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Marie Knock
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Amateur wildlife photographer fuelled by wanderlust and a desire to see the world. C-founder of Taraji Blue, our photography, website & video production label. http://www.tarajiblue.com
Amateur wildlife photographer fuelled by wanderlust and a desire to see the world. C-founder of Taraji Blue, our photography, website & video production label. http://www.tarajiblue.com

452 followers
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Hi all, I have been doing a bit of admin and have merged my google accounts. I am no longer active in google plus on this account but I am now operating at https://plus.google.com/u/0/109753865843215863550/posts

If you have previously circled me, the transition will take into account my new profile....this post is for anyone new who is just viewing this post / account.

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Fuelled by caffeine and excitement we were always up and out early on our  holiday in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. On this special day we'd headed out towards the Auob riverbed seeking big cats.  We'd barely been out and about an hour when we stopped dead in our tracks having spotted the unmistakable silhouette of two cheetahs high on the riverbank. Cast into shadow by the rising sun, the cheetahs were clearly on the prowl. Feeling lucky we decided there and then to take a gamble and we drove off in the direction the cheetahs were heading to find the closest herd of animals in the hope that the cheetahs would join us for breakfast later. We cracked open the Thermos and enjoyed strong coffee and rusks surrounded by a herd of wildebeest and our patience paid off - an hour later we saw two shadows on the top of the riverbank but we barely had time to register their presence before they took off at speed toward the herd, causing utter chaos and panic both inside our car and out. We scrambled for our cameras and threw ourselves towards our open windows to capture the moment. After a few seconds of chaos the cheetah locked onto one wildebeest and started to drive him away from the herd and straight towards us. Heart pounding, I took my eye away from the lens to see the cheetah running toward us at full speed and we realised she was not going to deter her path. Ali swore, I screamed and the wildebeest roared...the car filled with dust from the chase and for a second we could see nothing - we could only hear the panting of the cheetah by our side as she captured and suffocated the wildebeest right next to us. Absolutely incredible!

#africantuesday  +African Tuesday curated by +Morkel Erasmus and +Johan Swanepoel 
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It's world elephant day today, here I recall my first encounter with a wild elephant...

For many, our relationship with these vulnerable giants begins as a child. Whether it's a fleeting glimpse of an elephant at a zoo, or an introduction to the species though nature documentaries, it's hard not to be mesmerised by these giants of the African Savannah. But nothing, yet nothing compares to your first sighting of an elephant in the wild. It's an experience guaranteed to catapult you back to childhood, to an age when adults towered

over you and elephants were the largest giants to roam the planet. A time when you perceived elephants to be so large that you'd have to crane your neck to glimpse the sky above their bulk.

So dominant, so overwhelming. You'll struggle to take a breath the first time a wild elephant walks by. Rooted to the spot you'll want to reach out, overwhelmed yet unafraid of the magnamity that is this wild beast. You'll notice details you never have before. The long, seductive eyelashes, slowly fluttering to protect the tiniest of eyes. The whiskers protruding from the mouth, drawing further attention to the stature and age of the matriarch. The minimalist tail, naked but for a few tatty end hairs which the young cling onto.

As the elephant ambles by, you'll notice the plodding nature of the giant feet and your attention will be drawn to the footprints left behind in the sand, their size somewhat magnified as the youngest of the herd gingerly follow in the elders' footsteps. It's almost hard to spot the smallest among the herd. So protective, so loving, the elder females will encourage the young to walk in the centre, ever mindful of potential dangers yet seemingly oblivious to the risks of such small and fragile frames underfoot. Morphing between giddy with excitement and shy and retiring, each elephant calf will transform before your very eyes as they gain confidence with each step and they explore new landscapes.

The trust that these young have in their elders is evidence in their body language, their cries and their gazes. Reaching up to the sky with what little strength and trunk control they have, the youngest fondly caress the trunk and mouth of stooping elders. With delightful squeals and a skip underfoot, they exhibit a freedom and a soul that's seemingly untouched and unrivalled by humans.

This is how an elephant's life should start.

Extract from the TarajiBlue book, Vulnerable Giants. http://www.tarajiblue.com/books/
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It's world elephant day today, here I recall my first encounter with a wild elephant...

For many, our relationship with these vulnerable giants begins as a child. Whether it's a fleeting glimpse of an elephant at a zoo, or an introduction to the species though nature documentaries, it's hard not to be mesmerised by these giants of the African Savannah. But nothing, yet nothing compares to your first sighting of an elephant in the wild. It's an experience guaranteed to catapult you back to childhood, to an age when adults towered

over you and elephants were the largest giants to roam the planet. A time when you perceived elephants to be so large that you'd have to crane your neck to glimpse the sky above their bulk.

So dominant, so overwhelming. You'll struggle to take a breath the first time a wild elephant walks by. Rooted to the spot you'll want to reach out, overwhelmed yet unafraid of the magnamity that is this wild beast. You'll notice details you never have before. The long, seductive eyelashes, slowly fluttering to protect the tiniest of eyes. The whiskers protruding from the mouth, drawing further attention to the stature and age of the matriarch. The minimalist tail, naked but for a few tatty end hairs which the young cling onto.

As the elephant ambles by, you'll notice the plodding nature of the giant feet and your attention will be drawn to the footprints left behind in the sand, their size somewhat magnified as the youngest of the herd gingerly follow in the elders' footsteps. It's almost hard to spot the smallest among the herd. So protective, so loving, the elder females will encourage the young to walk in the centre, ever mindful of potential dangers yet seemingly oblivious to the risks of such small and fragile frames underfoot. Morphing between giddy with excitement and shy and retiring, each elephant calf will transform before your very eyes as they gain confidence with each step and they explore new landscapes.

The trust that these young have in their elders is evidence in their body language, their cries and their gazes. Reaching up to the sky with what little strength and trunk control they have, the youngest fondly caress the trunk and mouth of stooping elders. With delightful squeals and a skip underfoot, they exhibit a freedom and a soul that's seemingly untouched and unrivalled by humans.

This is how an elephant's life should start.

Extract from the TarajiBlue book, Vulnerable Giants. http://www.tarajiblue.com/books/
#worldelephantday   #elephantwednesday   #elephantfriday   #elephant   #africantuesday  
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We dedicate this week's 'Close Encounter' post to NASA's Curiosity (The Mars Rover) who landed successfully yesterday morning circa 6:31am...may it roam, explore and inspire us all in the same way these brave astronauts on NASA's last ever night shuttle launched inspired us.... 

http://www.tarajiblue.com/2012/08/close-encounters-with-another-world/

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Looking forward to the men's 100m sprint tonight?

Whilst we wait, check out these cheetahs running up to 62mph in three seconds!! Lets hope they're not on the starting line against our country's athletes.

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This is a re-share of a previus blog post, but it is a memory so precious to me and fits perfectly with the TarajiBlue theme of ‘Close Encounter’s…

I love nothing more than encountering new wildlife when on holidays, and my ultimate favourite has to been the Floridian manatee…

My first encounter with a manatee was during a trip to SeaWorld, Florida when much younger. My family and I immediately fell in love with these giant gentle beasts of the rivers. I recall standing in a circular underground theatre in SeaWorld, watching a film narrated by a wee girl who had spotted a strange animal in the water. Her father explained it was a manatee and invited us all to walk through to doors at the back of the room to meet one for ourselves. There we entered an underground aquarium and behind a 20 foot high glass wall a manatee ‘hung’ in the water, flipper bent and its face scarred from a collision with a outboard motor. I immediately fell in love with the animal and was enraptured by its gentle gaze, its comforting presence and its vulnerability. I was rooted to the spot for an hour, refusing to be moved by tour groups, parents or officials. There and then, with tears in my eyes, I named it my most favourite animal and vouched never to forget it as it rotated slowly, round and round in the water, powered by the one working flipper it had. That’s when my manatee obsession started.
You can only imagine, therefore, how ecstatic I was when, 20 years or so later, I had the opportunity to swim with manatees in the wild for my 30th birthday. It was a dream come true and I struggled to keep my emotions in check both during the experience and in the build up to it.

Read on @ TarjiBlue
#wildlifewednesday  
#wildlifephotography   #manatee   #underwater   #underwaterphotography   #underwaterthursday   #closeencounters  

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This one's for #reptilemonday  and macro monday,  #macromonday   curated by +Kelli Seeger Kim +Kerry Murphy +Jennifer Eden 

I have called it 'Boo'. It's a tiny wee lizard who came to visit us in France last year. I spent a lot of time around him and he eventually became a little more accustomed to my presence and allowed me to take a macro shot of him

#lizard   #wildlifewednesday   #wildlife   #reptilethursday   #reptile  
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I wouldn't want to put anyone off their dinner by sharing this picture of this guy having his :) 

(This was the aftermath of the Great Migration which we witnessed in Kenya a few years back. This croc is enjoying munching on a wildbeest after catching and drowning it, before twisting it to shreds.)
#crocodile   #wildlifewednesday   #wildlifephotography   #wildlife  
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