Into Africa

Marc MuenchMarc Muench Artist in ResidencePosts: 1,420Registered Users Major grins
edited December 23, 2011 in Journeys
No CF card will ever be large enough for an African safari!

In the 13 days on safari in Kenya we sited and photographed over 100 species of animals: mammals, birds, reptiles. In just one day we sited over 40 lions. On another over 25 types of birds.

There were many times where, at one single location from the jeep, there were over 3 totally different images to be taken, all equally compelling.

Andy Williams and I lead a workshop through three wildlife preserves in Kenya with the guidance by veteran safari guide James Robertson of Ker & Downey. Ten guests accompanied us along with guides David, Sean, Tari and many Maasai guides from their local regions. I will be expounding on all their talents as this post continues in the hopes of sharing with you the quality of the people involved.

After flying from London together, we met with James and Abigail at their home and guest quarters called the "Hog House"

i-GcvWHDQ-M.jpg


i-PvTp3Rc-M.jpg

Throughout this structure, which James built himself, are tree trunks, branches and fanciful cut pieces of wood for all the built in furniture, stairs and decks. Just behind me is their private Giraffe preserve. ( Like I said most of the time there are multiple pictures to be taken from one vantage point )
Just before dinner one of the participants, Chris Roberts, all the way from Australia, met up with us to stay the Hog House. James and Abigail took the three of us on a walk through the preserve and between the many paths leading through the dense bush. As the light got dim on the way back for dinner the woods became a bit spooky especially for Andy. Just after asking James what lives in the holes in the ground....... a mad angry Wart Hog jumped out at him. I promise you the Wart Hog was just as scarred as Andy! The workshop was off to a great start! :wink

The next morning we were off to the airport where we met up with all the others for our short flight to Lewa Downs.
James assisted others with failed attempts to describe the type of photographers on this trip.......
i-Rw9nG4K-M.jpg


Fred, Jim, Jacques, Lars and Kathy all on their way to meet me on the tarmac in Nairobi.
i-svKdt8D-S.jpg

Soon all were aboard Air Muench to Lewa Downs, flying right over Mt. Kenya.
i-PS9msBk-M.jpg

The plane ride was spectacular and we all were given a brief glimpse at the hidden world of Mt. Kenya with its rain forest filled with endemic plants.
i-vRMdRsj-M.jpg

Soon we were back on the ground being greeted by the local Maasai.
i-WRV8379-M.jpg


More luggage issues!
i-HG5mfwh-M.jpg

Moments after being told to stay in the vehicles these girls forgot:D
I do think James was showing them a tortoise.
i-QB46gJG-M.jpg


After a brief ride in the jeeps we checked into our digs at Lewa Downs.
i-59C3GxX-M.jpg

A Maasai coming to save us from melting
i-HmV9pmZ-M.jpg

After a brief rain during lunch we were off to see the lions play on the savannah!
i-MV3gLQZ-X2.jpg

I know you expect this to happen while on safari but when it finally does after many hours of travel something happened to my mind. I suddenly felt as though the rest of the entire world did not exist. All that is, is in front of me! Wild lions in their environment is one of the most memorable sites of the entire trip. To have the opportunity to view this on the very first afternoon of safari was surreal. My camera was working, thank God for the auto focus and zoom and and and, I got this picture. I dont even recall looking at the settings or thinking about composition or considering bracketing or pressing the shutter at all :huh

Andy and I will be posting many more stories and pics in this thread so be sure to subscribe to it.
«13

Comments

  • AndyAndy Bicameral New YorkPosts: 60,808Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 21, 2011
    I'm awash in images, and with a family wedding tomorrow, haven't even started processing but I promise stories and pics to come! clap.gif
  • zacHer0zacHer0 Support Hero Posts: 655Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 21, 2011
    Subscribed!
    Zac Williams
    Support Hero
  • eoren1eoren1 Major grins Posts: 2,429Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 21, 2011
    Is my EXIF lying to me or is that lion shot taken with the Powershot S90 eek7.gif
  • ian408ian408 More wag. Less Bark. Posts: 21,214Administrators moderator
    edited October 21, 2011
    Awesome! Look forward to more :)
    Moderator Journeys/Sports/Big Picture :: Need some help with dgrin?
  • jwwjww UniverseUnderConstruction Posts: 449Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 21, 2011
    Most cool! Thanks for sharing!

    ..have to subscribe to this one! mwink.gif
  • HarrybHarryb old and lazy Posts: 22,718Super Moderators moderator
    edited October 21, 2011
    It was a phenomenal trip Marc & Andy. It was a joy to take part in and to meet and spend some time with you.
    Harry
    http://behret.smugmug.com/ NANPA member
    How many photographers does it take to change a light bulb? 50. One to change the bulb, and forty-nine to say, "I could have done that better!"
  • ZanottiZanotti Improving Daily Posts: 1,409Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 21, 2011
    Again, WOW!

    Super stuff. Field of dreams kind of stuff!
    It is the purpose of life that each of us strives to become actually what he is potentially. We should be obsessed with stretching towards that goal through the world we inhabit.
  • FlyNavyFlyNavy John L Posts: 1,347Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 21, 2011
    Andy wrote: »
    I'm awash in images, and with a family wedding tomorrow, haven't even started processing but I promise stories and pics to come! clap.gif

    Andy, Plz bring your pics to PDN next week!
  • rainbowrainbow Major grins Posts: 2,757Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 21, 2011
    African safari is on my short bucket list... Looking forward to the entire series.
  • kdogkdog artistically challenged San Jose, CAPosts: 10,999Administrators moderator
    edited October 22, 2011
    :lurk
  • bfjrbfjr Which Way Did They Go Posts: 10,980Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 22, 2011
    Man wish I was in the Jeep as well but I'm in for the ride here and looking forward to it!
  • coldclimbcoldclimb Outside the Lines Posts: 1,170Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 22, 2011
    Looking forward to lots more from all of you!
    John Borland
    www.morffed.com
  • ChrisJChrisJ Major grins Posts: 2,139Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 23, 2011
    :lurk bowdown.gif
    Chris
  • AndyAndy Bicameral New YorkPosts: 60,808Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 23, 2011
    It's really hard to put how wonderful this experience was into words... but I'll try! We started our Safari at Lewa, which is caretaken by the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and home to a smorgasbord of mammals, birds and reptiles. A great way to start, as we lived for three days in total luxury at Lewa Wilderness Trails and had twice daily game drives, early morning star and sunrise shoots, and wonderful hospitality.

    Rhinos are of course endangered but still rather safe here at Lewa - and we found them aplenty. I love how many of the mammals have passengers!
    IMG0449-L.jpg

    Here too, we encountered our first cats (in fact, I think we saw and photographed The Big 5 on our first day!)
    IMG6354-L.jpg

    Lewa had giraffes, of course, and these are difficult animals to shoot! Here I opted for a closeup
    IMG1472-L.jpg

    I was able to shoot more birds in one day than I've done in my whole life I think!
    IMG6734-L.jpg

    IMG1958-L.jpg

    Back in the vehicles again, and we found our first Cheetah:
    IMG2439-L.jpg

    Carefully, if you get out of the vehicle and don't show the animals your silhouette, you can get down on the ground and shoot the animals from their level, making for much more dramatic shots - this is a beautiful Water Buck:
    IMG1820-L.jpg

    After a hard morning of shooting, breakfast out in field
    IMG3180-L.jpg

    IMG3186-L.jpg

    IMG3218-L.jpg

    Here are Sarah, Chris and Vicki shooting from the vehicle at Lewa:
    IMG3157-L.jpg

    Mid-day, when the light is harshest, we have lunch and then we do critiques and instruction:
    IMG3225-L.jpg


    ...more to come!
  • pmaxwellpmaxwell Major grins Posts: 129Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 23, 2011
    incredible! The experience must have been fantastic
  • Awais YaqubAwais Yaqub One Inspired soul Posts: 10,464Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 23, 2011
    awesome waiting for more and more!
    Thine is the beauty of light; mine is the song of fire. Thy beauty exalts the heart; my song inspires the soul. Allama Iqbal

    Gallery
  • MakeMeShutterMakeMeShutter Guest Posts: 386Unregistered / Not Logged In Major grins
    edited October 24, 2011
    Just Wow!
    What a fantastic looking trip.
  • schmooschmoo word nerd Posts: 8,468Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 24, 2011
    Amazing! And now the weekend is over. :D Next chapter please! :lurk
  • SnowgirlSnowgirl Major grins Posts: 2,155Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 24, 2011
    Sighhhhhhh!
    Creating visual and verbal images that resonate with you.
    http://www.imagesbyceci.com
    http://www.facebook.com/ImagesByCeci
    Picadilly, NB, Canada
  • HarrybHarryb old and lazy Posts: 22,718Super Moderators moderator
    edited October 24, 2011
    Great stuff Marc and Andy. clap.gif
    Harry
    http://behret.smugmug.com/ NANPA member
    How many photographers does it take to change a light bulb? 50. One to change the bulb, and forty-nine to say, "I could have done that better!"
  • AndyAndy Bicameral New YorkPosts: 60,808Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 24, 2011
    This was cool, (photo by Vicky Womack): I got out of the vehicle, and James our guide, just took off lol3.gif leaving me with the Giraffes
    20111025-trs4r2g2kufh7unftmxf383b3e.jpg
  • ian408ian408 More wag. Less Bark. Posts: 21,214Administrators moderator
    edited October 24, 2011
    This last shot reminds me of the panoramas in Out of Africa. Simply gorgeous.
    Moderator Journeys/Sports/Big Picture :: Need some help with dgrin?
  • Marc MuenchMarc Muench Artist in Residence Posts: 1,420Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 25, 2011
    eoren1 wrote: »
    Is my EXIF lying to me or is that lion shot taken with the Powershot S90 eek7.gif
    Laughing.gif, maybe a pimped out S90:D It was taken with the Nikon D3s and 200-400.
  • schmooschmoo word nerd Posts: 8,468Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 25, 2011
    Andy wrote: »
    This was cool, (photo by Vicky Womack): I got out of the vehicle, and James our guide, just took off lol3.gif leaving me with the Giraffes

    Don't lie in the giraffe poop!
  • Marc MuenchMarc Muench Artist in Residence Posts: 1,420Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 26, 2011
    Every night was filled with laughter, food and fun! One always had to keep their eyes open......

    20111026-qff9gssjm49anpsq5ktpn4y9y3.jpg

    Speaking of drinks, how about a "Power cocktail" ?
    i-rW2f2cX-M.jpg


    One of the Maasai and his decorations. Those are flowers on the top, so cool!
    i-jmcbPBH-M.jpg


    After the lights went out and bed time rolled around there was still shootin to be done, right from our porch.
    i-nN9CJKg-L.jpg


    Then we woke up a few hours later for a "tree drive" that is we lined up some Acacia Trees with stars and later with the sunrise.
    i-jB6mkLx-XL.jpg


    More coffee was had to keep everyone from wondering off into a lion or something.....
    Jacques with "french coffee in hand" The French know when the good light is over and it's time to drink!
    i-PgSKVhK-M.jpg


    I understand many are crazy about he mammals in Africa, but I could not stay away from the amazing variety of Acacia trees that filled my view finder with brand knew compositions all day long.
    i-xpGbKCB-L.jpg



    i-dmtrwgg-XL.jpg


    We did manage to locate some mammals though, in fact here is one image with two types of zebras ( Grevy and Plains ) and an elephant to boot.
    i-Zg9hcSB-XL.jpg


    On this day I rode with the girls "Lucky me" that is until they all formed a mutiny and demanded we find the nearest loo. Guide, Dave Simpson made a stink then finally being out numbered three to two we drove back to a nearby ranch. It just turned out that on the way we ran into these Baboons. Thank you Sarah, Chris and Vickyrolleyes1.gif
    i-Nrb7BgF-L.jpg


    It is hard to imagine this dirt road being a happy commute but that is just what it is. These three Kenyan woman are on their way into work, singing and dancing the whole way.
    i-ftP3dtJ-L.jpg

    Once back in the park there were just way too many animals to photograph.

    i-JRTHHHx-L.jpg

    i-7DH3P4n-L.jpg

    i-PTRs454-L.jpg

    i-DHJdn7D-L.jpg

    i-M8Z2p3d-L.jpg


    While others were flying I took a walk up into a cave with Simon and Jim Pickrell. The cave was lined with Candelabra trees which made for dramatic surrounding and the views were wonderful.
    i-JDLnmWT-L.jpg

    i-FJQ6wfJ-L.jpg

    There were many rodent bones from an eagle that had been feasting for years.
    i-RTrHBFn-L.jpg

    i-SR75zS3-L.jpg

    Jim on a termite moundthumb.gif
    i-jrRzpG5-L.jpg

    It got dark soon after but just when we thought we could head back to camp a herd of elephants walked through the scene.
    i-jggGQ37-L.jpg

    And then the light got even better.......
    i-8xRdsDF-L.jpg

    Dinner was finally had, followed by a long and arduous critmwink.gif
  • ian408ian408 More wag. Less Bark. Posts: 21,214Administrators moderator
    edited October 26, 2011
    Some great images in the new addition thumb.gif
    Moderator Journeys/Sports/Big Picture :: Need some help with dgrin?
  • kdogkdog artistically challenged San Jose, CAPosts: 10,999Administrators moderator
    edited October 26, 2011
    Really great stuff. The animal pictures are just superb.
  • SamSam San Jose CA Posts: 7,418Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 26, 2011
    This thread brings out tremendous conflict within myself. There is a portion of myself that is jealous and sad that most likely I will never experience anything like your trip.

    Then there is the other part that is totally enthralled with your images and commentary. I look forward to more images and tall tales.

    One question I do have is while I have never been to Africa I have been in the woods once or twice, and viewing your breakfast layout I was surprised there weren't like a billion insects. Was this Africa or a Hollywood movie stage?

    Keep the images and posts coming!

    Sam
  • AndyAndy Bicameral New YorkPosts: 60,808Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 26, 2011
    Sam wrote: »
    I was surprised there weren't like a billion insects. m

    There were really no insects at all in Kenya - not in Lewa, not in the Mara, not in Amboselli. Oh you'd see the odd fly here and there, but nothing to write home about. The flies are much worse here in the US.
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter Posts: 13,980Super Moderators moderator
    edited October 26, 2011
    I did not come home with a single mosquito bite after 13 days in Kenya, half of them spent along the Talek river in Rokero camp.

    We actually talked about how few bugs we saw while eating lunch along the Mara river and watching the hippos down below in the water. The temps varied from mid 60s to maybe a high in the mid 80s just a couple days. At noon the sun was warm on the skin as we were 1.25 degrees south of the equator, and had 4 bars of cell signal on my iPhone...

    No bugs, pleasant temperatures, and glorious scenery.

    Here are the lat and long from my iPhone
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
«13
Sign In or Register to comment.