On a photographical safari with children

From the arctic to Africa and back
My image of the nearly full circle rainbow above the Victoria Falls has been published in the most recent issue of Digital Photographer magazine. 
For more of my images see my website www.withinafrica.com
(c) Nicole Cambré

My image of the nearly full circle rainbow above the Victoria Falls has been published in the most recent issue of Digital Photographer magazine. 

For more of my images see my website www.withinafrica.com

(c) Nicole Cambré

On more than one occasion of my African portrait photography I violated the standard rule about being (not) close enough to my subjects. Yes, I have been too often dependent on my long lens in my case a Sigma 50-500 zoom.  In Ethiopia  we spent on average several hours a day on the road to get to our destination and I hardly could ask our guide every five minutes to stop whenever I saw an opportunity to take a picture.  As Ethiopia is such an amazingly beautiful country, there were so many photo opportunities.  It is a photographer’s heaven. I had my Nikon D3S camera in my hands in on-mode with a standard manual pre-setting of a fast shutter speed (generally 1/1600 and F 6.3 and auto ISO to compensate for the exposure) .  Yes, you may rightfully criticize that some of those images lack intimacy but I am surprised about many that came out quite good. There was no other option as my kids would have revolted if we had stopped more frequently so my choice was between not getting the shot at all or learning how to take shots out of  a moving vehicle at a speed between 50-100km/hour. 

If you are interested in seeing more of my African images, I kindly in invite you to my website www.withinafrica.com

Kenya :The Planning for Day 1: From Nairobi to Ol Pejeta Conservancy

On our first dray we will be driving approximately 220 km north from Nairobi towards the Ol Pejeta Conservency.  We should be able to do this trip in about three hours. We will be only 14 km away from the Equator.

Ol Pejeta conservancy hosts since December 2009 four of the worldwide only seven remaining northern white rhinos.  They are constantly protected by armed guards as can be seen in the link of my previous post. 

Only two cars a day are allowed into the rhino sanctuary.  Ol Pejeta is also the only place in Kenya where chimpanzees can be seen. Many of the 42 chimpanzees  in the  sanctuary were rescued from traumatic situations and are nursed back to health.  

In Ol Pejeta there is also a chance to spot the very rare wild dog or Africa painted wolf. A group of 14 wild dogs is living in the conservancy. So far we failed to spot them in Zambia and Botswana so we do not have very high hopes of actually seeing them in Kenya.  The wild dog would be nr 1 on my tick list if I were to have one but as I indicated in my previous post this is not the case.  

We plan on staying overnight in a tented camp in the centre of the conservancy. 

Kenya in the wet season

Why would we want to go to Kenya during April in middle of the long rains season? We can expect heavy downpours of rain that time of the year and the grass is high so it is not going to be that easy to spot animals. 

It may well be because I am not a very social person and a lion in the Masai Mara in July or August with twenty+ cars surrounding it may not fit my definition of a true wildlife wilderness experience. Masai Mara is not even included into our itinerary for this upcoming trip. Do not get me wrong the Masai Mara is a great national park and during our first Kenya trip in 2011 we saw the big five in a single day. We were also very lucky to be there on the first day when the wildebeest actually started crossing the Mara river.

On our third day ever in sub-Saharan Africa the highlights on any safari tick list (big five, cheetahs, the big migration) had been completed.  Not that we had such a list in the first place but after having crossed off the obligatory “must see” we were ready to move to the next stage of “want do’s” to explore Africa in more depth and at its own pace.

Ethiopia is such a beautiful country and as we are going back to Ethiopia in August 2013 to visit the tribes of the Omo valley I would have loved to cross the Ethiopia-Kenya border and travel through northern-Kenya but we skipped that idea as we felt that the area on the Kenyan side around lake Turkana was not safe enough especially as we travel with children.

With having been only five days in Kenya so far there is so much more to explore. We will still travel up north and cross the Equator but only as far north as Samburu game reserve which will be the main focus of this trip. Perhaps we get the opportunity to visit some villages in the area to get a glimpse of the culture of the Samburu and Turkana tribes. 

So why Kenya in the wet season? I do have a passion for photography and while a sleeping lion under a clear blue sky remains nice to see, photographing animals in the rain or under clouds may add an additional element of drama.

Even some clouds may be sufficient as evidenced by the world press photo in the link included below. Not that I have any such far reaching ambitions and if the sun shines during the entire trip we won’t be unhappy either. Nothing is predictible on any African trip and that is just the beauty of it.