Alison Buttigieg Wildlife Photography Wildlife & Travel Photography and Blog Mon, 13 Feb 2017 16:34:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 New Serengeti Video Thu, 22 Dec 2016 17:23:12 +0000 Here is a video from our latest trip to the Serengeti in Tanzania in October/November 2016.  We had an awesome safari, and had many wonderful sightings, including many big cats.  As usual credits go to Black Grouse Photography.  If you like these videos please subscribe to his YouTube channel.

Remarkable award in the Siena International Photo Awards Fri, 18 Nov 2016 19:09:14 +0000  

I am happy to announce that my photo, The Stranglehold, has received a Remarkable Award in the Siena International Photo Awards.  There were over 50000 entries this year so I am very honoured and thankful to be amongst the awarded photographers.  I feel even more honoured because the standards of this year’s competition were very high!  See for yourself the amazing gallery of winning photos.  Here is the link straight to the Wildlife category, the one where I have been awarded.

Back from the Serengeti Thu, 17 Nov 2016 15:07:34 +0000  

In October/November I spent 10 wonderful days in the Serengeti.  We spent 5 days in the Central Serengeti and another 5 in the Mara Serengeti (Kogatende) area.  My very first safari was in Tanzania, so I was very excited to make my long overdue return after 11 years.

The Serengeti blew me away, just like it did so many years ago.  From a purely safari destination standpoint the scenery is second to none – I love the open plains interspersed with trees, the kopjes, the rocks and the hills.  It might be only a stone’s throw away from the Mara, but the scenery is very different.  The wildlife was abundant, and I was delighted to see many big cats and many other animals and birds.

My favourite area was the Mara Serengeti: there was a lot of wildlife, beautiful sceneries and the speciality of this region, apart from the migration and river crossings, is photographing cats on rocks.  We weren’t lucky with crossings this time around – we were late in the season, and when one did happen we were busy with another sighting.  There must always be a reason to return!  This area is also slightly less crowded than the Central Serengeti, so there aren’t that many traffic jams.  However the Mara Serengeti area is not as quiet and exclusive as many operators lead you to believe, even in shoulder season – it was in the past, but not anymore.

October/November is the short rains season in both the Mara and Serengeti ecosystems – so we got pretty much everything as regards weather: thunderstorms, wind, sunshine … to me these are all great photo opportunities, and fun experiences!  The leopard photo for instance, was photographed at dusk.  It would normally have been the tail end of the “golden hour” but instead the overcast conditions turned it into “blue hour” – I think it makes the photo more ethereal and unique.  Each kind of weather is a new photographic opportunity so I am never put off from travelling in the rainy or shoulder seasons.

I hope you enjoy the 2 teaser images I am posting.  Follow me on Instagram and Facebook for more!

Zebras and impending storm - Lamai Wedge, Serengeti - Tanzania.

Zebras and impending storm – Lamai Wedge, Serengeti – Tanzania.


Kgalagadi and Mabuasehube Video Sun, 16 Oct 2016 19:02:59 +0000 We recently returned from a self-drive trip in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (KTP) and Mabuasehube.  This was our third visit to this wonderful park which straddles South Africa and Botswana – it is one of our absolute favourite places on earth! This video by Black Grouse Photography will show you why.

We spent 3 weeks in the park and stayed at Rooiputs, Urikaruus, Kalahari Tented Camp, Polentswa, Grotkoolk, Gharaghab, Nossob, Matopi and Mpaya.  And yes, the famous Mabua lions dropped by our campsite once again to entertain us … along with other interesting visitors.

I will write a detailed trip report at some point, so keep an eye out for it!  An older trip report from 2013 can be found here.

Want to photograph Jaguars? Some tips to make it happen! Sun, 12 Jun 2016 14:15:49 +0000  

In this blog post I will share a few tips on what to do if you want to see and photograph wild jaguars

First of all it’s all about location, location, location. The Pantanal in Brazil is the best place to photograph these elusive big cats. But the Pantanal is a huge wetland so it’s not enough just to show up somewhere there at random. The area with the best possibilities of seeing the jaguars is the aptly named Jaguar Zone, close to Porto Jofre in the Northern section of the Pantanal.

Timing is also of essence – during the dry season you have a much higher probability of spotting jaguars when compared to other times of the year. The dry season runs from July-September/October. Visiting later in the dry season is usually recommended to increase your chances of jaguar sightings. The shoulder season (i.e. the few weeks just before and after the dry season) might also be a rewarding time to visit if you can’t make it during the peak season.

One mistake many people do is to allow themselves too little time in the Pantanal – all the animals here are wild, and every now and then there will be some “slow” days where no jaguars are sighted. Or there can be the infamous “cold snaps” that can happen at any time during the dry season – these tend to affect the general wildlife watching. If you want to see a jaguar plan for at least 2-3 nights close to the Jaguar Zone. For photography 4-5 nights near the jaguar zone is the absolute minimum you should consider. My recommendation is to stay for as long as you can – if you love wildlife you won’t get bored as there is so much to keep you entertained: giant river otters, hundreds of species of birds, capybaras, caiman etc

And as a final note: The Pantanal is about so much more than the search for the Jaguar, and its regions are very diverse. So do try to visit other areas to enjoy the other habitats and wildlife – there are many lodges along the Transpantaneira, and others also in the Southern Pantanal. A good travel agent, ideally a local one that specialises in Brazilian Wildlife and the Pantanal – such as Brazil Nature Tours, should be able to advise you which places suit your needs the best.  Or you could also join one of the many photography tours that are run in the area by local and foreign photographers.

Here is a video of our experience in the Pantanal’s Jaguar Zone.  More videos from the Pantanal can be seen in the video section of the website.

Back from Bandhavgarh, India Mon, 30 May 2016 15:55:22 +0000  

In May we made a quick trip to India – spending 8 days in Bandhavgarh, a park we had visited in 2013.   We were there at the peak of the heatwave, so it was quite tough – especially because the tiger sightings inexplicably dried up during a good part of our trip.   But that’s wildlife – always unpredictable!  We did have some great sightings at the beginning and end of our trip though – and we still had a great time.  A bad day in the bush beats a good day in the office every time.  We surely will be returning someday!

We chose to go to Bandhavgarh because I have the impression it is one of the better managed parks.  Indeed we were impressed at the lack of chaos around tiger sightings – everyone was mostly orderly and not too noisy, and we saw none of the horrible scenes where tigers are surrounded by 40 vehicles.  Bureaucracy is still alive and well though – it is very expensive to change your assigned zone, and your assigned route is only given to you just before you get into the park for every drive.  For those not in the know, when you book park permits you book them by Zone – Bandhavgarh has 3 of them – and you can only drive within that zone.  Apart to being restricted to a particular zone, visitors can only drive a specific route within that zone.  This is a method devised to reduce congestion at tiger sightings and it seems to be working quite well here.  I get it.  Though I still believe things can be improved.

Anyhow, I will leave you with a short video compiled by Black Grouse Photography of some of our most memorable sightings during this trip.  I am posting new images from this trip on my social media pages, namely Instagram and Facebook – make sure to follow me for the latest photos!

Rekero Lion Cub Tue, 09 Feb 2016 15:26:31 +0000  

We found this lion cub and its sibling hidden away amongst some trees in the heart of the the Rekero Pride’s territory. The lionesses were out hunting and the cubs were entertaining themselves climbing and posing on a fallen log. Eventually they had enough and retreated back into the bushes. As we drove off to give them their privacy we eventually caught up with one of the pride females lying down. Suddenly she stood up and looked very intently at some wildebeest in the distance. And in the blink of an eye she was gone, swallowed up by the long grass, only emerging every now and then, closing in on the wildebeest. We knew the hunt was on – but try as we might we just lost her in the long grass. Sure enough after a few minutes the wildebeest scattered in absolute panic. The lioness managed to get one! This cub did not go to bed hungry that day.

Canon 5D Mark III | Canon EF 200-400 4L IS USM Extender 1.4x @ 560mm | f5.6 | 1/320s | ISO 3200

Kenya – The Wild and the Wonderful Sun, 07 Feb 2016 12:46:24 +0000 This is my partner Black Grouse Photography‘s latest video – a stunning summary of the sights we have seen during our 3 visits to Kenya.  If this doesn’t make you want to go on safari in Kenya I don’t know what will!  Many thanks to Gamewatchers Safaris for helping us to see, film and photograph all these wonderful animals.

More videos can be found here


Feeding Toco Toucan Sun, 31 Jan 2016 14:54:10 +0000  

It’s been a while since I have written any blog post because I was busy redesigning and updating my website. I hope you like the result!

The Pantanal in Brazil offers exceptional opportunities to observe birds and one of the highlights of any trip to the Pantanal, whether you are a birder or not, is the chance to see the Toco Toucans, one of the bird “ambassadors” of Brazil. The habitat along the Transpantaneira road is perfect for observing and photographing these birds as it is relatively open. One of the very best places to do this is the Fazeda Santa Tereza/SouthWild Pantanal. Toucans are regular visitors here and seen right on the lodge grounds, especially at the bird feeding station. I photographed this one from the porch of our room.

Apart from normal portrait photography I always try to photograph animal behaviour whenever I can. Toucans have a very interesting and photogenic method to feed due to their large beaks. They will pick the item of food with the tip of the beak and then toss it in the air and tilt their head back to swallow it. They have perfect aim every time and are surprisingly graceful and dextrous.

Canon 5D Mark III | Canon EF 200-400 4L IS USM Extender 1.4x @ 560mm | f5.6 | 1/640s | ISO 2000.

]]> 2
Pantanal Video Part 2 Wed, 21 Oct 2015 20:03:30 +0000 The Pantanal has diverse habitats, and each area has its own speciality as regards wildlife.  The Jaguar Zone’s speciality is … you guessed it: Jaguars!  But it is so much more than that – the tropical riverine scenery is beautiful and there are also plenty of other things to see such as Giant River Otters, Caiman, Kingfishers, Capybara etc.  Part 2 of Black Grouse Photography’s video of our trip concentrates on this area – and yes, there is plenty of jaguar action so I recommend you watch it.  If this doesn’t get you dreaming of visiting the Pantanal I don’t know what will!