Travel Photography Inspiration Project: Kenya - Digital Photography School
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Travel Photography Inspiration Project: Kenya

On to our tenth country to visit in the DPS Travel Photography Inspiration Project. Kenya, for many, is synonymous with wildlife and the dry savannah. Indeed, tourism for the large game reserves is a major contributor to Kenya’s income as a country.

What follows are a number of elephant photos. It seems many of those who have traveled to Kenya and volunteered for this project lover elephants. And with good reason. Seeing them in the wild as I have, almost involuntarily forces you to respect the beauty of their size and movement. But the plains of Kenya are not for one species alone and you will experience a myriad in this post.

This is the tenth country we are covering in the reader fueled DPS Travel Photography Inspiration Project.

If you would like to be involved in the next country’s post, drop me a line here.

DPS Photo project 81032011-11-06

Impala on Ridge Line by L.S. Butch Mazzuca

Description: We were looking for lions when we came upon this lone impala on the ridge line.  I thought it would make a great silhouette so I put the camera on manual and stopped it down four stops before taking the shot, then adjusted the exposure and temperature in photoshop elements to create a bit of drama.

Tip: This time I broke the “rule of thirds” as I thought this made a much more interesting composition.

1

Into the Slums by Dale Vande Griend

Panorama photo of the Mathare Valley slum in Nairobi, Kenya.

The only way I could get pictures inside of Mathare Valley slum is to have people with me who are trusted and known by the people who live in the slum.  I would have been chased out of the slum otherwise.

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Elephant sunset on the Maasai Mara by Linda Sparks

Taken the first night of a twenty one day safari, this is proof that you grab the shots when you can, even if you have to beg the driver to stop.

My camera isn’t a fancy DSLR, but a popular superzoom (Lumix FZ100) which served perfectly for this safari.  Very light weight, terrific zoom (32x), fantastic stablization all meant I didn’t have to change lens, worry about dust, nor miss those distant critters.

Little One by Peter West Carey

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is located in Nairobi and is an orphanage for elephants and other wildlife. The overarching goal of the trust is to introduce elephants into the wild which would have died without their mother, for one reason or another. More than just elephants, the charity is involved in a few projects to protect habitat and work with communities where elephants are present in order to reduce conflict.

Tip: The orphanage is only open on Thursdays for one hour so you will need to plan ahead. http://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org/

IMG_3387

Untitled by Janice Rotinsky

The whole village will greet tourists with a welcome dance which is so upbeat and happy; when you look around you can clearly see the reality of their hard life. We reached this village travelling 3 hours by camel.

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Sniffing for lions by L.S. Butch Mazzuca

Description: I waited until sunset so I could capture some elephant silhouettes, it helps if your guide allows you out of the vehicle in order to get a low angle shot

Tip: To get the colors I had to do a little post processing, i.e., I cooled the white balance quite a bit, increased the bluish tint and luminance and reduced chromatic aberration

4

Waiting by Dale Vande Griend

A young girl watching over her younger sibling and waiting in Mathare Valley slum.

I waited until these kids were used to having me take their photo.  They were comfortable with me around and that allowed me to take this photo.

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Heading for pasture by Linda Sparks

In Africa, where predators roam the night, everyone’s cattle and goats spend the dark hours in a boma (corral) or sometimes in their owners’ huts.  So every morning the family herdsman must trudge them off to pasture to scrounge up what food they can find.

I’m not a technical photographer; not good at f stops and shutter speeds.  So I rely on Intelligent Automatic and a few scene settings I can count on.  This allows me to always be ready for that grab shot.  Here the dust hung in the sunshine, but just a few feet closer to me and the dusty aura was lost in the shade.

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Mom and her babe watching the flamingos on Lake Nakuru by Janice Rotinsky

There’s something about taking photos of animals walking away that makes for an interesting photo.

Howdy by Peter West Carey

The African Fund For Endangered Wildlife’s Giraffe Center in Nairobi is another great stop when in the city, and easily accessible if you are only in town on a layover to another destination.

Tip: Don’t be shy! You can feed  the giraffes at the compound and get up close to an animal that is one of the more gentle giants on our planet. And when shooting up at a giraffe, don’t forget to over expose.

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Protecting the pride by L.S. Butch Mazzuca

Description: The pride had just made a kill when a hyena clan approached; the big male didn’t take too kindly to their presence

Tip: You have to be a bit lucky to capture a shot like this, but I saw the hyenas and waited for the reaction from the pride male, which I knew would occur.  Of course, our guide was kind enough to position the vehicle so that the light was shining in the lion’s face relative to the camera.  It’s all about “light”.

2

Mathare Valley by Dale Vande Griend

Vertical Panorama of Mathare Valley slum in Nairobi, Kenya.

While taking panoramas to capture the size of Mathare Valley, I thought of a different way to show the complex nature of a slum.  I show it from a close street up to the layers of all the buildings on top of each other.

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Wildebeast for lunch by Linda Sparks

Part of a pride capitalizing on The Great Migration, this lioness was probably only playing mind games with these wildebeest.  Her stomach, and those of her sisters, were so full I don’t think they could have given chase.

While on safari, you can’t leave the vehicle (these lionesses were only 5 feet from us when we stopped).  Be sure to have a camera with the ability to ZOOM.  My Lumix FZ100 weighs less than a pound and is capable of over 900mm (32x) of zoom.  If you have at least 12 megapixals, you can crop severely once you get the pics in your computer and still have excellent resolution.

Open Wide Please by Richard Hanwell

Halle Park, Mombassa, Amazing photo, the hippo just come out of the water vertically with mouth wide open, i couldn’t believe my luck, and without taking so many pictures this photo would have been lost.
The only bit of advise that anyone can give you in Kenya is “be at the right place at the right time” and take plenty of pictures, don’t be shy as we do live in the digital age.  Out of the 2300 pictures i took while there only a handful i would say we truly inspiring and captured my imagination.  Even in the big cities there are lots of culture and vibrant colours to capture ones imagination.

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Untitled by Janice Rotinsky

While the whole pride of lions were eating a giraffe while this male kept an eye on us.

We stumbled across these lions on the side of the road, they weren’t more than 30 feet away from our vehicle.

Snoop by Peter West Carey

Kenyans like to decorate their cars and buses in a variety of manners. Some are odd and some catch you by surprise, like seeing the image of Snoop Dogg on this van.

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Symbiotic Relationship by L.S. Butch Mazzuca

Description: Oxpeckers are the plains’ animals best friend.  Not only to they keep them free of ticks, they warn of approaching predators

Tip: I wanted to tell “an abstract story” and cropped this vertically to make use of both the rule of thirds and the leading lines

3

On the Lookout by Dale Vande Griend

Two cheetahs watching over the Maasai Mara.

To get this photo took some patience.  Instead of taking photo after photo to force a good picture, I waited until the cheetahs were ready for a great photo to be taken of them.

Feeding Time by Peter West Carey

What kid doesn’t want to have a giraffe eat out of their hand? While the the adults often get a snack from visitors, the 120 acres of the Giraffe Center are where they spend more of their time feeding. The center raises and reintroduces endangered Rothschild Giraffes as one part of its conservation efforts.

Tip: Bring soap (although they do have sanitizer there).

5

Slum Gang by Dale Vande Griend

A group of kids hanging out on the street in Mathare Valley slum.

Sometimes a photo is just waiting there for you to take it, and you have to do nothing to make it better other than click the shutter.

Read more from our Tips & Tutorials category.

Peter West Carey is a world traveling photographer who now is spending a large amount of time going back through 6 years of travel photo and processing them like he should have to start with. He is also helping others learn about photography with the free series 31+ Days Of Photography Experiments which builds off of the 31+ Days To Better Photography series on his blog.

  • http://www.wildlifeencounters.eu Steve

    Have not been to Kenya but hope to one day.
    Loved the Elephants in South Africa:

    I imagine Kenya to be more wild and unspoiled – super :)

  • Shannon

    Amazing shots! I love the lion and elephant silhouettes!

  • raghavendra

    when we hear kenya everyone picture in their heads ‘animals’
    the giraffe picture with a kid is good
    But few portraits tells us the life of people in kenya
    we need more shots like that

    http://raghavendra-mobilephotography.blogspot.com/

  • http://blogs.gonomad.com/traveltalesfromindia/ Mridula

    Loved the silhouettes with all my might. Overall fabulous shots! That Zebra with birds was also unique.

    http://blogs.gonomad.com/traveltalesfromindia/2012/06/the-lukla-kathmandu-flight-nepal.html

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/gipukan gipukan (Rob Gipman)

    Nice one, have a look at most of my photo strream on flickr. Uganda is next door to Kenya where i lived for 11 years. p.s. kenya see a lion take’s 5 to 12 cars, Uganda see a lion takes often only 1 car!

  • Scottc

    Great photos and the background info makes for an incredible read, TFS!

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lendog64/sets/72157623181693570/

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/amirpaz amir paz

    Great Pictures

    I have been to a safari in kenya last october

    here is a link to a beatiful samburu sunset we had the pleasure of watching:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/amirpaz/6291465198/in/set-72157627923609458

    and one great elephant shot i really like :) :

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/amirpaz/6260923139/in/set-72157627923609458

    one of the elephants stormed towards us, it was very frightening, never the less, i didnt miss a shot :) :

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/amirpaz/6261402538/in/set-72157627923609458

    you are more than welcome to enjoy my full kenya safari trip here:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/amirpaz/sets/72157627923609458/

    its a beautiful country with lots to see, we just fell in love with it

    great place, i highly recomend it :)

    Amir

  • Jennie Rippon

    I’m going to Kenya in August 2012 and have been inspired by these photos. I hope to get some nearly as good. Can’t wait.

  • http://schweetlife.com Natasha McEachron

    I can’t explain it but I think its absolutely hilarious when hippos open their mouths. Its probably terrifying in person. Great photos!

  • Mary

    I spent a month in Kenya during college for a medical mission trip where we opened a clinic and treated many, many ill people. One of the most amazing experiences of my life! We spent a few days on safari at the end, but the part that really left an impression on me was the people. They were so warm and receptive and welcoming to us. I loved photography then, but only had a little point & shoot at the time. Still managed to get some pictures that I love, definitely lifetime memories!

  • Allan

    I feel great to see people discuss and appreciate my country. I am a Kenyan and I am full-time photographer. What I see here is just a drop in the ocean. I can promise u all that Kenya still hold exciting scenes in this region of Africa. We have all the big fives (Lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard, rhino) plus breath-taking savannahs. Talking of people, Kenyans are very welcoming and friendly. We love visitors. You will enjoy our diverse cultural activities like traditional dances.

  • Allan

    I am Kenyan and all I can say is that I feel great to see pple discuss my country through photography. I am full-time photographer and I have lots of beautiful shot that I can share. I can promise you all that there is so much more to see and enjoy in Kenya. We have the big five (Lions, Leopards, Rhinos, Elephants and Buffalo) birds and lots of other wild animals in National parks and Reserves that are spread across the country. The people of Kenya are welcoming. [eimg url='http://allanmuturi.wordpress.com/category/wildlife/' title='wildlife']

Some older comments

  • Allan

    July 6, 2012 05:03 pm

    I am Kenyan and all I can say is that I feel great to see pple discuss my country through photography. I am full-time photographer and I have lots of beautiful shot that I can share. I can promise you all that there is so much more to see and enjoy in Kenya. We have the big five (Lions, Leopards, Rhinos, Elephants and Buffalo) birds and lots of other wild animals in National parks and Reserves that are spread across the country. The people of Kenya are welcoming. [eimg url='http://allanmuturi.wordpress.com/category/wildlife/' title='wildlife']

  • Allan

    July 6, 2012 04:35 pm

    I feel great to see people discuss and appreciate my country. I am a Kenyan and I am full-time photographer. What I see here is just a drop in the ocean. I can promise u all that Kenya still hold exciting scenes in this region of Africa. We have all the big fives (Lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard, rhino) plus breath-taking savannahs. Talking of people, Kenyans are very welcoming and friendly. We love visitors. You will enjoy our diverse cultural activities like traditional dances.

  • Mary

    July 3, 2012 11:25 pm

    I spent a month in Kenya during college for a medical mission trip where we opened a clinic and treated many, many ill people. One of the most amazing experiences of my life! We spent a few days on safari at the end, but the part that really left an impression on me was the people. They were so warm and receptive and welcoming to us. I loved photography then, but only had a little point & shoot at the time. Still managed to get some pictures that I love, definitely lifetime memories!

  • Natasha McEachron

    July 1, 2012 03:01 am

    I can't explain it but I think its absolutely hilarious when hippos open their mouths. Its probably terrifying in person. Great photos!

  • Jennie Rippon

    June 27, 2012 11:11 pm

    I'm going to Kenya in August 2012 and have been inspired by these photos. I hope to get some nearly as good. Can't wait.

  • amir paz

    June 25, 2012 02:11 pm

    Great Pictures

    I have been to a safari in kenya last october

    here is a link to a beatiful samburu sunset we had the pleasure of watching:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/amirpaz/6291465198/in/set-72157627923609458

    and one great elephant shot i really like :) :

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/amirpaz/6260923139/in/set-72157627923609458

    one of the elephants stormed towards us, it was very frightening, never the less, i didnt miss a shot :) :

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/amirpaz/6261402538/in/set-72157627923609458

    you are more than welcome to enjoy my full kenya safari trip here:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/amirpaz/sets/72157627923609458/

    its a beautiful country with lots to see, we just fell in love with it

    great place, i highly recomend it :)

    Amir

  • Scottc

    June 25, 2012 09:18 am

    Great photos and the background info makes for an incredible read, TFS!

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lendog64/sets/72157623181693570/

  • gipukan (Rob Gipman)

    June 25, 2012 05:06 am

    Nice one, have a look at most of my photo strream on flickr. Uganda is next door to Kenya where i lived for 11 years. p.s. kenya see a lion take's 5 to 12 cars, Uganda see a lion takes often only 1 car!

  • Mridula

    June 24, 2012 04:05 pm

    Loved the silhouettes with all my might. Overall fabulous shots! That Zebra with birds was also unique.

    http://blogs.gonomad.com/traveltalesfromindia/2012/06/the-lukla-kathmandu-flight-nepal.html

  • raghavendra

    June 24, 2012 12:59 pm

    when we hear kenya everyone picture in their heads 'animals'
    the giraffe picture with a kid is good
    But few portraits tells us the life of people in kenya
    we need more shots like that

    http://raghavendra-mobilephotography.blogspot.com/

  • Shannon

    June 24, 2012 03:00 am

    Amazing shots! I love the lion and elephant silhouettes!

  • Steve

    June 24, 2012 02:49 am

    Have not been to Kenya but hope to one day.
    Loved the Elephants in South Africa:

    I imagine Kenya to be more wild and unspoiled - super :)

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