READER PHO­TOS

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A jackal drink­ing from a pud­dle, a hawk-ea­gle on the hunt and a crab play­ing peek-a-boo – Did your photo make the cut this month?

@karien.rouxkruger Nikon D7200 Sigma 150 – 500 mm lens

KARIEN WRITES: My hus­band of­ten vis­ited the Kgala­gadi Trans­fron­tier Park in his younger days, but I had never been. We live in Pre­to­ria and for three years we tried to get a book­ing in the park, but to no avail. It was al­ways chock-a-block. Fi­nally we man­aged to get a book­ing for six nights and we set off. I had ex­pected to see an arid desert land­scape, but it rained for half the time we were there. On the fourth night we stayed at Gharagab wilder­ness camp in the north of the park. It rained right through the night, but cleared up by the time we de­parted camp the next morn­ing. The road was flooded and at times it felt like we needed a boat! On the 112 km jour­ney be­tween Gharagab and Nos­sob, we drove through 113 pools of wa­ter. Yes, I was count­ing! We saw this jackal in the veld about half­way to Nos­sob. My hus­band parked our ve­hi­cle at an an­gle to give me a bet­ter view. The jackal stopped short of the pud­dle, but when it re­alised that we were harm­less, it went over for a drink, al­ways watch­ing out of the cor­ner of its eye.

TOAST SAYS: It’s a priv­i­lege to see an arid park dur­ing a pe­riod of rain. The land­scape trans­forms be­fore your eyes and you get the op­por­tu­nity to take un­usual pho­tos. The weather also af­fects an­i­mal be­hav­iour – you’ll see wildlife do­ing things they’d never do at other times of the year, like drink wa­ter from a pud­dle in the road! Karien used a long zoom lens; that’s why the fore­ground and back­ground are out of fo­cus. This tech­nique works well for wildlife photography be­cause you want your main sub­ject to stand out. But just be­cause cer­tain parts of the im­age aren’t sharp doesn’t mean they’re not im­por­tant. The fore­ground – the re­flec­tion of the jackal – is cru­cial in this case. Karien’s photo would still have been good with­out the re­flec­tion, but it would have lacked the wow fac­tor. (If you de­cide to in­clude a re­flec­tion, make sure it’s clearly vis­i­ble. She also got her­self into the right po­si­tion for the shot.) Karien wins a Steven­sonHamil­ton hat for best pic­ture.

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