Colin’s Wise Wednesday – 16th May 2018

Every time I hear the hymn below  I think to myself how awesome it would be to be a “channel” of Gods peace. I no longer want to be a storage facility or a storage dam I want Gods love to flow through me. I don’t want to be stranded like those storage garages down Modderfontein road away from the main source. I want to be like a distribution center where stock arrives  in one end, it is rearranged, redirected and out the other end. That is what I would like to happen to Your word Lord. I don’t want your word to come in one ear and out the other but I want  Your word internalized within me and go out in word thought and deed.  I absolutely love the image Lord of You spilling from me in  life-enhancing living water.
 

Colin’s Wise Wednesday – 9th May 2018

Every picture tells a story.
When thinking about my devotion for this week I came across these two pictures.  The captions inserted are God’s desire for us, most probably the most difficult instruction to adhere to….love your enemy.
 
PSALM 104 : 33 - 34

”Listen!” says Jesus. “I am coming soon! Happy are those who obey the prophetic words in this book!”
Revelation 22 : 7

LET US PRAY FOR
Our Ministers
We come Lord, with thankful hearts, for You have given us one who follows You closely and teaches us how to do the same. You have called him and instructed him in the task required for Your church. Bless him Lord, as he spends time before You seeking Your will and way for his own life as well as for the church and people of this congregation. Instruct Him Lord, through Your Holy Spirit of the tasks You require to be fulfilled. Thank You for the time spent in studying Your Word and preparation of the message to bring to Your people in this place. Guide him, guard him and care for him each day, Lord, we pray!

Church
You have blessed us Lord God, as we gather together, to worship You and to praise Your Holy Name. You have given us this place where we come in Your Name, to have fellowship with others who believe, and to help all people to grow through the teachings and fellowship here. Thank You for the love that is shared amongst us as fellow believers, and for the eagerness, to live and grow as Your own. Bless Your church and people, Lord, we pray in Jesus Name!

Church Leaders
There are men and women who have stepped forward to serve You wherever there is a need. Thank You for each one who has willingly taken on the challenge as leader for some activity. You have called them and instructed them, and they have been obedient, desiring to help others grow in their faith and trust in You, Lord! Bless each one who has accepted the responsibility of teaching or instructing others in study of the Word or of life skills as a follower of Jesus Christ.

South Africa
Bless our land and people, Lord, and draw them closer to serve You. We pray for peace and harmony amongst workers who are striking for better working conditions. There are many areas where there are demonstrations that have turned violent and destructive. We pray for an end to that behaviour, and that peaceful discussions could take place to solve the issues that have been raised. Thank You for the rains that have fallen all over our land, and that the dams are full. You provide for our needs, Lord, and we give You thanks and praise for Your continuing loving care for us all!

The Needy
Lord, bless and heal those who are not well. There are many who are in need of Your healing care, and as we name them before You now, we pray for Your hand of blessing upon each one. Hear our prayer, O Lord, we pray, and help all those in need this day. Thank You, Lord!
 

DAY IN THE LIFE OF A GAME RANGER By Chad Cocking

Courtesy of the Tanda Tula Safari Camp http://www.tandatula.com/blog/posts/photographer-s-focus
 

Colin’s Wise Wednesday 25th April 2018

“Lord God, thank you for nature and for sending us the variety of weathers we get. Thank you for sunshine and for rain, for wind and for cold – this mixture that works together to stimulate growth and germination. I marvel at the way it all promotes life and health. In Jesus’ name – AMEN”
 
PSALM 27 : 13 - 14
I am sure that God, who began this good work in you, will carry it on until it is finished on the Day of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1 : 6
 

DAY IN THE LIFE OF A GAME RANGER By Chad Cocking

Courtesy of the Tanda Tula Safari Camp http://www.tandatula.com/blog/posts/photographer-s-focus
 

DAY IN THE LIFE OF A GAME RANGER By Chad Cocking

Courtesy of the Tanda Tula Safari Camp http://www.tandatula.com/blog/posts/photographer-s-focus

17 APRIL 2018
Photographer’s focus: What makes a good wildlife photographer?

Almost every guest that comes on a safari these days has a camera of sorts in his or her possession. Some carry their cameras to capture the memories of their holiday in Africa, others bring them hoping to capture a once-in-a-lifetime shot of some extraordinary wildlife scene, and others bring them just because it seemed like the right thing to do!

Whatever your reason for lugging your camera halfway across the world, this series of blogs has been written in an attempt to assist you with getting the most out of your equipment in order to capture the wonders of Africa in a way that will hopefully make your friends jealous enough to plan their own trips here!

There are many books and blogs that have been written by professional wildlife photographers that allow one to better understand the art. This blog series serves to supplement these by making specific reference to the photographic conditions that you, as a guest, are likely to encounter here at Tanda Tula Safari Camp.

Many of these professional books begin by discussing what it takes to make a good wildlife photographer, and how to get those incredible images that we so often see floating around on social media these days. Although there is not one simple answer, the question of what makes a good wildlife photographer serves as an excellent point of departure, and as you will see, it takes a load more than simply having a good camera and big lens!

The truth is, these is no single element that will make you a good wildlife photographer, but rather, it is a combination of many different factors that all need to come together to collectively produce some outstanding wildlife images.

Good Knowledge of Your Photographic Equipment
If you have recently unpacked a new camera, you may or may not have noticed that little white book you tossed aside called the Instruction Manual and thought that it would only come in handy if ever you were struggling to fall asleep one evening. Well, think again! Between those two covers is just about everything you need to know about how that machine in your hands works (with all of its buttons and dials).

Knowing this will allow you to get the most out of your camera and will save you a lot of frustration when it comes to changing and choosing the correct settings whilst out on safari. When this becomes second nature, it allows you to focus on getting photos rather than fiddling around trying to make the camera work!
An equally important aspect of understanding one's camera, is also knowing what its limitations are, and being able to – when conditions are beyond the camera’s ability – put the camera down and just enjoy the sighting regardless of its photographic potential. Trying to take images in such conditions will simply lead to a great deal of frustration and detract from the chance to simply spend time enjoying watching the animals.

Good Quality Equipment
One would only be fooling themselves if they said that good camera equipment does not make taking good wildlife photographs easier; plain and simple, it does! This however should never be misinterpreted to mean that only good cameras take good photos, as this is definitely not the truth! Having an expensive camera is not automatically going to lead to taking great photos.

Whilst all cameras have their limitations, the better the equipment, the wider apart these limits become, and the old adage that you get what you pay for is particularly true of photographic equipment. All of this is of no use to you though, if you don’t understand the basics of photography.

Good Knowledge of Photographic Principles
Understanding the basic principles of photography will go a long way in allowing you to create the kind of images that you wish to produce. Although terms like aperture, spot metering, exposure compensation and ISO might seem a little daunting at first, the quicker that one gets to grips with understanding them, and understands how they impact your images, the sooner you will be able to take control of your photography. This series of blogs will deal with such photographic principles to allow you to get more out of your camera to attain better wildlife images.

Knowledge of Your Subject
Unlike landscapes and models, wild animals have minds - and wills - of their own, and from experience, seldom do exactly what we wish for them to do! That being said, having a fair idea of what an animal is likely to do next can greatly stack the odds in your favour in terms of anticipating a potential shot.

A leopard about to ascend a tree will usually glance up at it as it is approaching; if you see that look, get ready, as you might get a shot of the leopard springing up the tree trunk. Similarly, eagles will usually defecate just before they take to flight; wait for that moment and then get ready. This sometimes takes years of observation to pick up and understand, but that is where the experience of the guiding team at Tanda Tula can greatly assist you.

Patience
Any true photographer will tell you that patience, patience and more patience is the key to getting good wildlife images! And while patience is of immense importance, when one is visiting a game reserve for only several hours a day over the course of a few nights, sometimes we need a little more than patience to get that shot, which leads me onto the last element of what makes a good wildlife photographer...
... a fair amount of LUCK!

You can have the fanciest camera on the market (and have read its manual), have attended numerous photographic courses, spent years observing wild animals, and you may even be in a position to sit all day waiting for the right moment to click the shutter, but without that little element of luck that brings everything together, at the right moment, chances are you may not get the shot. So, whatever the case is, most great wildlife photographs will require some element of luck!!!
So, now that you know what it will take to get some good wildlife images next time you are on safari at Tanda Tula, we hope that you will keep on following this series of blogs as it guides you through gaining a greater understanding of wildlife photography.
 

DAY IN THE LIFE OF A GAME RANGER By Chad Cocking

Courtesy of the Tanda Tula Safari Camp http://www.tandatula.com/blog/posts/photographer-s-focus

17 APRIL 2018
Photographer’s focus: What makes a good wildlife photographer?

Almost every guest that comes on a safari these days has a camera of sorts in his or her possession. Some carry their cameras to capture the memories of their holiday in Africa, others bring them hoping to capture a once-in-a-lifetime shot of some extraordinary wildlife scene, and others bring them just because it seemed like the right thing to do!

Whatever your reason for lugging your camera halfway across the world, this series of blogs has been written in an attempt to assist you with getting the most out of your equipment in order to capture the wonders of Africa in a way that will hopefully make your friends jealous enough to plan their own trips here!

There are many books and blogs that have been written by professional wildlife photographers that allow one to better understand the art. This blog series serves to supplement these by making specific reference to the photographic conditions that you, as a guest, are likely to encounter here at Tanda Tula Safari Camp.

Many of these professional books begin by discussing what it takes to make a good wildlife photographer, and how to get those incredible images that we so often see floating around on social media these days. Although there is not one simple answer, the question of what makes a good wildlife photographer serves as an excellent point of departure, and as you will see, it takes a load more than simply having a good camera and big lens!

The truth is, these is no single element that will make you a good wildlife photographer, but rather, it is a combination of many different factors that all need to come together to collectively produce some outstanding wildlife images.

Good Knowledge of Your Photographic Equipment
If you have recently unpacked a new camera, you may or may not have noticed that little white book you tossed aside called the Instruction Manual and thought that it would only come in handy if ever you were struggling to fall asleep one evening. Well, think again! Between those two covers is just about everything you need to know about how that machine in your hands works (with all of its buttons and dials).

Knowing this will allow you to get the most out of your camera and will save you a lot of frustration when it comes to changing and choosing the correct settings whilst out on safari. When this becomes second nature, it allows you to focus on getting photos rather than fiddling around trying to make the camera work!
An equally important aspect of understanding one's camera, is also knowing what its limitations are, and being able to – when conditions are beyond the camera’s ability – put the camera down and just enjoy the sighting regardless of its photographic potential. Trying to take images in such conditions will simply lead to a great deal of frustration and detract from the chance to simply spend time enjoying watching the animals.

Good Quality Equipment
One would only be fooling themselves if they said that good camera equipment does not make taking good wildlife photographs easier; plain and simple, it does! This however should never be misinterpreted to mean that only good cameras take good photos, as this is definitely not the truth! Having an expensive camera is not automatically going to lead to taking great photos.

Whilst all cameras have their limitations, the better the equipment, the wider apart these limits become, and the old adage that you get what you pay for is particularly true of photographic equipment. All of this is of no use to you though, if you don’t understand the basics of photography.

Good Knowledge of Photographic Principles
Understanding the basic principles of photography will go a long way in allowing you to create the kind of images that you wish to produce. Although terms like aperture, spot metering, exposure compensation and ISO might seem a little daunting at first, the quicker that one gets to grips with understanding them, and understands how they impact your images, the sooner you will be able to take control of your photography. This series of blogs will deal with such photographic principles to allow you to get more out of your camera to attain better wildlife images.

Knowledge of Your Subject
Unlike landscapes and models, wild animals have minds - and wills - of their own, and from experience, seldom do exactly what we wish for them to do! That being said, having a fair idea of what an animal is likely to do next can greatly stack the odds in your favour in terms of anticipating a potential shot.

A leopard about to ascend a tree will usually glance up at it as it is approaching; if you see that look, get ready, as you might get a shot of the leopard springing up the tree trunk. Similarly, eagles will usually defecate just before they take to flight; wait for that moment and then get ready. This sometimes takes years of observation to pick up and understand, but that is where the experience of the guiding team at Tanda Tula can greatly assist you.

Patience
Any true photographer will tell you that patience, patience and more patience is the key to getting good wildlife images! And while patience is of immense importance, when one is visiting a game reserve for only several hours a day over the course of a few nights, sometimes we need a little more than patience to get that shot, which leads me onto the last element of what makes a good wildlife photographer...
... a fair amount of LUCK!

You can have the fanciest camera on the market (and have read its manual), have attended numerous photographic courses, spent years observing wild animals, and you may even be in a position to sit all day waiting for the right moment to click the shutter, but without that little element of luck that brings everything together, at the right moment, chances are you may not get the shot. So, whatever the case is, most great wildlife photographs will require some element of luck!!!
So, now that you know what it will take to get some good wildlife images next time you are on safari at Tanda Tula, we hope that you will keep on following this series of blogs as it guides you through gaining a greater understanding of wildlife photography.
 

Colin’s Wise Wednesday – 25th April 2018

Colin’s Wise Wednesday
Recently over the Easter period I wrote an article about Easter Saturday and to my surprise when I opened my daily devotion this week the writer was discussing the Easter Saturdays in our lives. I think she expresses herself a lot better than I did so here is her account of Easter Saturday.
 
PSALM 40 : 31

Listen! This is the hour to receive God’s favour; today is the day to be saved.
2 Corinthians 6 : 2b

LET US PRAY FOR
Our Ministers
We pray for blessing for our minister, Lord. May Your favour rest upon Him and Your hand help him each day. You have called him into serving You in this place and community and have taught and guided him each day. Thank You for his dedication and faithfulness, as he cares for the flock You have placed under his leadership. May You help Him by Your Spirit as he prepares the message to bring to Your people, and as he takes care of the administration and concerns of the church. Watch out for him, Lord, and take care of his health and ability to cope with the stress that comes with long hours of service. Bless him and his family, Lord. Thank You!
 

DAY IN THE LIFE OF A GAME RANGER By Chad Cocking

6 APRIL 2018 - A week of skies and landscapes
 

Colin’s Wise Wednesday – 11th April 2018

All of us can enjoy God’s love and His presence. But why don’t we? Is it because we feel that we can do it “my way” and do it alone in our own strength and our own wisdom? What did Moses do when he was confronted with leading the Jews on the exodus from Egypt? He knew that he could not manage 2 million people, how was he going to provide for them? What did Moses do…he prayed for help. “If Your presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here” Exodus 33:15 Putting it another way Moses preferred to go nowhere with God than anywhere without Him.
 
YOUR WORD, O LORD, WILL LAST FOREVER; IT IS ETERNAL IN HEAVEN. YOUR FAITHFULNESS ENDURES THROUGH ALL THE AGES;
 

DAY IN THE LIFE OF A GAME RANGER By Chad Cocking

29 MARCH 2018 - Four seasons in one week

Even in the limited number of hours that a single week posseses, Mother Nature has somehow managed to cram in all four seasons! We went from sweltering summer afternoons to cold, windy days that forced us to don jackets and crank up the heaters (even us guides had to give in and put on a pair of long trousers!). The Timbavati may have had it all on the weather-front, but I can tell you it wasn’t half-bad on the animal front either!

The lions remained very prominent in the first part of the week, with the Ross females and Mbiri males spending time in the area around Tanda Tula Safari Camp. However,as the weather conditions worsened, they became a bit more difficult to track down with certain areas becoming muddy and water drenched which makes it almost impossible to go off road and follow these big cats.

It was a good week for leopards, the highlight being the aging Nthombi female who was found mating with a new male. We are referring to him as the Tamboti male and it seems that he is starting to establish himself in the area. Guests were extremely fortunate as the Marula female was viewed several times over the past few days, regardless of the weather conditions. Then, incredibly, the Madzinyo male leopard was found one morning with a young wildebeest kill, but nature is harsh and sadly he was chased off his feast by some hyena.

On the large mammal front, the elephant herds remained very active in the central and western areas of the Timbavati. We were also treated to the return of a large buffalo herd, a group of between 250 and 300 animals, who spent most of the week in our concession, eventually moving out when the Mbiri male lions found them. Unfortunately for the lions, even after a couple of attempts they failed to catch one.

With the arrival of a further 27 mm of rain later in week, the general game returned to the eastern sections. There were giraffe and zebra aplenty across the reserve as the natural pans once again filled up. The late rain also brought out a number of insects, supplying a feast for the migratory birds and allowing them to build up their energy reserves as they prepare for their imminent long flights back north.

My only disappointment this week was my failure to get a photograph of a stunning, albeit brief, daytime viewing of a gorgeous caracal a few days back! Some alarm-calling Guinea fowl alerted us to the area, and upon investigating we were surprised by a brief glimpse of one of these rare cats. It was my first sighting since 2007 so I was happy to forgo the picture and just celebrate the rarity of seeing such a beautiful and scarce creature!
 

Colin’s Wise Wednesday

First picture… Where do we run?
Second picture… What is our cover?
 
PSALM 147 : 1
Listen! This is the hour to receive God’s favour; today is the day to be saved!
2 Corinthians 6 : 2
 

DAY IN THE LIFE OF A GAME RANGER - 26 MARCH 2018 By Chad Cocking

Day of the Dog

Last Friday was just one of those fantastic days at Tanda Tula. The Timbavati was literally heaving as the guides were spoilt for choice as to which animals to go and show their guests.

Did they want to go and see the two gorgeous Mbiri male lions resting in the Nhlaralumi riverbed a little downstream from camp? Or the Marula female leopard living up to her name in a Marula tree, west of the camp? There was also the option to go to the copious number of elephants moving all over the concession, or make a trip to the west and see a large herd of buffalo. But the real draw card was the possibility of finding Africa’s second most endangered predator, and my personal favourite, the African wild dog. As we had enjoyed some fantastic sightings over the last few drives, we decided to be bold and make a move towards the ominous looking clouds in the west in the hope that our luck would continue.

The safari started well with us finding that Marula was having a lazy day. She was still resting in the same Marula tree that she had ascended late in the morning. As she was showing no signs of waking up any time soon, we decided to carry on west. Once in that part of our concession, we were treated to stunning sightings of a herd of elephants, zebras, giraffes, wildebeest, impala, hyena and kudu before we eventually made it to an area where a large buffalo herd had just moved into a thicket near one of the dams. While quietly enjoying the buffalo, we were rudely interrupted by a crash of rhinos that arrived to drink at the dam.We were watching the rhinos when Antony radioed to let us know that his hunch had been correct, and the African wild dogs that he had come looking for had showed up, just at the very spot he had decided to turn off and wait for them. Needless to say, his guests were speechless!

One of the reasons I love spending time with wild dogs is because of their active behaviour when they are on the hunt, and this afternoon was no different. Antony had already seen them chasing after impala, wildebeest and baby giraffes before we arrived. When we joined them, a nearby herd of impalas began scattering in all directions as the wild dogs set off after them,. Sadly for one young ewe, the pack’s incredible hunting efficiency struck and we found two of the 18 dogs with the kill right next to the road! It was as peaceful a scene as one could get considering exactly what we were watching. That was until a hyena suddenly stormed the scene and dashed in to grab the carcass off the two wild dogs. Chaos erupted! The dogs tried their best to get their kill back, but with only two of them, they didn’t stand much chance. Although, this didn’t stop them from nipping at the hyenas vulnerable rear end as it ran off with their hard earned meal.

Two weeks ago we read Luke’s blog about the incredibly rare and tragic sighting that he and his guests witnessed when a pack of hyenas killed and ate a wild dog (if you want to read this story click here). This time around, the rest of the pack were close at hand to come and give their two members some assistance in retrieving their kill from the hyenas. Within seconds, wild dogs came running in from all directions, and they immediately began harassing the hyenas to the point where they were able to retrieve the meal. The power of team work amongst the dogs was clear to see, and even though half a dozen larger hyenas came to investigate the commotion, without the same coordination as the wild dogs, they were never going to win this fight! The antics between these two apex predators carried on until it was too dark to view them anymore, and with the rumble of thunder getting louder, we decided to call it a night and started making our way back to camp.

It had to have been one of the best wild dog and hyena encounters I had ever seen, which helps explain why the guests were absolutely elated with what we had just witnessed; so much so that not even the rain on the way home could dampen our spirits!
 

Colin’s Wise Wednesday 28th March 2018

Below are the words of The Seekers song, a song of long ago a song that has always held a special place in my heart. On Monday I went through a heart procedure called a cryoablation. Was I worried? Can you worry and have faith at the same time? I can, maybe people will say I have not got enough faith but I do know that no matter what I go through God is with me though the results won’t always turn out the way I want them to He will be with me so that I will cope. On Monday this song kept going through my mind. I kept on repeating it as if it was to God. I hope and pray that you also find the words useful.
 
PSALM 11 : 1 - 2
But those who proclaim God’s message speak to people and give them help, encouragement and comfort.
1 Corinthians 14 : 3

LET US PRAY FOR

Our Ministers
We praise and thank You, Lord, for those You have given us to minister to this congregation. You have inspired him by Your Spirit, and teach him the message that You desire Your people to hear. Bless and help him each day, Lord, to live as You require, and to be helpful and caring to all people. Fill him with Your Holy Spirit, and may his heart know love for all people. Bless him and his family Lord, as they serve You each day, and bring them close to learn more about You. Thank You for Your call upon his life, and his acceptance of Your will and way each day.

Church
We thank You Lord, for gathering us together in this place You have provided for us. As we meet as Your family may we be encouraged through worship and service to live each day as Your own. You have gathered us together to be able to hear Your word preached, and the lessons taught to us all. You have given us a place where we can worship and honour You, and grow closer to You through the teaching that is given here. Bless us Lord as we gather together in Your Name, seeking Your will and way for our lives.

Church Leaders
There are many who have stepped forward in answer to Your call to serve You. We thank You for the opportunity to teach others about You, and to encourage them to grow in their walk of faith. As they teach and help people may they be used by you to spread the Gospel message to many. Thank You for each one who has stepped up and is prepared to serve where You require them to be.

South Africa
God, bless South Africa, we pray. Many have answered Your call to help others to know about You, and we thank You for their response. May they be strong in their desire to help others to live as You require. Bless those who are in Government, Lord, and guide them according to Your will and way. Bless the leaders of our land and may they serve honestly and with integrity, doing their best to advance South Africa for the betterment of the people and our country. We pray too, for rain to fall in those areas where drought is still prevalent. God, bless South Africa and her people!