
Nikon D4, Nikkor 600/4 VR, 1/640 sec at f/5.6. +1/3 EV, ISO 1400.

#10 Serval cat with kill. Maasai Mara, Kenya.
Nikon D4, Nikkor 600/4 VR, 1/800 sec at f/5.6. +1/3 EV, ISO 1600.

#11 Serval cat portrait. Maasai Mara, Kenya.
Nikon D4, Nikkor 600/4 VR, 1/1600 sec at f/5. +2/3 EV, ISO 2500.

#12 Serval cat after sunset. Maasai Mara, Kenya.
Nikon D4, Nikkor 600/4 VR, 1/500 sec at f/5. -1.3 EV, ISO 5000.

#13 A fullgrown hippo having his morning nap in the pool and not to be disturbed… Maasai Mara, Kenya.
Nikon D4, Nikkor 600/4 VR, 1/320 sec at f/5.6. ISO 3200.

#14 Sunset Rhino. Maasai Mara, Kenya.
Nikon D4, Nikkor 600/4 VR, 1/1600 sec at f/5.6. ISO 1250.

#15 Topi gazelle at sunrise. Maasai Mara, Kenya.
Nikon D4, Nikkor 600/4 VR, 1/500 sec at f/5.6. ISO 220.

#16 A very focused Cheetah. Maasai Mara, Kenya.
Nikon D4, Nikkor 600/4 VR, 1/500 sec at f/5.6. +1.7 EV, ISO 6400.

#17 Hunting Serval cat in the evening. Maasai Mara, Kenya.
Nikon D4, Nikkor 600/4 VR, 1/1000 sec at f/5.6. -2/3 EV, ISO 3200.

#18 Zebra. Maasai Mara, Kenya.
Nikon D4, Nikkor 600/4 VR, 1/250 sec at f/4. -1/3 EV, ISO 2200.

13 replies
  1. Lexi says:

    This is the first time I’ve ever seen your photographs, and I actually was directed here because I have the CCF (Cheetah Conservation Fund) page liked on facebook, and they posted something about a photography exhibition in London. I saw your photo of the mother cheetah and her cub, titled “A Mother’s Love.” I absolutely love it. Cheetahs are my favorite animals, and my dream is to work with the CCF one day… These photographs are stunning as well. I’m amazed… There are no words to describe how beautiful your gallery is.

    Reply
  2. Jan Mørk says:

    hei Arnfinn! Strålende bilder som vanlig- jeg har samtidig fått med meg et nytt dyr jeg ikke kjente til – Servalen- kul type på råbra bilder!

    Reply
  3. Alf Jacob Nilsen says:

    Hei Arnfinn….
    Superbra bilder fra en av verdens beste nasjonalparker! Jeg likte særlig god bildene av servalen. Jeg har vært btre ganger i Serengeti/Mara og i Samburtu, men aldri sett servalkatten. Nå håper jeg på bedre lykke i år 🙂 Prøv Mara Bush Camp neste gang du er i Mara….

    Reply
  4. Hilde Ødeli says:

    Utrolig flotte bilder, Arnfinn!
    Imponerende og dyktig innsats! Kan ikke skjønne annet enn at noen risikoelementer utenfor Landroveren er med.
    Veldig moro å se og jammen pirrer de ikke reiselysten til Kenya!

    Reply
  5. Hilde Ødeli says:

    Utrolig flotte bilder, Arnfinn!
    Imponerende og dyktig innsats! Kan ikke skjønne annet enn at noen risikoelementer utenfor Landroveren er med.
    Veldig moro å se og jammen pirrer de ikke reiselysten til Kenya!

    Reply
  6. yann says:

    Great pictures Arnfinn, as usual. I particularly love the Serval and the Zebra on the last one, beautiful sky and light.

    Reply

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