ARCHIVE KENYA 98 – MOTHER AND BABY

 

 


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Mother and baby at a wedding near Thika, Kenya, in the late 1970s.

African women’s love of gorgeous, bright colours.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window.

Technique: OM-2 with 75-150 Zuiko lens; Kodak Ektachrome 200 colour slide film (I think!); Color Efex Pro 4; Lightroom.

THE ARCHIVE KENYA SERIES

I’m re-posting photographs that I took in Kenya over 30 years ago.  You can find more context here .  Click onto the “Archive Kenya” tag (below) to see more of these film images from Kenya.

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ARCHIVE KENYA 97 – HOUSE ON A FARM

 

 


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House on a farm near Akala, in the far west of Kenya; April 1979.

These are Luo people who live in the immensely fertile far west of Kenya, not far from Lake Victoria – a vast body of water that supplies them with vast quantities of fish, and with frequent thunder storms which keep their land totally green.

The structure consists of mud walls, above which a conical thatched roof is mounted on a great mass of wooden poles. There is quite a gap between the roof and the walls but, in this hot, equatorial area, cold weather is not an issue. This hut has at least two rooms: the doorway to a second room is to the left of the people. The mud walls have decorations drawn straight onto them, and there is an oil lamp hanging up. Notice how everything, including the chest of drawers and some of the pictures hanging on the walls, has cloth covers.

Food and water are not an issue for these people, they live in a wonderfully fecund landscape. But there are diseases – it was here that malaria first got its claws into me, despite my using mosquito nets and prophylactics.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window – recommended.

Technique: OM-1 with 28mm Zuiko lens; Agfa CT18 colour slide film, rated at 64 ISO.

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ARCHIVE KENYA 96 – BIRDING ON THE ROAD TO MOYALE

 

 

Birding in the Dida Galgalla (or Galgalu) Desert of northern Kenya; June 1978.

This is the main road running northwards from Mt Marsabit in northern Kenya to Ethiopia.  It carries on up through this arid wilderness to the town of Moyale, which is on the border with Ethiopia.

The whole area in this photo is volcanic, and on either side of the road can be seen the large, dark lava boulders that were bulldozed out of the way when the road was made.  Flat, dark lava flows can just be seen on the horizon.

Despite the heat and aridity of this area, faint tinges of green are visible off to the left.  This photo was taken in June, not long after the “long” rains (which are often not long at all), and this area was in the process of rapidly returning to its mixture of brown and maroon surfaces.

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I was much younger and more irresponsible in 1978 – well I suppose we all were! – and I thought this area tremendously exciting.  But it was dangerous and often lawless even then, with periods when all traffic had to be marshalled into convoys with military escort.

Oh, and that’s Bill, a birding friend from long ago >>> wow! we saw a lot of birds in those far off days!

Click onto each image to open a larger version in a separate window – recommended.

Technique: OM-1 with 28mm Zuiko lens; Agfa CT18 colour slide film rated at 64 ISO.

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ARCHIVE KENYA 95 – IN LAMU

 

 


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Alley in Lamu; July 1978.

Lamu is a small town on an island just off the coast of Kenya.  It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site – see more info here.

When I was there in 1978, Lamu was peaceful, fascinating and a delight.  However the section on modern Lamu in the report linked to above suggests it is threatened; and not least by the fact that, being quite close to the border with Somalia, it has been the scene of terrorist attacks.  I returned from Kenya 31 years ago, and the world has changed much since then.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window – recommended.

Technique: OM-1 with 28mm Zuiko lens; Agfa CT18 colour slide film, rated at 64 ISO.

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ARCHIVE KENYA 94 – SOMETIME EARLIER IN THE WORLD – AGAIN

 

 


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Sunrise at the mouth of the Njoro River at Lake Nakuru, Kenya; Jan 1978.  I showed this scene in colour in an earlier post – and that version is again shown, below.

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The colour version more reflects reality.  The colour is a little “off”, but then this is a decades old colour transparency that spent many years in the tropics, often as a valued part of slide presentations.

The mono version is rougher, grainier.  There is more structure in the mist, which I like.  And rather more detail and contrast in the foreground which, again, does it for me.  But what do you think? 

Click onto the “early morning” tag (below) to see more images from the early hours of the day.  

Click on each image to open a larger version in a separate window – recommended.

Here is the colour post’s text:

Early morning mists rise above the lake and, as the sun appears, everything is flooded by warm, golden light – a scene seemingly from long ago in the world that has always fascinated me.  Here is something primeval, here we are an irrelevance.

The gaunt skeletons of trees out in the lake are Yellow-barked Acacias that were killed as the lake’s soda-rich waters rose up around them.

There are two types of birds here.  Those holding their wings out to dry, and those perching on the dead trees, and those very faintly seen bottom right, are Cormorants – the same species as found in Europe.  The dark scrum of larger birds at the lake’s edge are White Pelicans – one great head and neck can be seen as, preening, a bird reaches deep into its plumage.

Technique: tripod-mounted OM-2 with 400mm Vivitar lens; Agfa CT 18 colour slide film, rated at 64 ISO.

THE ARCHIVE KENYA SERIES

I’m re-posting photographs that I took in Kenya over 30 years ago.  You can find more context here .  Click onto the “Archive Kenya” tag (below) to see more of these film images from Kenya.

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ARCHIVE KENYA 93 – THE VIEW SOUTH FROM BABOON CLIFFS

 

 


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The view south from Baboon Cliffs at Lake Nakuru; 27 Apr 1980.

Looking out across the lake on a calm day – which, in this area of convectional rainfall, can often turn into a towering thunderstorm later in the afternoon.

Nakuru is a soda lake in the rift valley’s floor and this view looks southwards down the rift.  The hills on the horizon, below the white clouds, are a group of small volcanoes, and the freshwater Lake Naivasha is just over the horizon to the left of them. 

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window – recommended.

Technique: OM-1 with 28mm Zuiko lens and polariser; Agfa CT18 colour slide film, rated at 64 ISO; Color Efex Pro 4.

THE ARCHIVE KENYA SERIES

I’m re-posting photographs that I took in Kenya over 30 years ago.  You can find more context here .  Click onto the “Archive Kenya” tag (below) to see more of these film images from Kenya.

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ARCHIVE KENYA 92 – KILIMANJARO AND MAWENZI (MONO)

 

 


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Mts Kilimanjaro (on the right) and Mawenzi seen from Tsavo West National Park; Dec 1977.

Both of these mountains are vast volcanoes, again associated with the fragmentation of eastern Africa, as mentioned in my Shaitani post (Archive Kenya 90).  They are just over the border in Tanzania – having been given by Queen Victoria to her cousin, the Kaiser, when the colonial powers were dividing up Africa.

This ancient colour slide is in deteriorating condition – with much grain and increasing discolouration – but here it is, doctored and in mono, to make it as presentable as possible!

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window.

Technique: OM-1 with 75mm-150mm Zuiko lens at 150mm; Agfa CT 18 colour slide film rated at 64 ISO; converted to mono in Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Low Key 1 preset.

THE ARCHIVE KENYA SERIES

I’m re-posting photographs that I took in Kenya over 30 years ago.  You can find more context here .  Click onto the “Archive Kenya” tag (below) to see more of these film images from Kenya.

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ARCHIVE KENYA 91 – IN THE DIDA GALGALLA DESERT

 

 


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Nomadic tribeswoman leading camels through the Dida Galgalla Desert in northern Kenya; June 1978.

This image is rather pale and insipid because I’ve lightened it to show more detail – it was taken in very harsh, overhead sunlight so that much of the subject matter is in shadow and silhouette.

This photo shows a person and her home on the move.  Amongst other things, the camels are carrying sections of the curved walls and supports of low huts, which will be erected at the new dwelling site.  A nomadic existence is essential in such dry areas – people follow rainfall, which is a source of water for man and animal alike, and also of greenery for the livestock.

This was a hurried photograph – soon after I raised the camera, rocks were flying my way.  Which reminds me of the roving packs of feral – and no doubt rabies-ridden – dogs in the Sultanate of Oman.  They were so used to having rocks thrown at them that there was no need to actually throw anything – all that was required was to momentarily stoop towards the ground as if about to pick up a rock – of which, as here, there was an inexhaustible supply – and the canines were heading quickly for the hills.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window – recommended.

Technique: OM-1 with 75-150 Zuiko lens at 150mm; Agfa CT18 colour side film rated at 64 ISO.

THE ARCHIVE KENYA SERIES

I’m re-posting photographs that I took in Kenya over 30 years ago.  You can find more context here .  Click onto the “Archive Kenya” tag (below) to see more of these film images from Kenya.
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ARCHIVE KENYA 90 – SHAITANI

 

 


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Shaitani volcano in the Chyulu Hills, Tsavo West, Kenya; June 1978.

This volcano erupted as recently as the mid-19th century and its newness is emphasised by the limited amounts of vegetation that have so far managed to colonise it.

As with the rift valley, this volcanism is associated with the fragmentation of Africa’s eastern side, a process that is not lost somewhere in the far off recesses of geological time, but which is going on right now.

Geology was my hobby from about the age of five or so, my subject at university, and the subject that I taught at the University of Nairobi, in Kenya.  And I am simply quite unable to stop myself from very loudly proclaiming >>> GEOLOGY ROCKS!!! 

But, quite apart from that, what else does it do?  Well, for example, amongst many, many other things, knowing about geology you’ll never look at landscapes in the same way again, you’ll understand that we live on a still very active planet – as evidenced by the very young volcano pictured here – and you’ll become aware of the vast expanses of geological time, the Earth, for example, being somewhere around 4,500,000,000 years old.

Although I was such an enthusiastic geologist, two school friends got me into birding in 1967 – and that consumed me until about 2002 or so.  The ironic thing is that now, as the three of us are marching determinedly towards our respective dotages, my two very long-term friends have become really quite interested in geology!  Well, I always knew they’d catch up … eventually … 😉 …

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window – recommended.

Technique: OM-1; Agfa CT18 colour slide film rated at 64 ISO.

THE ARCHIVE KENYA SERIES

I’m re-posting photographs that I took in Kenya over 30 years ago.  You can find more context here .  Click onto the “Archive Kenya” tag (below) to see more of these film images from Kenya.

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ARCHIVE KENYA 89 – BACK ROAD NEAR AKALA (MONO)

 

 

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Back road through farms near Akala, in the far west of Kenya; April 1979.

The wideangle lens makes the road appear in worse condition than it was – and, in any case, it was dry weather; tackling this in wet conditions would be something else again.

The VW Beetle was wonderful for this sort of thing.  No 4×4, just drive in the two rear wheels, the engine seated over the wheels – which made for very good grip –  and a large metal plate underneath most of the length of the car, to guard against rocks and boulders.

But the car took quite a hammering on this trip and, as I pulled out at the end of my stay for the long drive back to Nairobi, my front wheels had, unbeknown to me, taken such a pounding that they were facing outwards, i.e. away from each other.

This very soon wore both tyres completely bald and, when I came upon a police road block, I had a hard job persuading them to let me through.  Luckily there was an excellent garage specialising in VW repairs in Nairobi, and however badly I damaged the car, they were always able to fix it.

Another thing about this picture is that it was taken in a very fertile, agricultural landscape teeming with people.  I’ve only just stopped for a photo, and already there’s a young lad standing by the car.  If we were really to get stuck or break down, there were always plenty of willing hands to help push and pull us on our way.  They were friendly – and distinctly humorous – people.  Less friendly was the malaria, which initially got its teeth into me during this safari.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window – recommended.

Technique: OM-1 with 28mm Zuiko lens; Agfa CT18 colour slide film rated at 64 ISO; converted to mono in Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the High Contrast Red preset.

THE ARCHIVE KENYA SERIES

I’m re-posting photographs that I took in Kenya over 30 years ago.  You can find more context here .  Click onto the “Archive Kenya” tag (below) to see more of these film images from Kenya.

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