Longleat Safari Park with my new Pentax KS1 Camera

Happy New Year guys…blah blah blah, etc, etc.

Let’s get straight down to business. Business being – my first post of 2015! And it’s a nice, long one too…mainly due to the fact that I have a BRAND NEW CAMERA…yup a brand new camera that, oh you know, I casually won on Twitter. (insert excited emoji face here).

That’s right everyone, I’m one of THOSE people. One of those people who enter competitions for things they really want and actually wins. Yup little old me won something!

I couldn’t believe it when I got the notification from the lovely people at Ricoh Imaging to tell me that I was their chosen one AND that a brand spanking new Pentax KS1 would be winging it’s way to me in the next couple of days. I mean just look at it…

It’s a proper bloody camera, a digital SLR (whatever that means) and it’s miiiiiiine. ALL MIIIIIINE.

I can’t say I wasn’t apprehensive when it first arrived (I have a fairly tragic history where cameras are concerned – stolen, dropped, stolen, broken, stolen, given away to a stranger – eeek) my dad definitely assumed it wouldn’t last two minutes in my somewhat cursed hands so I vowed to look after this one and leave it at home whenever I may be somewhere alcohol is involved. (Alcohol always seemed to be present when something happened to my previous cameras – funny that?)

As such my shiny new SLR sat in it’s little box until the 30th December. For the two weeks previous to that date I’d pretty much been in a constant state of inebriation – bloody Christmas for ya! – t’was the season after all. However on the 30th I was sober and suffering from a touch of cabin fever whilst staying at my parents in Dorset. My excitable, animal loving older sister consequently suggested a girls day out for me, her and my mum where I could test out my non-existent photography skills. Yay.

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We packed ourselves a picnic, that consisted of cheddar & gouda babybels, chocolate buttons and a bottle of Prosecco – all the essentials! (umm and what was that I said about my camera and alcohol?) and drove 20 minutes to Longleat Safari park in Wiltshire; where I had big ideas about becoming the next Wildlife Photographer of the Year with my new Pentax KS1.

(ahem, get ready for an onslaught of photos)

The day couldn’t have been more perfect weather wise, the sky was a smashing bright blue and completely cloudless. And amazingly the snazzy Pentax KS1 has a setting for just this. Yup…the setting is literally called ‘Blue Sky’ – so naturally I flicked to this setting and took my first landscape snap…

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Not bad eh?

Once inside the park we joined the queue of cars and set about making our way round each enclosure to see the animals. Fun fact for you – Longleat was the first drive through safari park in the UK.

We drove past Zebras, Flamingos and these gorgeous Tapirs who were only too happy to pose for a few photos.

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We made sure we paid close attention to the signs…

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…Because none of us fancied being someone’s next meal.

Soon we were approaching the Monkey enclosure. A risky little spot. The monkeys are notorious for pulling off windscreen wipers, number plates and anything else that’s loose on your car. It’s definitely a case of proceed with caution!!

This little guy spotted us straight away…

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And was first on the car to see what he could find…

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Thankfully we weren’t the only targets!

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But it was great to be up close and personal…

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Uh oh…what are these two plotting?

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This guy wanted in on the action too…maybe he was coming over to give the windows a much needed clean?

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Check out his pal going for a lucky dip on this poor car!

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We eventually escaped the monkey enclosure…relatively unscathed – they had pulled out the rubber pipping along the top of my sister’s car BUT it could have been a lot worse.

How cute are these little monkey footprints.

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Next we were off to spot with the Camels, the Ostriches and some Reindeer.

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It’s just like Jurassic Park…minus the scary dinosaurs.

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The whole way round I was flicking between settings on my Pentax KS1 – pressing buttons, changing the shutter speed, trying things out and generally getting it wrong! Turns out I know nothing about fancy cameras so all these pictures are total blags. Still it was fun pretending I knew what I was doing.

Next up were the Rhinos…

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And then it was time for the bit we’d all been waiting for….THE BIG CATS.

We rolled up to the gate and ensured all the windows were tightly shut.

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We were a little worried about being so close to such powerful animals…

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First up were the tigers.

We scanned the enclosure to see if we could spot any…

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This guy was relaxing in the distance…can you see him?

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We drove round slowly, hoping to catch a better glimpse.

And then we spotted another Tiger that was on the move!!!

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We continued on through Big Cat country and headed into the Lion’s Den.

We quickly spotted a lioness.

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and we followed her around the enclosure to see the rest of her pack…

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Where we all got a ‘little’ snap happy…

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We moved on into the next enclosure and were wowed to see even more Lions.

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Including some baby ones…

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and the King himself.

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Isn’t he majestic!

And then sadly we were out of the Safari park…and heading down to Longleat House.

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I took A LOAD more pictures of the grounds and few more animals but I feel that I should pop them in another post as this one is already pretty hefty, stay tuned guys!

To be continued…


Thanks for reading!

Harry x

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