Our first encounters of the day!

in travel •  4 months ago

…On our third day in in Kruger National Park, it was lovely and sunny. We started out following the Sabie River. 

Here is a map of the area for you to understand the terrain we travelled: 

After leaving Skukuza camp, we travelled eastward towards the morning sun, and along the lower road long side the Sabie River. Can you see where I mean on the map?  

We had the whole day ahead of us. Because of the bright happy sunny aspect, it felt like our hearts were swelling with the feeling of an adventure about to happen. And you’ll see as the day progressed (in the blogs ahead) that we had some silly and exciting things that happened along the way. 

Our first encounter was… 

A Crested Barbet:

It was easy to photograph him because he was foraging on the side of the road. But check out his crazy outfit! 

I think these birds are really funny looking. Because, of their untidy bizarre mixture of colours, spotted textured black feather `coats’ and cocky head crests.  

Their nosy intimating behaviour: 

Why? Because they like to check out and raid other bird’s nests, compulsively eating or throwing out their eggs, thus interfering with the hatching of the other bird’s eggs.  

Crested barbets like to make their nest in holes of dead rotted trees. And because of their territorial activities, they fiercely drive off their cousins the Black-collared barbet, who also like nesting in holes of dead trees. 

Crested barbets are about 23cm long and their main diet is insects, but at times will consider eating fruit. 

Their call sounds like a muffled alarm clock,” terrr” which can continue for long periods, louder and slower. But when agitated will “kekekekek…” in alarm. The female crested barbet makes a “puta-puta…” call. 

Moving on we sighted some… 

Wildebeest grazing quietly:

What impressed me about this scene? It was first the dominant size of the trees grouped together on the left! I guessed the trees would be fascinating and challenging to paint. I was longing to see how I would portray the depth and tremendous variety of colour within its borders. 

Secondly, the foreground: The wide open space in the foreground with dry grass made strong statement. Oh but the wildness of the colours therein! Now that’s what gripped me. I thought that would be fun and a challenge too. And as you know I love a challenge, just to see what I could make of it. 

Wildebeest are big animals, 

But the size of those trees seemed to overpower the size of the wildebeest grazing quietly there. 

Do you want to know what I think of Wildebeest? We used to farm cattle, so of cause I straight away looked at them and declared they were just wild cattle! And a dinner snack for lions! 

But if you come face to face with them, like we did later on, in our trip in Kruger Park. We see why they are so scary and fierce to look up close to! 

And for those who want to know how I took up the challenge of painting that scene… 

This is what I did:

  1. The usual blocking in of the compositions basic shapes, and building up the darker tones in those areas. 
  2. Then when that’s dry, on another day, I filled in the lighter tones: First of the sky, leaving the blue atmospheric haloes around the trees. 
  3. Then filling in the sky pinholes within the dominating clump of tree’s foliage: You see if the `white’ of the sky is too bright within the pinholes, they’ll pop-out-at-you! So you interplay the tone value levels of the sky’s blue in the pinholes, until you get a comfortable `settling in’ appearance. 
  4. The grass was another inter-play of colours. Working from dark to light and using a change of brushes, eg: a scuffed fan brush, a chisel shaped brush and a thin long-haired brush.  
  5. Slash it on at first and adjust later until you get the right effect, with a few weeds in between. The interplay of colours seen from a distance thus creates a `third colour’.  
  6. And if you incorporate soft complementary colours, in your trees and grass you create atmospheric dimensions and conditions.  
  7. Some highlights and some blurred areas, until you get the right effect of the grass moving in the light breeze. And some off white highlights for the sunlight on the twigs, shiny leaves, horns, etc. 

Oh, and did you see the white dry thin log lying in front of the wildebeest and trees? And… the stump of a tree in front of the wildebeest on the right? There is even a thin twig behind them too, to their left. These little things make the scene authentic. 

The end result: I felt I had obtained the atmospheric feel to the clump of trees that I so desired. You can almost feel the possibility of birds flying in and through the tree foliage! 

Authors get paid when people like you upvote their post.
If you enjoyed what you read here, create your account today and start earning FREE STEEM!
Sort Order:  

Aw cool :) what a great area to travel. Kruger is much bigger than I expected. Looks like a gorgeous place! The crested barbet is lovely, sure is a cool looking dude! Love this coat!

Your painting as always is super engaging. I love they layering texture and how you’ve managed to capture depth/distance within it... I really feel like I’m looking into a scene! Great techniques with getting the foreground grass and distant background. You’re a very talented artist


Aaah you are the only one so far who actually acknowledged it been a Crested barbet. And the fact he has a different `coat' than the Black-collared barbet, he is still a cool dude!

Actually, The crested barbet is a sub-Saharan bird in the Lybiidae family...
Especially, their body color is amazing...
However, nice photography my dear @artguru
Have a good day


Thanks for reading the fact it is a Crested barbet, and not a Black-collared barbet as others read it.
Also thank you for adding additional facts to it's terrain and family connections.
And it's colouring maybe crazy, but real cool!

So very exciting post and I appreciate your all post..I think this place is your most favourite.Outing is more critical in our health.Your brain to much fresh.You feel great.Barbet looks so beautiful.Natural excellence dependably draws in the peoples.And see your painting.Really your are best artist.Wildebeest looks so brilliant in the painting.Very delightful mixes of clours.


I wish you could see the original oil painting of the wildebeest. Having to reduce the pixels spoils it and makes the grass look weird.

Wow!! I think ,,this is the really enjoyable travel.. Besides,,All your photography looks so beautiful Dear@artguru..
Have a safe trip..
All the best..


Yes the trip was so enjoyable, that I remember so much of it, even though we went through Kruger park about 15 years ago!

I hope you are having a wonderful time!
Great Art and photography! Many beautiful bird's photography colorful. Sabie River is a river in South Africa that forms part of the Komati River System. The river is so beautiful! The place you choose for the trip. It really is a great experience! I got some inspiration knowing you did a lot. Thank you! You have to share your adventure moment.


Hi. Our trip to the Kruger park was about 15 years ago. But because we had such a wonderful time, I thought I should write about it. As to the paintings, I've always meant to paint some of the scenes, so here was my chance to do just that.

Wao I really like kruger park.I think this place is your most favourite.Outing is more important in our health.Your mind to much fresh.You feel great.Barbet looks so beautiful.Natural beauty always attracts the peoples.And see your painting.Really your are best artist.Wildebeest looks so wonderful in the painting.Very beautiful combinations of clours.Tress also looks to much beautiful.I really like your painting.You are sl enjoying your travel.I also enjoy your travel.Thanks for sharing.@artguru.


One of the reasons we enjoyed our trip through Kruger park so much, is because of our daughter's love for us, giving us this trip at a time when we really needed it.

The Crested Barbets are African endemic that are found in Botswana, Angola, Democratic, Burundi, Rwanda, Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, , South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Tanzania. Basically, they are usually seen alone but they are beautiful.


Thank you, I appreciate your your input. How the Crested barbet covers such a large area.

So love to read your posts keep up

wow .. amazing pics dear @artguru
I'm sure your trip is very beautiful
Have a great trip

Great post andTress likewise looks to much beautiful.I extremely like your painting.You are sl making the most of your travel.I additionally make the most of your movement. The Crested Barbets are looks extremely astounding..Particularly, Their substantial bill is bordered with fibers A debt of gratitude is in order for sharing..
Travel is my favourite..I constantly get a kick out of the chance to make a trip one place to another.thanks for sharing.

Kruger National Park is your most favourit place. Great to see Kruger National Park one in a week.

The Crested Barbets are looks really amazing
Especially, Their heavy bill is fringed with bristles
Thanks for sharing
Steem on!

Travel is my favourite..I always like to travel one place to another..
I think you are lot of enjoyable person..
You always travel one place to another.
Thanks a lot Dear@artguru for sharing your beautiful travel moment and photography..
Best of luck..

Such a great post. Wildebeest are big animals. Your travel eastward towards the morning sun is look so awesome. You enjoyed realy well.

Wow just a very beautiful travel photography.

Thanks for sharing..

Wow, this is great adventure.
I hope you complete your trip without any problem and enjoy your travel.
These oil painting looking so nice.
You are really good artist dear @artguru.

WOW! The original dried grass scene and your oil painting of that area is quiet similar. Applause!!

I never see bucks in real but you did explore a bit. Great

it' very very great post my dear friend @artguru

and very nice photography and great draw

the Kruger National Park is great park in afrique du sud

Krugar park is realy beautiful place. And you made such a nice views in painting.

I love barbet in your photography. I hope it will be a great sunny day.

Animal photography and painting is so beautiful.

What great second day in park. Everything is beautiful. Natural beauty is look so beautiful. Zebra are so nice.


It was our third day out in Kruger park and these were Wildebeest, not zebra.

The National Parks are a very beautiful place and animals make it well

I think you are parcel of charming individual.You generally head out one place to another.You rock Dear@artguru for sharing your lovely travel minute and photography.Such an extraordinary post. Wildebeest are enormous creatures. Your movement eastbound towards the morning sun is look so magnificent. You delighted in realy well.

Thanks for sharing your valuable post and I appreciate your adventure and this post so very informative thanks for sharing..

THE black-collared barbet is a common resident found from Jeffreys Bay in the Eastern Cape northwards throughout the whole of KZN , Eastern and, South Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and North of Botswana.

Basically, these barbets enjoy forest edge, coastal bush, riverine forest, woodland, parks and gardens.

Wow..Great experience. The place is a lot better. Travel's feelings are different. Thanks for the post.

Good adventure. Beautiful photography and nice work. Have a good day!

Sabie River is very good place. Tremendous art and lovely photography. I liked it.

very nice place and Beautiful painting <3
Kruger Park is very nice place
great post @artguru

Nice oil painting and animal photography.

Earlier you shared many pictures of this park. So far all the pictures have been very beautiful. And I hope you enjoyed this Journey a lot. It was a good time.
Thank you so much for sharing so beautiful pictures and Journey Experience.

Oh well yeah, if you are adventure like you are, you need to go slow, so that you couldn't miss the thing happening around you or may be something you came to see, usually animal fear humans and human vehicles, so whenever they see it, they hide somewhere.