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Big eyes move around underwater almost like a cloud of interested youngsters, swirling with little energy as can be seen in the background whilst those with more courage come up in a group to get a good look. They were quite accommodating, allowing me to join the school provided I didn’t make sudden moves or exhale vast amounts of noisy bubbles. I love photographing these fish, when you first see them they look like a school of black and silver fish, but when the strobe lights them up the black turns out to be vivid red, a perennial crowd pleaser contrasting with the cool blues of the water. When beginner divers see the photos they ask where the bright red fish were since they only saw black and silver ones.
Crescent-tail Bigeye - Priacanthus hamrur
Priacanthus hamrur is a reef-associated species, living in tropical marine waters on outer reef slopes, rocky areas and in lagoons at depths of 8-250m. The body of the Crescent-tail Bigeye is relatively deep, strongly compressed laterally. The eyes are very large and red (even in case of silver livery). The body of these fishes go through various phases of color, and may vary from orange to entirely red or silver, or silver with broad six red bands.
Nikon D300 Nikkor 10.5mm f2.8 Fisheye lens, 1/400th sec @ f11, ISO 200, Sea & Sea Housing and Two Sea & Sea YS250 strobes on ¼ power. Taken on scuba at 25m at manta reef, Tofo, Mozambique
Photograph by Andrew Woodburn
This stingray was found free-swimming across the reef surface in deep water and its natural curiosity brought it over to my camera. It was quite calm and resembled a magic carpet as it gracefully glided in towards me with undulations of its disk. They are gentle creatures and will often approach divers in order to satisfy their curiosity. The eye is quite visible in the photo as it gives me the once over, investigating this strange scuba creature blowing bubbles and certainly not exhibiting the grace of a creature perfectly designed for life in the ocean.
Smalleye Stingray - Megatrygon microps
TThe Smalleye Stingray measures up to 2.2m across. Rare but widely distributed, it is found in the Indo-Pacific from Mozambique to India, and to northern Australia. This species may be semi-pelagic in nature, inhabiting both deeper waters and shallow coastal reefs and estuaries. It is characterised by a diamond-shaped pectoral fin disc much wider than long, a tail that is broad and flattened in front of the spine but whip-like behind, and large white spots over its back. The very wide shape of the Smalleye Stingray differs from that of most other members of its family, and may reflect a mode of swimming from bottom dwelling to mid water journeys.
Nikon D300 Nikkor 10.5mm f2.8 Fisheye lens, 1/50 sec @ f10, ISO 200, Sea & Sea Housing and Two Sea & Sea YS250 strobes on ¼ power. Taken on scuba at 25m off Tofo, Mozambique
Very early morning in the Ngorogoro Crater, Tanzania, a flock of East African crowned cranes flew past. The straw-yellow crowned feathers were neatly blown back by the wind creating an unusual perspective.
TEast African Crowned Crane / Grey – Crowned Crane - Balearica regulorum
TThe East African Crowned Crane is a slate grey colour with an elongated neck and body. The primary and secondary feathers are dark grey with chestnut markings. The cheek patches are bare, with white at the bottom and a small red patch on top. A distinctive crane with long golden crown feathers.
Nikon D5 with Nikon VR 80-400mm, f4.5 – f5.6 G ED lens with Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III 1.4x effective focal length 320 mm, 1/1600 sec @ f11, ISO 400
Photograph by Trevor Woodburn
Late afternoon in the Grumeti region of the Serengeti National Park, this Lioness was found moving her cubs from their den to a new more secure one situated within a thick clump of bushes.
Lion - Panthera leo
Call of the African Wild, King of African Carnivores. Lionesses are low slung but large and powerful, weighing around 125kg. When prey is plentiful, Lions spend 20 hours out of 24 conserving energy, becoming active in late afternoon; hunt most actively early and late at night and for a couple of hours after daybreak. Lions can become active at any time, day or night, hungry or gorged, so that when easy opportunities to catch prey present themselves, they react immediately and take advantage. Lions kill and often eat all other carnivores, including Leopards and Cheetahs, but rarely Hyenas. Lion cubs tend to be woolly with greyish, spotted coats when born, changing to an adult coat by three months of age.
Nikon D5 with Nikon VR 80-400mm, f4.5 – 5.6 G ED lens with Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III 1.4x, effective focal length 550 mm, 1/1250 sec @ f14, ISO 2800
Early evening on Mnemba Island, Zanzibar, this baby turtle hatchling successfully managed to emerge from the sand nest amongst over one hundred other siblings to navigate its way down to the beach to finally reach the sea, despite toppling over several times.
Green Sea Turtle - Chelonia mydas
The green turtle is a large, weighty sea turtle with a wide, smooth carapace, or shell. It is named not for the colour of its shell, which is normally brown or olive depending on its habitat, but for the greenish colour of its skin. Green turtles, like other sea turtles, undertake lengthy migrations from feeding sites to nesting grounds. To nest, females leave the sea and choose an area, often on the same beach used by their mothers, to lay their eggs. They dig a pit in the sand with their flippers, fill it with a clutch of 100 to 200 eggs, cover the pit and return to the sea, leaving the eggs to hatch after about two months. The most dangerous time of a green turtle’s life is when it makes the journey from nest to sea. Multiple predators, including crabs and flocks of gulls, voraciously prey on hatchlings during this short scamper.
Nikon D4S with AF Nikon 24 – 120mm, 1.4 G ED lens at 120mm 1/320 sec @ f6.3, +0.3 EV, ISO 10000
Very early morning in the Ngorogoro Crater, as the dawn broke, a ray of light reflected off the wings and bodies of a large number of beautiful pink Lesser Flamingos.
Lesser Flamingo - Phoeniconaias minor
The Lesser Flamingo has a white and crimson plumage with a dark red bill and long stilt-like legs. These beautiful birds are common and make a distinctive “honk-honk” sound. They live nomadic lives across shallow freshwater lakes, salt pans and estuaries.
Nikon D5 with Nikon VR 80-400mm, f4.5 – 5.6 G ED lens with Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III 1.4x, effective focal length 550 mm, 1/2000 sec @ f13, ISO 2200
Mid-afternoon on a river bank in the Grumeti region of the Serengeti National Park, this magnificent Nile Crocodile was found displaying its large powerful body and ferocious teeth while at the same time showing off its exquisite and beautiful scales on its body and legs.
Nile Crocodile - Crocodylus niloticus
The Nile Crocodile is common in many parts of Africa. Like all crocodiles, the Nile Crocodile is a quadruped with four short, splayed legs, a long, powerful tail, a scaly hide with rows of ossified scutes running down its back and tail, and powerful jaws. The nostrils, eyes, ears are situated on the top of the head, so the rest of the body can remain concealed underwater. The Nile Crocodile is the largest crocodilian in Africa, the male crocodile usually measures 3.5 to 5m long, but very old mature ones can grow to 5.5m or more. Typical Nile Crocodile weight is from 225 to 500kg, though large males can range up to 750kg in mass. Their mouths are filled with a total of 64 to 68 cone-shaped teeth.
Nikon D500 with Sigma 150-600mm, f5 – 6.3 DG lens with Sigma Teleconverter 1.4x TC – 1401 for Nikon, effective focal length 700 mm, 1/3200 sec @ f11, ISO 22800