East African Photography Tour, Part I

KVW first made my acquaintance last year when he contacted me to see if I could take some photos of him and his fiancée for their wedding invitations.  We made arrangements for the shoot and I had a lot of fun meeting and photographing a fun young couple.  Periodically we kept in contact through email as KVW developed an interest in photography and I was happy to answer all his questions

When I learned he was planning an extensive vacation to East Africa and was purchasing a new DSLR I recommended he find time for at least a one-day workshop.  One day of instruction can make a heck of a difference.  During our workshop it was easy to see he not only had an aptitude for photography, but a keen knowledge of the computer side of things that would serve him well.  When he sent me this two part series I couldn’t have been more pleased!  Not only was he able to maximize his use of his new DSLR and effect some really good captures, but it sounded like both him and his wife had a great time doing so.  This is what life is all about.  I keep preaching that photography should be fun, and so it should

Great job KVW!  Thank you for being so generous and sharing your fine work with the readers.  If you have any questions about his trip to Africa or his photography you can contact KVW via email at: kvwstick@hotmail.com

Thank you

Steve
 

Tanzania

This year’s Songkran holiday was something very special to me as I was able to fulfill one of my childhood dreams – a safari quest in East Africa, Tanzania. My wife and I had booked a 2 week trip there, starting our journey at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro in Moshi. This was followed by a hectic, but satisfying 7 day safari across the “Northern Circuit” and ending our vacation with 5 days of R&R relaxing on Zanzibar’s tranquil beaches.

Prior to the trip, I had undergone a 1 day workshop with Steve to improve my non-existent photography skills, after acting on my urge to buy a DSLR camera. Below are some of the photos taken during the trip.

Moshi

Moshi is a small city at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro populated with less than 20000 inhabitants.  The town itself is not much of a tourist attraction, but it is a starting point for many who aspire to conquer the mountain, as well as those, like us, who embark on a safari in the North of the country.

The surrounding area of Moshi however has diverse landscapes, making it a great country for hiking. Lush green rainforests are found on the slopes, whereas only 50 KM further down, the landscape is dry, barren, and very desert-like. Wherever you go, the mountain always offers a magnificent backdrop.

The area surrounding Moshi can be very dry just before the rainy season.

The area surrounding Moshi can be very dry just before the rainy season.

 

The area surrounding Moshi can be very dry just before the rainy season.

A waterfall in the rainforest.

 

The area surrounding Moshi can be very dry just before the rainy season.

The highest point in Africa provides a fantastic view when it’s not covered in clouds.

The local kids were shy, but soon went mad with excitement when you showed them their own image on the camera display.

The local kids were shy, but soon went mad with excitement when you showed them their own image on the camera display.

 

Lake Manyara

The safari itself began on Day 4 starting with Lake Manyara, followed by the Serengeti and finally the Ngorongoro Crater. Each of the areas mentioned offers different scenery altogether.

Lake Manyara is a lush groundwater forest and home to a large diversity of animals. However, many of these animals are hard to spot within the dense foliage. Indeed, binoculars and a DSLR come in handy.

 

Baboons are abundant and many troops can be found next to or right in the middle of the roads.

Baboons are abundant and many troops can be found next to or right in the middle of the roads.

 

Africa is haven for bird watchers, with many colorful birds like this grey headed kingfisher in plain view, seemingly undisturbed by human presence.

Africa is haven for bird watchers, with many colorful birds like this grey headed kingfisher in plain view, seemingly undisturbed by human presence.

 

This black masked weaver decided to fly off just when I was taking his picture. Sometimes you just get lucky!

This black masked weaver decided to fly off just when I was taking his picture. Sometimes you just get lucky!

 

Serengeti

We spent 2 full days at the Serengeti driving around the endless plains. Words or even pictures cannot begin to describe the beauty of this place. Vast green grasslands as far as the eye can see, with just the odd tree or clump of rocks sticking out to create the landscape so unique to “the place where the land moves on forever”.

Wildlife can be found everywhere, although to the untrained eye it may seem like a desolate place. However, with a good guide this soon changes and we managed to see everything we could’ve ever hoped for, from lions basking in the sun, to vultures fighting over scraps, to a cheetah devouring a recently killed Thompson gazelle. It really is nature at its most cruel and most beautiful at the same time. Just Fantastic!

 

This guy was looking to steal the meal of a Tawny Eagle. Considering the vulture’s about twice the eagle’s size, the eagle didn’t even put up a fight.

This guy was looking to steal the meal of a Tawny Eagle. Considering the vulture’s about twice the eagle’s size, the eagle didn’t even put up a fight.

 

While mother was sleeping at the foot of the rock keeping a watchful eye, these 3 cubs were playing in the tree above. Tumbling and rolling all over each other, we were reminded of our own cats at home. It’s hard to believe that these cute things will grow up to become voracious predators.

While mother was sleeping at the foot of the rock keeping a watchful eye, these 3 cubs were playing in the tree above. Tumbling and rolling all over each other, we were reminded of our own cats at home. It’s hard to believe that these cute things will grow up to become voracious predators.

 

Cheetahs are notoriously difficult to find. Nevertheless our guide spotted this fellow and managed to pull the car up right next to him. To be so close to such a magnificent animal is truly a privilege.

Cheetahs are notoriously difficult to find. Nevertheless our guide spotted this fellow and managed to pull the car up right next to him. To be so close to such a magnificent animal is truly a privilege.

 

The Buffalo is one of Africa’s “Big 5” together with the Lion, Elephant, Rhino and Leopard. They’re almost always accompanied by oxpeckers that eat parasites off their skin.

The Buffalo is one of Africa’s “Big 5” together with the Lion, Elephant, Rhino and Leopard. They’re almost always accompanied by oxpeckers that eat parasites off their skin.

 

Leopards are undoubtedly the most elusive of all of Africa’s big cats. We couldn’t believe our luck So when we found this beautiful specimen in a tree not too far off the road! Utterly undisturbed by the cars, we watched it for a good half hour before reluctantly moving on. Beautiful!

Leopards are undoubtedly the most elusive of all of Africa’s big cats. We couldn’t believe our luck So when we found this beautiful specimen in a tree not too far off the road! Utterly undisturbed by the cars, we watched it for a good half hour before reluctantly moving on. Beautiful!

 

When it gets about 40 degrees Celsius in the shade, what better than a long midday nap!

When it gets about 40 degrees Celsius in the shade, what better than a long midday nap!

 

Just before our lunch break we jokingly told the guide we wanted to see a Cheetah feeding. He duly obliged… Raw nature at its best

Just before our lunch break we jokingly told the guide we wanted to see a Cheetah feeding. He duly obliged… Raw nature at its best.

 

About 5 seconds after she finished eating, the vultures came in to finish the scraps. With a wingspan of close to 3 meters, they’re an awesome sight!

About 5 seconds after she finished eating, the vultures came in to finish the scraps. With a wingspan of close to 3 meters, they’re an awesome sight!