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 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 11 – LANDSCAPE IN THE NORTHERN DESERTS (MONO)

 

 


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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.

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 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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KENYA 76 – IN THE DIDA GALGALLA DESERT

 

 


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The view south in the rocky Dida Galgalla Desert of northern Kenya, with the volcanic highlands of Mt Marsabit on the horizon – each one of those far off peaks is a volcano – the picture can be clicked on and enlarged to show these a little more clearly.  Photographed in the late 1970s.

Having worked as a geologist in Arabia, and also being a naturalist, I have a great affinity for deserts – their often harsh and desolate emptiness, the huge skies, the intriguing wildlife.  Those familiar with pictures of the sand seas of the Sahara will find none of that here – this is a rocky desert – and its more of a semi-desert >>> sparse and bleached plant life can be seen, and after rains the whole area will briefly become green, but briefly is the operative word here, most of the time it looks like this.

One other thing to mention.  Look at the small rock outcrop close to the camera, and just above the centre of the picture – and then look just to the left of it.  That glimpse of a far off, twisting, sandy (and rocky too!) track is in fact the A2, the main road through this part of northern Kenya up to the Ethiopian border at Moyale.  How I remember bouncing and crashing around on that road, as we went north looking for desert birds on fascinating and exciting journeys.  But I never drove the whole way to Moyale.  Instead, intent on gathering data for a bird atlas, we flew in, twice, from Nairobi I think.  And I seem to remember our little aircraft landing in Ethiopia but coming to a halt in Kenya – but that may just be a fanciful thought from long ago.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it further – recommended – except that this is a very old colour slide that has spent years in the tropics >>> and parts of the sky in particular say as much!!! 🙂

Technique: OM-1 with 28mm Zuiko lens; Agfa CT18 colour slide, rated at 64 ISO; Lightroom.
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ARCHIVE 216 – 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.

There is another photo of this scene here – its taken from much further away, and gives a rather better idea of the arid desolation that this woman is leading her animals through.

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

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ARCHIVE 66 – NORTHERN DESERTS NOMAD (MONO)

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

Recent rains had 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 near reduction of this landscape to two tones –  the black of the lava flows and boulders and the white of the dessicated vegetation –   simplifies the scene, and shows the woman and her animals virtually in silhouette.  These five living creatures look small and isolated in the midst of this vast, dessicating landscape.

The scene has a pervasive horizontal structure – the lines of lava boulders and skeletal shrubs, the woman and her pack animals, and the ovoids of the two low, black, lava hills on the horizon.

OM-1 with 75-150 Zuiko at 150mm; Agfa CT18 colour slide rated at 64 ISO; conversion to mono in Alien Skin’s Exposure 2.
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KENYA 61 – BIRDING ON THE ROAD TO MOYALE

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

This is the road running northwards from Mt Marsabit in northern Kenya.  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.

I was much younger and more irresponsible in 78 – 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, and I can only imagine that its more dangerous in these uncertain days.

Oh, and that’s Bill, a birding friend from long ago – boy, we saw a lot of birds in those days!

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