Kenya: Lake Nakuru National Park

From Wikipedia…

Lake Nakuru is one of the Rift Valley soda lakes at an elevation of 1754 m above sea level. It lies to the south of Nakuru, in the rift valley of Kenya and is protected by Lake Nakuru National Park.

The lake’s abundance of algae attracts the vast quantity of flamingos that famously line the shore. Other birds also flourish in the area, as do warthogsbaboons and other large mammalsBlack and white rhinos have also been introduced.

*Note: Due to the heavy rainfall this year, the fresh water content in Lake Nakuru has prevented the algae from growing and the flamingos have gone elsewhere.  But, that didn’t stop us from having a wonderful time with many great subjects to photograph.

We began our morning working with birds.  A Secretary bird perched in to top of an Acacia tree with blooms posed nicely…

Nikon D4, AF-S 500mm f4 VR with TC-14E II

 

We worked the White Pelicans and Yellow-billed Storks in flight in the morning light…

Nikon D4, AF-S 500mm f4 VR with TC-14E II

 

We were rewarded with a sighting of a lioness hiding in the grass watching for a suitable meal.  It’s amazing how easily they can disappear in the grasses while they stalk their prey…

Nikon D4, AF-S 500mm f4 VR with TC-20E III

 

I just couldn’t resist more Olive Baboon photos since they were posing so nicely for us…

Nikon D4, AF-S 500mm f4 VR with TC-20E III

 

The youngsters are so much like kids.  They love to explore, and play in the trees…

Nikon D4, AF-S 70-200mm 2.8 VR II with TC-20E III

 

As we rounded one corner we found an entire troop of baboons making their way along the road…

Nikon D4, AF-S 70-200mm 2.8 VR II with TC-20E III

 

Black-winged Stilt kept teasing me as they flew past until one finally came to within a good range to make a few images…

Nikon D4, AF-S 500mm f4 VR with TC-14E II

 

A rare treat was the Malachite Kingfisher that was perched on a log hunting.  It was so engrossed in looking for prey that it didn’t pay any attention to our approach…

Nikon D4, AF-S 500mm f4 VR with TC-20E III

 

But, the true highlight for us at Lake Nakuru was the ability to work with the Rhinos.  Unfortunately we didn’t get any Black Rhinos but, the White Rhinos were around and we spent some time working them.  I looked for behavior that would make for interesting images like these two Rhinos interacting…

Nikon D4, AF-S 500mm f4 VR with TC-20E III

 

I wanted to make a photograph that spoke of the subject and it’s environment.  I began with three rhinos in the frame with a Thompson’s Gazelle in the foreground which provides scale…

Nikon D4, AF-S 70-200mm 2.8 VR II with TC-20E III

 

I then turned my lens on a lone rhino with it’s resident cattle egret and flamingos in the background adding a sense of place…

Nikon D4, AF-S 500mm f4 VR

 

A full frontal view makes identifying a white rhino easy as it shows the wide mouth…

Nikon D$, AF-S 70-200mm 2.8 VR II with TC-20E III

 

We kept working the rhinos moving forward as they moved past us until they finally moved into a position with their reflections in the water and a small flock of flamingos in the background.  This image tells the story of the subject and provides a sense of place with the flamingos included in the photo…

Nikon D4, AF-S 70-200mm 2.8 VR II with TC-20E III

 

Our time at Lake Nakuru National Park was short but, proved to be quite productive.  Tomorrow we go in search of flamingos on our way to the Masai Mara.  Stay tuned.