My Instructional Wildlife Photo Tour to Kenya, Africa was a huge success with more photo opportunities than I have ever experienced in the past or could have even imagined or hoped for. The mystery and lure of Africa doesn’t ever seem to diminish for me, even after five trips. This trip was a wildlife photographer’s dream as each day got better than the last day, which is extremely gratifying when leading a tour and seeing my participants as thrilled as I was with their experiences.
On the very first day on safari in Samburu, the call came into my lead driver, Paul, that a leopard had been sighted. I breathed a sigh of relief believing this was a good omen for the beginning of our trip. And it was!! For the next 18 days of shooting in Samburu and the Mara, we were blessed with fabulous opportunities of photographing lions on a kill, at a waterhole, or playing; or the phenomenon of a wildebeest crossing with the Nile crocks lurking nearby. I haven’t had time to finalize my count of the various bird species we photographed, but I suspect it’s well over 30. Just to watch the various species of vultures (Lappet-faced, Hooded, Egyptian, Ruppell’s, & White-backed to name a few) hanging around & interacting in groups at a lion kill waiting for an opportunity to snatch up a piece of meat is a great experience, but photographing it up close with the big lenses is breathtaking. I became convinced that Mother Nature is a ‘romantic’ as I watched the beautiful courtship and mating dance of the Somali Ostrich. Photographing the Wart Hog parents interact with their many little piglets is a “hoot”, and witnessing the Thomson’s Gazelle mom nursing her newly born baby while a young male lion looks on from the tall grasses stirs a myriad of emotions.
No one can deny the Africa scenics are powerful and beautiful, which is a strong draw for me to that continent. The vastness and seemingly unending horizon brings one to the reality of how very small we are in the overall scheme of things. A closer look around our African surroundings (and other parts of the world) will also reap the understanding of how we are all somehow connected, which must be the reason why so many of us feel at home out there in the middle of the African wilderness.
I’m always a bit sad as my safaris draw to a close because I know it will probably be another year before I’ll be back. The last morning out on our game drive proved to be an exception because suddenly out of nowhere appeared mama cheetah and her cub!! I was thinking to myself that “it just can’t get any better than this” when she suddenly jumped up on a big termite mound (with baby following), going into the famous cheetah stance (for at least a four roll or a ½ to 1 gig amount of time), then lay down with baby by her side for another hour’s worth of filming.
Because our vans carried only two photographers per vehicle, accommodating our big lenses and camera gear was easy, which in turn, made image-making less difficult than the normal experience. Enjoy some more of my images as well as some of my students’ and safari participants’ images in my website’s African gallery and Student’s gallery and forum. Love to hear your comments and/or submit some of your images for all to enjoy.
Next year’s African photo safari is already in the planning stages and will take place in mid August.
A quick reminder about the Titusville Nature and Wildlife Birding Festival coming up November 17th where I will have a booth and be giving three instructional wildlife photo tour and a slide presentation. Visit www.spacecoastbirding.com and/or www.nbbd.com