Dubai to Rwanda

Today was all about movement from Dubai to Rwanda to photograph the Mountain Gorillas. Following a ticketing process at Ethiopian Airlines that was some of the most disorganized processing that I have ever seen, we were finally on our way to Addis Abba and then onward to Kigali Rwanda for our first overnight in Rwanda. Arriving at noon-ish in Kigali, we were met by the wonderful staff of Thousands Hills and quickly transferred to the Serena Hotel. Our final member of our team joined us about 8pm for a light snack then off the bed for our early rise the following morning. During our travel to Rwanda, we found ourselves reflecting on the fireworks that we had just witnessed and the great architecture that has captured my eye every time I visit Dubai and I just had to share some Dubai images before moving on to Rwanda.

The Atlantis Hotel on the Palm, Dubai – UAE
Nikon D4, 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm, ISO 800, 2.5 sec at f/8.0

The Cayan Building in B&W, otherwise known as “Twisty”
Nikon D4, 24-70 f/2.8 @ 31mm, ISO 125, 1/200 sec at f/8.0

Cheers and Happy Photo’ing

Dubai Sets World Record for Fireworks – I was there

We made a fun stop at Dubai for two days on the way to leading another safari for Rwanda.  Photographing the Mountain Gorillas is always an intense rush for me.

Overlooking the Palm Jumeirah, we were treated to a front row seat for an incredible display.  Lasting only 6 minutes, Dubai beat the world record in the first 10 seconds (so they say).  Although I set up well in advance for this event, I was not prepared for the for the vastness of the event.  Yep, I selected the wrong lens.  I thought the major event was going to be around Atlantis.  Much to my surprise, it was right in front of me, spanning most of the palm. By the time I figured things out and changed the lenses and corresponding exposure, I decided to just sit back and take it all in.  Hard to beat the image from Dubai Media, with multiple locations, both land and air based.  Below is what we saw:

Cheers and happy photo’ing

Rwanda and Mountain Gorillas – Here We Come

After a very long night fighting a hard drive failure on my main computer, I’m off to Rwanda with a quick stop in Dubai.  As far as the computer is concerned, I am very thankful that I was able to do a full system resort from my most recent backup.  After all of the traumatic  starts and stops, I finally diagnosed the problem as a hard drive starting to fail.  I had SMART monitoring enabled but it did not catch the start of the failure. Backups saved me this time.

For this trip to photograph the Gorillas, I will be going very light with only two camera and two lenses.  Do to the low light conditions I will be working in, I selected my Nikon D4 and my D3s as the bodies.  For the glass, the Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 and the Nikon 24-70 f/2.8 will round out the kit.  I will be using a double camera strap by Black Rapid.  Having shot the Gorillas before, I will be making use of the auto-ISO feature on the bodies to keep my shutter speed high enough to avoid camera shake.

I’ll be blogging live from Rwanda thanks to the wonderful folks at XComGlobal.  XComGlobal offers WiFi internet access in more than 175 countieis worldwide.

Cheers and happy photo’ing.

Dubai and On-Ward

On Safari again. En-route to Tanzania I stopped over in Dubai for several days to link up with three of my clients and do some city-scapes. Between a serious sore throat and killer heat waves humidity unlike I have ever seen before, I managed to get out and about the city only for a couple of hours twice. The Story’s took really great care of me and I look forward to shooting with them in Tanzania and upon my return to Dubai.

A view from the water along the marina walking path.

Cheers and We are off to Safari

Last Safari Update – Funny Observations

On each safari, I always learn  from things that did not go as planned.  All of the items below have funny stories,  for the most part,  to go with each entry.  Just let your mind wonder and I am sure you can conjure up images to go along with tag lines.  If you are on a future safari with me, be sure to ask about any of these.

  1. When your taxi driver does not speak English, Swahili, or Arabic and you do not speak Hindi, there is a very good chance that you will not arrive at your desired destination without of lots of effort (rush).  No, I’m NOT going to learn Hindi (Dubai).
  2. Dropping your Nikon 14-24mm lens on asphalt in the middle of the night….yes, the open bag hot air syndrome again…Ouch.  Bounce went the Nikon and off to Melville for repairs upon my return (Dubai).
  3. Letting the driver put your camera gear in the back of the bus (should always go on your lap).  The transfer drivers always want to be most helpful however, lots of bags moving around in the dark of night made for unnecessary risks (Kenya).
  4. Hyperdrive transfer with the new Delkin 16GB COMBAT Drive (could not read the CF card) – needs a firmware fix. Lexar cardreader could read the card.
  5. One day delay from United caused us to miss several planned photographic opportunities in Dubai.  Better to have a 6 hour overlay and make the connection than to have a two hour overlay and miss an entire day and night of travel.
  6. Moving camera equipment from hotel room to conditions of high humidity and high heat, serious fogging.  Need to allow plenty of time for temp changes between shoots (Dubai).
  7. Do not surrender your camera bag to hotel staff (Dubai, Kenya) ;   they don’t understand your investment.  God gave us shoulders to carry our camera gear.

That’s the very last trip update for this past trip, yes is has taken some time to get to here.  What a great adventure and most importantly, a fun time was had by all with plenty of stories to go around.


Cheers and happy photo’ing.

Safari Update – 27 Aug 2011 – Quotable Notes

Back home and filled with wonderful memories.

Over the next few postings, I’ll be hitting the highlights of what worked on the trip as well as what did not work or is in need of further exploration.  For today, it’s all about those precious quotable quotes from the field.  On every safari, there are always one liners that need to be remembered.  So here are some of the beauts from the trip:

Kenya: To our driver: Who lives in the large nice houses? Response: “Only the corrupt people.”

Tanzania: Is that a lion or an Ostrich with a tail?

“Haraka Haraka Hyena Baraka”

Warning: Elephants running toward you ARE closer than they appear in your lens.

Is someone going to give us a class on scat identification?  There is a nice pile of something over there.

My tent was next to the parade of ants.

Beware of women carrying hoes….I did not take her picture, see……

Kale kakuku kadogo kako kwako kaka (Swahili tongue twister: Is the little chicken at your place my brother?)

Simba mwenda pole ndio mla nyama (A lion that walks slowly is the one who is successful)

Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea.

Always drink upstream from the herd.


Cheers and happy photo’ing