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  #137 "Panoramic-scapes"
Entry 12 of 23
The Tree, Southern Africa       ©2014 Jade O.
Panasonic DMC-FZ30       11th place, 71 points
1/80s, f4, ISO 80, 35mm, Normal Program, Pattern, no flash
Post-Processing: Three image pano stitched in Panorama Maker 3. Minor clone to square the edges and resized but otherwise untouched. It loses a lot of impact downsized but though I could "pop" it more in PP, the subtle colours and lighting are so evocative of this part of wild Africa, I've decided to stay true to the original.       Extra Info: A timeless vista taken on vast game reserve adjoining the Pilansburg Game Reserve & National Park, North West Province, South Africa. The hills in the background are the remnants of an ancient volcanic crater, and the site is just at the northern end of the Magaliesberg mountain range, one of the oldest mountain ranges on earth. Recent evidence shows early man was here 2 million years ago and what you see is what man here has been looking at pretty much exactly like this for hundreds of thousands of years. We walked for hours on end, rarely pausing, surrounded by predators and prey, the three of us alert in the knowledge there was nothing out there that we could outrun and cognizant that we were trekking alone and unplugged; in an emergency we would have to hike hours back to our vehicle to make a radio call for help. Your senses come alive out here, a collective of three pairs of eyes and ears being your first and most valuable line of protection. (And, yes, we had our close call the day after this photo was taken -- or I should say the one close call we know about -- that, and the isolation, is simply exhilarating!)
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Jade O.
Jan 29, 2014
    Well, elliott, to get there from here you either fly through Europe or through Atlanta so no need to guess which one I picked. Hiking through the bush is not something to be undertaken lightly. The danger is very real and "incidents" are not uncommon. This is not something you should do without an appreciation of the risks. You can try to minimize risk but you cannot truly do risk management or assessment since there is so much that is completely outside your control. You are pretty naked out there and being unplugged really makes the whole experience very real. You really become no different than any other game out there and your senses come alive.

Of course, no matter what, you have people who take a situation requiring a high state of situational awareness and do everything wrong.


And in January of 2013

But you can also see no matter how experienced or careful you are the worse can still happen because frankly things can happen pretty fast. From May of 2013

Edited on Jan 29, 2014

Jan 28, 2014
    let me get this straight.... skiing in austria and weddings and hiking about in the south african bush... did you ever think to invite any of us??

Jade O.
Jan 28, 2014
    Lo, LOL! You are so right!

Jan 28, 2014
    Scary stuff Jade - although I'm betting the wilderness element made it worthwhile.

Jan 28, 2014
    I can see why cruises don't appeal to you!

Jade O.
Jan 28, 2014
Thanks for your votes and comments, each one is appreciated.

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Jade O.
Jan 28, 2014
    Lo South Africa impressed me quite a bit. I was there for a friend's wedding but took the opportunity to see a bit of the country.

johncomyn I'll admit it was trekking early the next morning (5:30 a.m.) with the vista of a group of dozen giraffe moving like a wave on a distant hillside off to my right, a herd of elephants climbing a ridge above them, and to my left, impala and zebra grazing 50 meters away, that I had that passing thought, "This is where you fall in love with Africa." The black rhino charge happened about 40 minutes after that! It is a beautiful country and my sense immediately post-Mandela was of a nation that was forward looking, entrepreneurial, and with a sense that a racial divide was something to put to rest in the past. At all levels and in all races, I had a sense that people were very proud to be South African and united in wanting to build a better life for themselves and a better society for all South Africans.

Jan 27, 2014
    Amazing story about a savage but beautiful land. It must have been an incredible experience. The grasses and hills really come alive in the panorama. I wish the tree had been less centred.

Jan 27, 2014
    Me been a South African this is very familiar. I like the sky, think you need a little more contrast overall and the placement of the dead tree could be better if moved to the left.

Jade O.
Jan 25, 2014
    fc Actually, in all the time there, sighted only one pair of vultures high up in a taller equally barren tree. Saw lots more raptors though.

elliott I hemmed and hawed about the tree when composing the shot but in the end felt off centre was the right place for it since it is the tree, not the hills, that is the real subject. At least that was my thinking; you don't get to go back for a redo and you can't lag behind the others out here - not by more than a few meters without putting yourself at greater risk. The close call was getting surprised by a black rhino (with calf in tow) which charged our position. They move 11 meters a second at top speed - you can't out run them. Fortunately they also have really bad eyesight so sometimes you get lucky - and shooting an endangered species is not your first choice.

Jan 24, 2014
    like the fact you have not 'popped it'
the tree looks like a handy perch from the vultures point of view

Jan 23, 2014
    great extra info. just my thought that the tree might be more comfortable a little further to the left.
your color and exposure are good. i had similar lighting/sky conditions during what they call 'monsoon season' on my adventure last summer. i liked it as it gave me more latitude for exposure and fewer problems with harsh shadows or blown sky. want to hear more about that close call.
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By Jade O.


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