The golden hour’ is the term photographers use to describe the beautiful light we have when the sun is low in the sky. I’ve only ever made use of it when photographing weddings in the summer, that time in the evening when the sun casts a golden glow over everything and everybody, and we can take gorgeous photos of the bride and groom looking radiant.
Now however, I’ve discovered that it also exists in the morning, and that’s one of the reasons we go out so early on game drives. Not only do we stand a chance of seeing more animals before they hide against the heat of the day, but when we do see them, the light is stunningly beautiful. This was the case one morning last week. The previous day we had visited a dam and seen just one grey heron, who promptly flew off as soon as we arrived.
Happily, the next day was a different story. Firstly we encountered a herd of wildebeest on the track down to the dam. They moved aside for us but didn’t go far, allowing us to take some photos of them standing in the long grass.
When we got to the dam, the grey heron was there again, but didn’t immediately take to the sky. Not only that, but there were other birds at the water’s edge, and a Nyala was emerging from the trees.There are a few rules we have to follow when out on a game drive, and one of them is that we have to speak quietly and make very few movements when observing animals. We want them to become accustomed to seeing the vehicles and not be frightened by them, so as we quietly sat there a few more Nyala came out and ventured down to the water to drink.
We also saw a red duiker which is a very small and shy antelope, and then the wildebeest that we had seen on the track also came down. They came right up behind our truck, made a bit of a detour around us, and trotted down to the water.
We were there for about 30 minutes, just watching the wildlife and of course taking dozens of photos. I’ve played with the settings a little bit to make the colours more vibrant and really like the images I’ve captured and created below.