ARCHIVE KENYA 49 – LAGOON AT MAGADI (MONO)

 

 


.

Alkaline lagoon at Lake Magadi, on the floor of the rift valley in southern Kenya; Nov 1977.

The water is made alkaline by high concentrations of sodium bicarbonate which have been leached out of the rift valley’s volcanic rocks.   This water is so alkaline that it feels soapy to the touch, i.e. it starts to dissolve skin on contact, and its high soda content gives it an awfully rank, chemical odour.  Add to that the fact that this is a very hot, low lying area of the rift, and Magadi becomes something of an acquired taste.  But, to anyone interested in the Natural World – wildlife, geology, landscape –  it is also a fascinating place.

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 with Silver Efex Pro.

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.

.
.
.

ARCHIVE KENYA 48 – THE SHORE AT LAKE NAKURU (MONO)

 

 


.

Dead trees on the shore of Lake Nakuru, in central Kenya; 27 Apr 1980.  These trees grew beside the lake, but then were killed when the lake’s highly alkaline waters rose and flooded their roots.

Despite the fact that its over 40 years ago now, I can still remember taking this shot, which was originally in colour.  I remember placing the nearest tree on the right of the frame, and liking it because it was partially sunlit, and because it was leaning into the frame.

Looking at it now, my eye is taken from this leaning tree, out across the bright sky reflections in the shallow pools of water, to the tree with a dense canopy, which looks rather like an upside down ice cream cone.  This tree is also leaning into the frame, while being silhouetted against the bright sky, and just about at a compositional strong point in the picture, on the junction of the upper third and the left hand third.

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 monochrome in Silver Efex Pro.

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

.

.

.

ARCHIVE KENYA 47 – FISHERMAN

 

 

.

Fisherman in a mangrove-lined creek on Lamu, an island close off the coast of Kenya; July 1978.

He has sailed as far in into the creek as he could, and his boat is beached at the top of the shot.

He is carrying his catch in his little basket, and is now crouched on the creek’s shore, gutting them.  I can remember that, even as he was discarding the entrails, small hermit crabs were scampering forward through the shallows to feast on them.

What this picture cannot convey is just what it felt like to be there.  The sun is shining and the place is not far from the equator and so, yes, it was hot.  But Kenya’s coast is also immensely humid – such that any physical effort quickly induces profuse sweating.  The drier heat of much of the country’s interior is far more comfortable.

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; 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.

.

.

.

ARCHIVE 528 – TRACK OVER WANCOMBE HILL (MONO)

 

 


.

Track coming up over Wancombe Hill, southwest of Up Cerne, near Cerne Abbas, Dorset; 4 Jul 2003.

This was taken soon after I’d ceased considering birdwatching as my main thing – it had been my raison d’etre since 1967, and the main reason for spending years in Kenya.   I’d been taking photos since around 1960 or before, but they had largely consisted of seeing something nice and recording it with a camera.  Now I wanted to use cameras more as creative tools and, as I mentioned in the Art Wolfe post, to start thinking about John Shaw’s “Photo-Graphics”.

I was still very much wedded to film in those days, and the Olympus OM series SLRs were really something else.  I’d used an OM-1 and an OM-2 in Kenya, but years of use in the tropics had taken their toll, and they were now full of mould.  So, to start photographing again in this new way, I bought an OM-4 second hand via the internet.  On this trip I had this camera, an Olympus (Zuiko) 85-250 telezoom lens, and this simply exquisite little 21mm wide angle; a rickety old birdwatching tripod completed my gear.  And, having heard that Fuji Velvia 50 colour transparencies were the landscape photographer’s film, several rolls of that were in my old rucksack too.

I walked up this track, looked back, and used the 21mm.  The right hand side of the track is probably a little overexposed.

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

Technique: OM-4 with 21mm Zuiko lens; Fuji Velvia 50 colour slide film rated at 64 ISO; can’t recall how I converted it to black and white.

.
.
.

ARCHIVE KENYA 46 – DHOW OFF THE ISLAND OF LAMU (MONO)

 

 

.

Dhow off the island of Lamu, on the Kenyan coast; July 1978.

In reality, the sky was a bright, featureless blue and the shore behind the boat was lined with the green foliage of mangroves.  The picture has now become very close to black and white, with the boat’s large lateen sail as the beautiful main subject.

I like the way in which the use of under exposure has brought out the sail’s pale tones.  The only remaining pale tones in the photo are those of (some of) the crew’s white clothes and hats, and the white line along the boat’s side.

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; method for conversion to mono – forgotten!

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.

.

.

.

ARCHIVE KENYA 45 – INFRARED GIRAFFE, NAIROBI NATIONAL PARK (MONO)

 

 


.

Maasai Giraffe in Nairobi National Park, probably in the late 1970s.  This image has been given the look of infrared monochrome film using Silver Efex Pro, and I think the resulting pallor suits the subject.  The giraffe looks just about natural, but of course all of the greenery – the bushes and the grassy plain – are very pale.

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

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

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.

.

.

.

ARCHIVE 525 – SAVOY CABBAGE, BACKLIT

 

 


.

Savoy cabbage with backlighting; 29 Mar 2009.

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

Technique: F6 with 105mm Nikkor lens; tripod; Fuji Velvia 100 colour slide film, rated at 125 ISO to further saturate the colours.
.
.
.

ARCHIVE KENYA 44 – TORTOISE AT THE HIPPO POOLS (MONO)

 

 


.

Aquatic tortoise at the Hippo Pools, Nairobi National Park, Kenya; Oct 1979.

This colour slide has been converted to monochrome because this is a graphic image, its all about structure, and this is best shown in mono.

There are three compositional ingredients. First and most prominent are the sunlit trunks of the fallen tree, which make a bold texture right across the image.  Then there is oval area of sunlit water.  Finally, there is the tortoise, which is at a compositional strong point on the conjunction of the picture’s thirds and also within the halo of the milky, sunlit water.

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.

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.

.

.

.

ARCHIVE KENYA 43 – ZEBRA AND FOAL, CAUGHT IN SUNLIGHT (MONO)

 

 


.

Common Zebra with foal, Amboseli National Park, Kenya; July 1978. 

These two animals were caught in a momentary shaft of sunlight – in the great darkness behind them are the lower slopes of Mt Kilimanjaro, completely swathed in cloud.  They look almost like statues – or like dancers, with the foal caught in mid turn. 

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, and enhanced, with Silver Efex Pro.

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.
.
.
.

ARCHIVE KENYA 42 – BODY LANGUAGE

 

 


.

OK, so which is the precocious one??? – youngsters on a farm in the far west of Kenya; Apr 1979.

As I’ve mentioned before, I was over in the far west of Kenya – around Akala, Kisumu and Lake Victoria – in 1979, visiting my friend’s father’s farm.  I was an out and out birder in those days, and I was in this area looking for birds only found, in Kenya at least, in the very far west – which birds? >>> Eastern Grey Plantain Eater, Brown Twinspot, Shoebill, Splendid Starling and many more.

I was a curiosity anyway of course, because these far western areas were way off the usual tourist trail, but in particular I attracted droves of children, which was fine with me as I love kids – but not so fine when I was very quietly trying to spot rare and shy birds in dense vegetation.  Ever humorous, my companion let it be known that I liked eating children, but even that had little effect.

Anyway, above are three of this farm’s throng, and which is the forward, lively, cheeky one? (First prize: an evening with me in a top class Bristol restaurant; second prize: two evenings with me in …).

Let’s start with the non-contenders.  They’re seated neatly on either side, arms and legs in, respectful expressions – as if they’re in school maybe, or church.

And between them … limbs insolently wide, provocative, questioning, a slight smile, head forward, big eyes looking up … “Its me … and I’m not afraid of you and your camera … so what are you going to do about that then?! … “.

And after 41 years I can still remember her – always up at the front of the crowd of kids, always questioning, laughing, clamouring for attention – a wonderful character, a lot of fun.  But I wonder if these three made it through to adulthood, life in the Third World can hold uncertainties after all.  I hope they are all fine – they’ll be around 45 now, probably with children of their own.  Time – or, as a friend perceptively puts it, “the conveyor belt” – moves on.  You think about these things more when you’re older.

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

Technique: OM-1 with 50mm Zuiko lens; Agfa CT18 colour slide film rated at 64 ISO; Dfine 2; 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.

.
.
.

%d bloggers like this: