Photo of the Week – Namibia

Well I did miss a couple of weeks without posting my weekly images, so here is a nice treat from Namibia – a place that I long to return to.  This image was take during our flight from Sera Cafema to Sossuvlia.  Sossusvlei lies in the Namib Naukluft Park in the heart of the Namib desert and is home to the the highest sand dunes in the world.  Considered by many to be one of the ‘must see’ places in the world, I am looking forward to returning as soon as I can.

Cheers and happy photoing

2014 Photo Safari Schedule

Safaris for 2014:
1. Rwanda – Gorillas in the Mist 1 Jan thru 8 Jan  DETAILS ARE POSTED HERE. Trip completed, full trip report in draft.
2. Tanzania – The Great Migration – Feb 15-25, 2014   TRIP IS FULL
3. Chile – Torres del Paine – March 2014,  Adventure Series Only*
4. Tanzania – The Great Rut – May 31 – June 10, 2014. Some openings remain.
5. Iceland – The Land of Fire and Ice – 10-19 Aug 2014 – DETAILS ARE POSTED HERE  Strictly limited to 8 participants, 4 openings.
6. Tanzania – Fall Migration – Sept 16-25, 2014 – DETAILS ARE POSTED HERE
7. Botswana – November 13-22, 2014 – DETAILS ARE POSTED HERE.

Looking forward to 2015:
Namibia – Landscapes of a Lifetime – April or May 2015- Details will be released in March of 2014.
Tanzania – The Great Rut
Tanzania – Fall Migration
Botswana – Adventure on the River
Lots More to Come So Stay Tuned.

*Adventure Series – Open only to previous clients and those who are willing to travel in conditions that require maximum flexibility as we explore new areas.

Shallow F-Stop Usage

I almost always shoot in aperture mode, as it allows me to control the depth of field or zone of focus.  I use this technique to control what the viewer “sees” in my photograph or to call attention to a particular part of the image or to isolate the primary image from the foreground or background.  Combing this technique with the image compression of a telephoto lens, one can really start to isolate the subject.   In the image below, I used a wide open aperture on a 200-400mm zoom set at 310mm and focused just in front of  of the cheetah.  Focusing in front of the Cheetah allowed me to keep the first cat in crisp focus while allowing the second cat (only three feet behind the first one) to go past soft focus and begin the transition into the blurred background.  The result is a tact sharp cat in the foreground with a pleasing out of focus background, yet showing enough detail in the second cat to maintain interest.  Having shot with the 200-400 for a number of years, I am pretty good at guessing the hyperfocal distances (I’ll save that topic for another post) within my normal shooting ranges.  Like most shots, when you take your time and make use of your knowledge, you will increase your chances of walking away with a solid image.

Outside of the Massai Mara Plains, two brothers on alert.

Nikon D3S, 200-400mm VRII, set at 310mm, 1/320 sec, f/5.0, matrix meeting, aperture priority

Cheers and happy photo’ ing.


Safari update 26 Aug – Giraffe Center, Nairobi

Nairobi, Kenya

Clear skies in the early am, with smog and heavy haze developing soon after 1100.

Today was another full day after our overnight at the Fairview Hotel.  The Fairview is my favorite hotel in Nairobi. Not easy to get to and located next to the Israeli Embassy, I think it is one of the most secure hotels in Nairobi – which is not a bad thing. The grounds are lush and the architecture is aged red brick with classic overtones from the days of the British.  Departing early, we were off to Giraffe Center to get a special kiss from a Rothschild Giraffe. The three most common species of giraffes in Kenya are Masai, Reticulated, and the rare Rothschild.  The Rothschild are best identified by their white ‘boots’ that they wear.  By this I mean they have white coloration (no markings) on their feet from the top of their hooves to just below the kneecap.

The Rothschild Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi)  is among the most endangered giraffe subspecies with only a few hundred members in the wild.[1] All of those that are living in the wild are in protected areas in Kenya and Uganda.[1]  Recently it has been proposed that the Rothschild Giraffe is actually a separate species from other giraffes and not a giraffe subspecies.[2]  While giraffes in general are classified as Least Concern, the Rothschild Giraffe is at particular risk of hybridisation, as the population is so limited in numbers.  There are very few locations where the Rothschild Giraffe can be seen in the wild, with notable spots being Lake Nakuru National Park in Kenya and Murchison Falls National Park in northern Uganda.  From  Giraffe Center and at a given age, the Rothschild Giraffes are re-introduced into an area near Lake Naktau. While inter-breeding can occur, they are taking great care to insure the continued success of the Rothschild.

After spending time at Giraffe Center, it was time for lunch at Utdamani, opened by Dr. Leakey in 1960. Utdamani is a wonderful place for lunch and previewing the native products from across Kenya, not to mention a great place for some last minute quality shopping.

Steve captured a couple of fun snaps from the day. Enjoy and when your travels take you to or through Nairobi, please take time to visit this wonderful conservation facility.

Randy Getting a Special Giraffe Kiss

I Love her Facial Expressions

References: [1] Not one but ‘six giraffe species’”. BBC News Online. 2007-12-21. Retrieved 2007-12-27, Wikipedia; [2] Wilson, Don E.; Reeder, DeeAnn M., eds (2005). Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2 vols. (2142 pp.). ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0


Cheers and happy photo’ing

Traveling High on the Hog (as they say back home)

The Best Seats in the House

Nikon D300, 70-200VR @130mm; ISO 400, F7.1 @ 1/320 sec


Traveling through a river bed in Namibia inland from the Wilderness Safari Skeleton Coast campsite, three photographers grab the best seats in the house while taking in the wonderful scenery.