Airline travel continues to be a huge challenge in general, but throw in the camera gear concerns and the challenges become almost overwhelming. After tons of research, I still can find no better way to get to Nairobi, Kenya than by flying British Air out of Miami to Heathrow, England and on to Kenyatta Airport. It’s a pain no matter how you slice it. This year was no exception---well--- the BA employees have gotten meaner and ruder! Hopefully this is a “knee jerk reaction” to the latest terrorists threats and not a new flaw in humanity! Either way, it is unnecessary and makes everyone involved feel uncomfortable and nervous. The rules change by the hour, and also by the country that you happen to be standing in at that moment, and probably, also at which airport you are in at that moment. My best advice is that before you travel, go to the airline’s website that you are traveling on and check out their latest updated rules. This year there was absolutely NO choice but to ‘check’ all our camera gear and carry on one laptop-sized bag. At the last minute I bought a very expensive, heavy duty Briggs & Riley laptop bag on wheels which held my laptop and all it’s cords etc., one camera body (EOS 1 D, Mark 11), one lens (70-200mm), four CF cards, adapters for electrical outlets in Africa, my camera’s battery charger, my medicines (in their prescription bottles), my paperwork, a book, extra pair of glasses, I-pod, and a prayer thanking the Almighty that the bag was on wheels. At the British Air check-in desk, feeling like a criminal, I bade all my gear farewell (while trying to remember if I paid my camera gear insurance premiums on time), simultaneously praying I wasn’t one ounce overweight by their scales or I’d have to repack right there on the spot. Then it’s time to head off toward the gate for another humiliating experience going through security. Whether you are going to be ‘frisked’ or not is a “toss of the dice”; my number came up often, but my tube of chapstick, which I accidentally wadded up in some Kleenix tissue in my pant’s pocket arrived safely in Africa! Go figure. One group member bought a bag at Target, which met BA’s size requirements, and packed his 600mm lens, a camera body, flash attachments, battery charger etc. Even though the most recent news about baggage loss has been very grim, all our gear arrived safely and on time. I guess we were very lucky. In a few weeks, I’ll be heading off to Quito, Ecuador for my rain forest- cloud forest tour flying on American Airlines. We shall see what airline adventures that trip will reap!
This year’s tour was just as fascinating and rewarding as years past. The weather was almost perfect most of the time, and the wildlife exciting and abundant. We were rewarded with a rare opportunity to photograph the elusive, and seldom seen, leopard, had fun photographing three lion cubs romping playfully, experienced the wondrous Great Migration of the wildebeest and their chaotic crossing, saw groups of hyenas with their young pups, and for me, my first time seeing a colony of dwarf mongoose that appeared to be playing ‘hide and seek’ in a wood pile!
For me, the trip to the Ngorongoro Crater was a big disappointment as there were many roads closed off (not mentioned to the public prior to entering the crater), and there is apparently a new policy (not advertised or mentioned anywhere that I could find prior to arriving at the gate) charging each vehicle $100.00 per half-day visit, which is a $75.00 increase! I remembered in the past we were always permitted to drive in and back out of the crater for lunch, then going back down after lunch if our ticket was stamped. Today it would have been an additional $100.00 for the afternoon! When I asked the rangers why this change, I received a rather rude, abrupt, inexplicable response. The world is changing…….. The hippo pool was as fruitful as I remembered it to be ten years ago, and the flocks of the gorgeous crown cranes a delight to shoot, as well as wonderful scenics, but I will not be returning to the Crater anytime soon, or until I’m assured that we will be able to travel the roads to see the wildlife and that I don’t have ‘to sell my first born’ in order to afford it!
THE PANTANAL PHOTO TOUR 2007
Two openings are available. For further details visit my website: www.joannewilliamsphoto.com and go to the Tours and Safaris gallery, and then go to the Pantanal Gallery to view just some of the images I made.The Pantanal, the world’s largest inland wetland, has an incredible smorgasbord of wildlife. Often it is truly hard to know which way to point your camera! If you are interested in this once-in-a-lifetime fabulous photo opportunity, let me know soon before space is filled up.
TITUSVILLE SPACECOAST BIRDING &
January 24th -28th, 2007. Mark your calendars so you won’t miss this wonderful event. Sign up for one of my in-the-field photography outings where I’ll share some of my photo tips on getting up close and personal with the wildlife, composition, compensation, flash, and/or come to my slide presentation titled, The Pantanal and Much More. My friend, Gary Farber, with Hunt’s Photo of Boston will have a booth at the festival this year. If there is some special equipment you want him to bring with him, give him a call at 1-800-221-1830 or e-mail Gary at: firstname.lastname@example.org This event will be a good opportunity for you to see some of the latest technology he will be bringing for his booth. Also, please come by and visit me at my booth just to say hi, pickup some brochures on future events, or to share some of your photography with me.
SPACE COAST AUDUBON SOCIETY
I will be conducting a Weekend Photo Seminar the weekend of March 16th, which will be opening up Friday evening with one of my slide presentations. This is open to the public at no cost---all ages are welcome! I will be bringing a few of my prints which will be for sale. If there is any subject or image you are particularly interested in, do let me know & I’ll be sure to bring it with me. On Saturday I’ll be leading an in-the-field workshop which will be limited in size. To sign up, call Jason Frederick at (321)749- 2329……..check out the website at: www.spacecoastaudubon.org
I can’t seem to find a website, a local book store, and/or pet shop where I can buy CDs of different bird calls from different parts of the world. I’d really appreciate any input anyone has regarding this. Learning the various birds’ calls helps a great deal with the success of my bird photography. Thanks in advance.
Photo Researchers, Editors, and Publishers:
As stated in previous newsletters, at no obligation to you, send me a “want list” of images you are looking for that may coincide with a trip I’m about to take, or have recently taken, and I’ll do my very best to seek out that subject and shoot it with your request in mind. This may save you some expense, give me a specific mission and possibly a sale of that image. It’s a ‘win, win situation’!
A quick reminder that my library of 35mm original slides houses approximately 75,000 images, and my digital library presently holds over 41,000 (and growing-hourly)!