ARCHIVE 443 – BOYS FISHING (MONO)

 

 


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Boys fishing at Dunga, near Kisumu, on the shores of Lake Victoria in western Kenya; April 1979.

A moment 41 years ago, frozen in time, and to me, now, many of these children seem like statues – they have a simple and unknowing grace.

Photographing dark-skinned people on any sort of bright day can be problematical if any kind of detail, facial features, etc is required.  In such a situation, its best to seek out some shade or to use a little flash.  I had neither of those options here – and I probably wasn’t even thinking about them anyway – so, decades later, I’ve used a high key preset to strain every last bit of detail out of the scene.

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 slide film, rated at 64 ISO; converted to mono with Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the High Key 1 preset.

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ARCHIVE 442 – MAASAI WOMAN (MONO)

 

 


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One of two Maasai women that we met as they walked together across the open grasslands of the Maasai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya, amidst the large mammals – elephant, lion, hyaena, buffalo, hippopotamus, leopard, aardvark, cheetah, gazelle, baboon, giraffe, black rhinoceros and so on – that are an integral and accepted part of their everyday lives; April 1979.

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

Technique: probably my (now battered and mouldy) Olympus OM-1 camera (oh what a wonderful camera!!!), shooting Agfa CT18 colour slide film rated at 64 ISO; 50mm Zuiko lens; converted to mono in Silver Efex Pro.

UPDATE:  well, 41 years on.  What are my feelings about this encounter?  I can only say that its an education to meet someone like this; I gained so much Life Knowledge in Kenya.  After all, she and I were both human beings, and yet so totally different in culture, way of life, you name it.  And let there be no thought of superiority or inferiority here, I regard such words as totally meaningless in this context – the two of us were simply extremely different.  And, she was entirely at home in the wild landscape in which we met; whereas on foot as she was, and left to my own devices, even if I could survive in the 12 hours of the equatorial day, I probably wouldn’t have lasted through the ensuing 12 hours of darkness.

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ARCHIVE 435 – AFRICA, BREAKING APART

 

 


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In today’s cheap and superficial hype – too often the triumph of style over substance – many things are marketed as having various specified advantages “and so much more”. Well, here is a photograph that really does have “so much more”. It was taken from the eastern wall of the rift valley, near Kijabe, in Kenya, looking down westwards towards the rift’s floor, sometime in the late 1970s. The rift wall here is not a single escarpment, but a series of small escarpments that gradually descend to the rift’s floor like a flight of huge steps.

This photo was taken from the top of the escarpment, looking down upon the top of the first of these steps which, because it still has sufficient altitude to attract rain and mist, is green and fertile. This green but restricted area of land is covered in a close patchwork of cultivated plots, and dwellings roofed with thatch or corrugated iron. Beyond this step, the floor of the rift can be seen, browner and drier, many hundreds of feet below. Rising from these pale, dry lowlands is the dark and jagged bulk of Mt Longonot, a dormant volcano which last erupted around 1860. In the far distance, behind Longonot, the abrupt line of hills is the rift valley’s western wall.

So far so good, but there really is so much more here, for the fact is that the eastern edge of the African continent has been breaking apart for a long time. The island of Madagascar broke away from the rest of Africa many millions of years ago and, during this lengthy isolation from the mainland, many unique (i.e. endemic) forms of life have evolved there, e.g. the Lemurs (primates, like ourselves) and the Ground-Rollers (birds).

But that is not all. The Eastern Rift Valley (the one in Kenya) and and the Western Rift constitute further incipient splits in the eastern side of the African continent and, as I took this picture, I was standing on the western edge of another part of the continent that may split away to become an island like Madagascar in (the millions of) years to come. The floor of the rift is new crust that has moved upwards from the Earth’s extremely hot, molten interior to ‘seal up the cracks’ in the disintegrating continent, and hence the reason for the many volcanoes (including Mt Longonot) and natural steam vents on the rift valley floor.  Here, in this landscape, are the visible signs of a continent breaking apart.

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

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ARCHIVE 434 – 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 nets and prophylactics.

Click onto the image to see a slightly enlarged version.

Technique: OM-1 with 28mm Zuiko lens; Agfa CT18 colour slide, rated at 64 ISO.
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ARCHIVE 433 – THE WATERFRONT AT LAMU

 

 


.The waterfront at Lamu, an island off the Kenyan coast; Jul 1978.

The white battlements of the town’s small fort can be seen just left of the sail, and coconut palms line the horizon.

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

Technique: OM-1 with 75mm-150mm Zuiko lens; Agfa CT18 colour slide rated at 64 ISO.
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ARCHIVE 432 – LANDSCAPE IN THE NORTHERN DESERTS

 

 


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

Recent rains brought on a green flush of grass and other plants, which have now died and turned to straw as the desert returns to its usual hot, arid state.

Digital manipulation has turned the golden brown of this dead vegetation into pure white, as would be achieved by using infra-red monochrome film. The reduction of this landscape to mainly black (lava flows and boulders) and white (dessicated vegetation) tones has served to simplify the scene, and to show the woman and her animals virtually in silhouette.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window – recommended.
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ARCHIVE 431 – ON A FARM IN WESTERN KENYA

 

 


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Sub-Saharan Africa’s love affair with bright colour: Luo woman on a farm near Akala, in western Kenya; April 1979.

She is sitting in front of the wooden door of a mud hut with a thatched roof.

Technique: OM-1 with 50mm Zuiko lens; Agfa CT18 colour slide, rated at 64 ISO to further saturate colour.
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ARCHIVE 323 – A CONTINENT SPLITS APART

 

 

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In today’s cheap and superficial hype – too often the triumph of style over substance –  many things are marketed as having various specified advantages “and so much more”.  Well, here is a photograph that really does have “so much more”.  It was taken from the eastern wall of the rift valley, near Kijabe in Kenya, looking down westwards towards the rift’s floor, sometime in the late 1970s.  The rift wall here is not a single escarpment, but a series of small escarpments that gradually descend to the rift’s floor like a flight of huge steps.

This photo was taken from the top of the escarpment, looking down upon the top of the first of these steps which, because it still has sufficient altitude to attract rain and mist, is green and fertile.  This green but restricted area of land is covered in a close patchwork of cultivated plots, and dwellings roofed with thatch or corrugated iron. Beyond this step, the floor of the rift can be seen, browner and drier, many hundreds of feet below. Rising from these pale, dry lowlands is the dark and jagged bulk of Mt Longonot, a dormant volcano which last erupted around 1860. In the far distance, behind Longonot, the abrupt line of hills is the rift valley’s western wall.

So far so good, but there really is so much more here, for the fact is that the eastern edge of the African continent has been breaking apart for a long time.  The island of Madagascar broke away from the rest of Africa many millions of years ago and, during this lengthy isolation from the mainland, many unique (i.e. endemic) forms of life have evolved there, e.g. the Lemurs.

But that is not all. The Eastern Rift Valley (the one in Kenya) and and the Western Rift constitute further incipient splits in the eastern side of the African continent and, as I took this picture, I was standing on the western edge of another part of the continent that may split away to become an island like Madagascar in (the millions of) years to come.  The rift’s western wall, that misty escarpment in the background of the shot, might then become Africa’s east coast.

The floor of the rift is new crust that has moved upwards from the Earth’s extremely hot interior to ‘seal up the cracks’ in the disintegrating continent.  And hence the reason for the many volcanoes (including Mt Longonot) in this area – these were formed where the molten rock (magma) moving up from the Earth’s interior burst out (erupted) onto the Earth’s surface, as lava.  There are also numerous natural steam vents on the rift valley floor – these are the result of rainwater and groundwater coming into contact with the extremely hot rocks present not far below the surface of the ground.

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

UPDATE: I became an enthusiastic collector of rocks, minerals and fossils from somewhere around the age of five and went on to become a professional geologist – lecturing and research.  I’m very grateful for that background because it has given me a very solid idea of who, where and what I am in what might be termed “The Grand Scheme Of Things”.  To put it another way, if I’ve reached the “grand old age of 67”, then the Earth’s lifespan of 4,500,000,000 years make my lifetime seem like less than the blink of an eyelid – which is exactly what it is.  A knowledge of geology  also makes for new insights into landscapes.

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ARCHIVE 174 – A CONTINENT SPLITS APART

 

 

ADL300aX
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In today’s cheap and superficial hype – too often the triumph of style over substance –  many things are marketed as having various specified advantages “and so much more”.  Well, here is a photograph that really does have “so much more”.  It was taken from the eastern wall of the rift valley, near Kijabe in Kenya, looking down westwards towards the rift’s floor, sometime in the late 1970s.  The rift wall here is not a single escarpment, but a series of small escarpments that gradually descend to the rift’s floor like a flight of huge steps.

This photo was taken from the top of the escarpment, looking down upon the top of the first of these steps which, because it still has sufficient altitude to attract rain and mist, is green and fertile.  This green but restricted area of land is covered in a close patchwork of cultivated plots, and dwellings roofed with thatch or corrugated iron. Beyond this step, the floor of the rift can be seen, browner and drier, many hundreds of feet below. Rising from these pale, dry lowlands is the dark and jagged bulk of Mt Longonot, a dormant volcano which last erupted around 1860. In the far distance, behind Longonot, the abrupt line of hills is the rift valley’s western wall.

So far so good, but there really is so much more here, for the fact is that the eastern edge of the African continent has been breaking apart for a long time.  The island of Madagascar broke away from the rest of Africa many millions of years ago and, during this lengthy isolation from the mainland, many unique (i.e. endemic) forms of life have evolved there, e.g. the Lemurs.

But that is not all. The Eastern Rift Valley (the one in Kenya) and and the Western Rift constitute further incipient splits in the eastern side of the African continent and, as I took this picture, I was standing on the western edge of another part of the continent that may split away to become an island like Madagascar in (the millions of) years to come. 

The floor of the rift is new crust that has moved upwards from the Earth’s extremely hot interior to ‘seal up the cracks’ in the disintegrating continent.  And hence the reason for the many volcanoes (including Mt Longonot) in this area – these were formed where the molten rock (magma) moving up from the Earth’s interior burst out (erupted) onto the Earth’s surface, as lava.  There are also numerous natural steam vents on the rift valley floor – these are the result of rainwater and groundwater coming into contact with the extremely hot rocks present not far below the surface of the ground.

UPDATE: I became an enthusiastic collector of rocks, minerals and fossils from somewhere around the age of five and went on to become a professional geologist – lecturing and research.  I’m very grateful for that background because it has given me a very solid idea of who, where and what I am in what might be termed “The Grand Scheme Of Things”.  To put it another way, if I’ve reached the “grand old age of 65”, then the Earth’s lifespan of 4,500,000,000 years make my lifetime seem like less than the blink of an eyelid – which is exactly what it is.  A knowledge of geology  also makes for new insights into landscapes.

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ARCHIVE 98 – KILIMANJARO (MONO)

 

 

Kilimanjaro
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Mt Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, seen from Kenya’s Amboseli Game Reserve; July 1978.

OM-1 with 75mm-150mm Zuiko; Agfa CT18 colour slide rated at 64 ISO; converted to mono in Silver Efex Pro 2.

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