Golden Jackal

In the wonderful world of photography, rain can be a photographer's best friend.  I've told that to myself (and others!) many times but rarely has it proven to be true.

Yet still, it is a mantra that I often repeat.

Only once in my life has rain ever been a blessing to my photographic efforts.  Today will be the second time.

I am in Ngorongoro crater and it is midday.  The light sucks.  First thing in the morning, we had some excellent early light on a pride of lions at a kill.  But since then... it's been slim pickings, even if I am in one of the most photographically wonderful places anywhere in the world.  It seems the light is harsh by 10:00am or even earlier -- contrasty with annoying heat distortion.

The silly sun simply rises too quickly in this part of the world.  Apparently the earth spins more quickly at the equator.  Sigh.

Bad light = bad image.  Pretty much always.

So we drive around the crater for a couple of hours, watching various birds, beasts and antelopes, and I barely touch my camera.  Even for the mating lions.

Until the clouds start to build... and grow ominously dark.  At first it's just a few drops.  Then it's a pleasant little rain shower.  The sort of thing that can last forever back home.   But finally the rain hardens its intensity, bucketing down in torrents that has us cowering in our land cruiser plugging up leaks.

It's the kind of rain that turns roads into lakes in a matter of minutes.

It's the kind of rain that can't be sustained for long (I hope!), and when the skies clear, the air will be fresh, clean... and wonderful for photographs.  Midday or not.

And so it proves to be today.

The rain dissipates as I take a break for lunch.  Minutes after the break, we happen upon a family of golden jackals.  There are three pups cavorting around one adult supervisor.  The youngsters are like any youngsters after a thunderstorm -- running, splashing, fighting and generally burning off pent up energy.

In just a few short minutes I capture a handful of really nice images.  This is one of my favourites.  It's as if the pup paused for the briefest of moments to admire his reflection, then his eyes flicked upward at the sound of my camera.


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