ARCHIVE 266 – STORM AT NAKURU

 

 

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A large thunder storm heads down the rift valley in Kenya, and looms over Lake Nakuru; the late 1970s.

Large storms like this are common in and around the rift and, this being convectional rainfall, especially so in the afternoons, i.e. after the sun has been going long enough, sucking moisture up into the heavens.

The birds in the water in the foreground are flamingos, and the flying birds further out comprise three pelicans on the left, followed by yet more flamingos.

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

OM-1 with 75-150 lens at 150mm; Agfa CT18 colour slide, rated at 64 ISO.

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ARCHIVE 257 – THE SHORE AT LAKE NAKURU (MONO)

 

 

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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 30 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.

OM-1 with 28mm Zuiko lens; Agfa CT18 colour slide, rated at 64 ISO; converted to monochrome in Silver Efex Pro.

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ARCHIVE 226 – NAKURU DAWN

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Dawn mists rise above Lake Nakuru, central Kenya; January 1978.

The large, white birds with huge bills in the foreground are White Pelicans.  In the lake behind them are the trunks of trees that, flooded by the lake, have been killed by the high concentration of sodium bicarbonate in its waters. Cormorants (the same bird as in the UK) perch on these dead trunks, and a nest of sticks is also visible.

This lake is over a mile above sea level and so, particularly after a clear night, the whole place can be pretty chilly by first light – standing around taking pictures, waiting for the sunrise, we were well wrapped up!  At altitudes a little above this – and right on the equator – frosts can occur.

Clicking onto this image opens a (slightly) larger version in a separate window.

Vivitar 400mm telephoto on Olympus SLR, mounted on a tripod; colour transparency.

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ARCHIVE 182 – NAKURU SUNRISE, WITH MARABOU AND CORMORANTS

 

 

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Marabou Storks and cormorants silhouetted in the sunrise at Lake Nakuru, Kenya; Jan 1978.

Lake Nakuru is a soda lake located over a  mile above sea level in the floor of Kenya’s rift valley.  It is most famous for the vast flocks of flamingos – flocks that can be over a million strong – that periodically reside on the alkaline waters.

Here are two other resident members of the lake’s teeming birdlife.  The Marabou is a huge stork – five feet from beak to tail – and a very successful scavenger of anything at all eatable,  and also an opportunistic killer of anything small and defenceless.  It frequently attends kills of large mammals alongside vultures, and has a similarly unfeathered head for retrieving entrails etc from deep inside carcasses.

The cormorants are the same bird that we have here in Britain: they exist on a diet of fish which they catch underwater.  Despite the fact that they are predominantly waterbirds, their feathers are not waterproofed like those of ducks so that they must be dried out after underwater sorties – and the bird top right is doing just that – standing in the warming sun, with wings out to dry.  (The bird bottom right appears to have a beak protruding from the back of its head, but this is in fact the beak of another individual, swimming on the water behind it.)

This shot might very well have been presented in monochrome, but the gold of the sunrise is not to be abandoned!

Vivitar 400mm telephoto on Olympus OM SLR, mounted on a tripod; Agfa CT18 colour slide, rated at 64 ISO.

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ARCHIVE 158 – SOMETIME EARLIER IN THE WORLD

 

 

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Sunrise at the mouth of the Njoro River at Lake Nakuru, Kenya; Jan 1978.

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.

Tripod-mounted OM-2 with 400mm Vivitar; Agfa CT 18 colour slide, rated at 64 ISO.

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ARCHIVE 155 – CORMORANT

 

 

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Cormorant leaving its perch and flying off into the sunrise; Lake Nakuru, Kenya; January 1978.

Olympus OM-1 or OM-2; and a very quick (and lucky!) grab shot with a 400mm Vivitar telephoto.

UPDATE: a photo that reminds me of cold, clear dawns on the lake edge – yes, cold – although almost on the equator, Lake Nakuru is over a mile above sea level and dawns can be, by Kenyan standards at least, distinctly chilly.  Frost occurs not too far above this, in the mountains.

I forget which colour slide film I used – it might have been Kodak’s High Speed Ektachrome, which attained the dizzy heights of 160 ISO!  And which, if we were really daring, we could have push processed to 640 ISO – heady days indeed!

Sometime back, probably when I first posted this, one viewer remarked upon the similarity between the tree stump’s outspread shape to the bird’s outspread wings – a valuable point.
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ARCHIVE 154 – RAINBOW AT NAKURU

 

 

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Rainbow in Lake Nakuru National Park, central Kenya, against a dark, stormy sky; June 1980.

On the right are Yellow-barked Acacias, known as “Fever Trees” due to formerly being thought the source of malaria.

Note the difference in brightness of the sky on either side of the rainbow, and also how the sequence of colours in the rainbow’s dim reflection is opposite to that in the rainbow itself.

OM-1 with 28mm Zuiko; Agfa CT18 colour slide rated at 64 ISO.
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ARCHIVE 105 – STORM AT NAKURU

 

 

Storm at Lake Nakuru
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A large thunder storm heads down the rift valley in Kenya, and looms over Lake Nakuru; the late 1970s.

Large storms like this are common in and around the rift valley.  This is convectional rainfall – the sun rises and starts to suck the ground’s moisture up into the sky.   As a result, the mornings are beautifully clear but, as the moisture rises, clouds start to form and, usually in the afternoons, large storms like this one drop the water back onto the land again – after which the sun often reappears for a fine end to the day.

The birds in the water in the foreground are flamingos, and the line of flying birds further out comprise three pelicans on the left, followed by yet more flamingos.

OM-1 with 75-150 Zuiko at 150mm; Agfa CT18 colour slide, rated at 64 ISO.
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ARCHIVE 102 – DAWN MISTS AT LAKE NAKURU (MONO)

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Dawn mists at Lake Nakuru
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Dawn mists rising from Lake Nakuru in central Kenya; Jan 1978.

The large birds with huge bills in the foreground are White Pelicans.  In the lake behind them are the remains of trees that, flooded by the lake, have been killed by the high concentration of sodium bicarbonate in its waters.  Cormorants  perch on these dead trunks, and there is also a nest of sticks.  Around the bottom of these trees, three flamingos are feeding, heads down in the water.  More pelicans are further out on the lake, fading into the haze.

Vivitar 400mm telephoto on Olympus SLR, mounted on a tripod.

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ARCHIVE 56 – DEAD TREES AT NAKURU (MONO)

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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.  They are Yellow-barked Acacias, the Fever Trees so-called because they were thought to be the source of malaria.

Despite the fact that its over 30 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.

OM-1 with 28mm Zuiko; Agfa CT18 colour slide, rated at 64 ISO; converted to monochrome in Silver Efex Pro.

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I first posted this picture in August 2011.  Subsequent to that, someone pointed out that I had been careless in not cropping out those untidy branches half-way up the frame’s left edge.  Yes, they could be removed, but I’m leaving them in – they are untidy, but maybe they add closure to that edge of the shot – what do you think?

Also I see that I used Silver Efex Pro on this image; that’s been an absolutely invaluable friend and accomplice for sometime now.
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