It’s often said that patience goes a long way in wildlife photography. It’s true, you know?
It’s often also true when it comes to even seeing a specific species, never mind photographing it.
I know people who have been on safari more times than I have and have yet to enjoy their first sighting of Africa’s most endangered predator – the Painted Dog (or African Wild Dog).
Yet, seeing them is never a guarantee. They occupy vast home territories, can cover many miles on a single hunt, and move with a relentless pace and energy.
On the photographic safari I hosted in August 2014 to Mana Pools, we had a bit of frustration locating the dogs. They were seen in our camp on the morning of our arrival (we were still flying into Zimbabwe at the time), and after that we would track them most mornings and find recent spoor (tracks), or even fresh remains of a kill, but no dogs.
Between our professional Zimbabwean guide, Kevin Louw, our camp manager Dave McFarland, and myself we worked hard, tried to predict their maneuvers, and just before it seemed we would strike out, we found them on our last morning in Mana. Our safari had been very special up to then, but finally being rewarded for our patience, perseverance and hard work in the field on the last morning just placed the crown on the trip.
Our group was able to photograph them on foot, feeding on two impala kills simultaneously, and running around interacting with each other like only they can.
I simply can’t wait to get back up there and do it all over again in July.
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