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.
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.
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.
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/
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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
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.
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
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).
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.