ARCHIVE 542 – MAN AT A WEDDING (MONO)

 

 


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Man at a wedding reception near Bristol; 17 Aug 2011.

With this striking character, I’ve definitely gone for the tough guy or gangster look.  His tie was a splendid red, but restoring that colour here would have unbalanced and cheapened the whole shot I think – it would have been a major distraction.

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

Technique: D700 with 24-140 Nikkor lens at 140mm; 1000 ISO; converted to mono with Silver Efex Pro 2, starting from the Cool Tones 1 preset.

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ARCHIVE KENYA 61 – MAASAI (MONO)

 

 

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Young Maasai men, below the Nguruman Escarpment (the western wall of the rift valley), near Lake Magadi in southern Kenya; March 1979.

We had set up camp for a long weekend and these young men came to see us every day. Both are armed with the long spears used, amongst other things, to ward off or kill lions.

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

Technique: OM-1 with 50mm Zuiko lens; Agfa CT18 colour slide film, rated at 64 ISO; converted to mono with Silver Efex Pro.

UPDATE: as always, I regret not taking more photographs of Kenyan people during my years in that interesting and hospitable country; I treasure those pictures that I do have.  And I am not referring only to traditionally dressed people like these, but really to all people.  However, in those days I was a different photographic animal – primarily a birder (tho taking very few photos of birds), professionally a geologist – and photographing lots of landscapes amongst other things.

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 56 – THE THIRD LARGEST LAND MAMMAL AND ME

 

 

Photo credit: Bill Stripling

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Years ago, I used to lead bird and general wildlife/nature safaris in Kenya.  It was hard work, not least because, rather than relying on a driver, I did all my own driving, of which much was either on bad roads or on no roads at all.  But I greatly enjoyed the work, because the company I worked for provided tours for naturalists, and these could be anything from out and out birders, to those wanting to see the large mammals – and especially the large predators – to those who wanted to see and hear about a bit of everything, including geology (my university subject) and Kenyan peoples and history.   We handled a lot of groups from museums and nature/conservation societies.

And sometimes the itinerary took us to Meru National Park, which is situated in low, hot, thornbush country to the northeast of Mt Kenya.  And there in Meru, in those days (the late 1980s), there was a small herd of White Rhinoceros that I think had been given to Kenya by another country – I think South Africa – as a diplomatic, goodwill gesture, and which the Kenyan government kept under the watchful eyes of some armed National Park staff in Meru..

Now there are two types of rhinoceros in Africa, the White and the Black, and they vary vastly in general temperament.  The Black Rhino, which is native to Kenya, is aggressive, violent and extremely dangerous – they kill people, and fiercely attack vehicles.  You really don’t mess about with a Black Rhino, you treat it with enormous respect.  But the White Rhino is really something else.  Its not so aggressive and, living long term under human care, these few animals in Meru were more docile still.

So, on safari, I would take my clients to walk amongst and be with the world’s third largest land mammal (after the African and Indian Elephants), which was a wonderful and intriguing experience.  For their part, the rhinos ignored us completely – to the point of calmly walking through you if you were foolish enough to stand in their way.  But we could touch them – it was like laying your hand on a rock-solid, cold, stone wall – and, being young and stupid, I remember going round to the front end, getting hold of the fabled horn and shaking the creature’s head – whereupon I was unceremoniously tossed me aside very much as you or I might impatiently wave away a nuisance fly – which was, of course, exactly what I deserved.

Amazingly, after all these years (this would have been sometime in the period 1987-1989) I recall the name of the photographer – Bill Stripling.  He took these shots and, after the trip, was kind enough to send me these large prints, and also lots of the other excellent wildlife shots he took during the safari, which I’ve housed in an album and which I treasure.

What else is there to see here?  There’s the younger me, with beer gut already evident, and around my neck the Zeiss 10x40B Dialyt binoculars that took such a hammering on those safaris, and which I still have.  Also the more discerning of you may notice my slightly big-breasted look – I mean, just how fetching could I get? – which resulted from the fact that, for reasons of security, I always used to carry all of the tours’ petty cash, in cash, in the breast pockets of my safari shirts – I was a walking bank, with a chest that slimmed down as the tours went on.  Is that exotic or what???!

And now I suppose, because I try to be honest on this blog, I should tell you the full story of these rhinos.  I apologise in advance for the sadness of what I am about to relate.

I was accompanying a party of British birders, and took them to see these rhinos.  And then, later on on that safari, we bought a local newspaper and learned that, soon after our visit, all of these animals had been killed by poachers, and their horns stolen.  I can imagine the scene.  A few National Park guards, most probably armed with British Lee Enfield .303 rifles of WWII vintage, up against superior numbers of poachers armed with AK47s – I expect the guards ran for their lives.  I would have run too.

But, sad ending though this may be, after all these years I still retain wonderful memories of being able to be so close to those great creatures.

Click onto this image to open a larger version in a separate window

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 53 – MARKET IN LAMU

 

 


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Market in Lamu, a town on an island just off Kenya’s coast.  Coconuts (in the foreground) and mangoes (further back) are for sale.  This was the view from our room at the New Mahrus Hotel, in July 1978.

Lamu is an old fashioned town, with many narrow alleys and no motor vehicles.  Due to a combination of conquest and immigration by arab peoples down the eastern seaboard of Africa in the past, many people on Kenya’s coast have facial features that are more arab than african and many of them are muslim.

Click into 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 KENYA 50 – RINGING MIGRANT BIRDS AT NGULIA LODGE

 

 

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A german ornithologist extracts birds from mist nets at Ngulia Lodge, Tsavo West National Park, Kenya; November 1979.  In the autumn, millions of small birds migrate from Europe and Russia southwards into Africa to escape the harsh northern winter.  They fly at night for protection, and navigate by the moon and stars.  A stream of these nocturnal migrants passes over Tsavo and, on moonless nights in the autumn, they become disorientated when caught in the fog and low cloud that often occurs in this area in the rainy season.

Ngulia Lodge is built high up on a ridge, and it has game viewing lights which are left on all night.  The migrants are attracted by the lights’ glow in the mist, and many tens of thousands of birds can descend on the lodge from out of the murky night skies.  For those interested in the natural world, a fall of migrants at Ngulia can be an incredible spectacle, the birds are literally all over the lodge.  And it is truly amazing, and moving too, to think of these millions of small birds, like the one pictured above, flying down across Africa in the darkness – only to fly back up to Europe and Russia in the following spring to breed.

The birds fail to see the very fine mist nets and fly into them, becoming entangled in the fine mesh. They are manually extracted from the nets and ringed (i.e. they have a small, engraved metal ring wrapped around one of their legs). Birds ringed at Ngulia have been found in many areas of eastern Europe and Russia, east to Siberia. The mist net’s fine mesh can be seen against the ringer’s red shirt; the bags around his waist contain birds already extracted from the nets and awaiting ringing.

Technique: Olympus OM-2; TTL-metered flash; 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 47 – FISHERMAN

 

 

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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.

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ARCHIVE KENYA 30 – MIST NETTING BIRDS IN KAKAMEGA FOREST

 

 


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On the right, the former Curator of Ornithology at The National Museums of Kenya, G R Cunningham-van Someren –  known to one and all as ‘Chum’ ; Feb 1978.

He is examining a small bird netted in Kakamega Forest, in the far west of Kenya, while another birder speaks the details into a portable tape recorder.   The vague, blurry mesh of the very fine “mist” net used to catch the bird can be seen in the background.

Kenya is one of the richest bird countries in Africa because, due to a chance placing of colonial boundaries, it is situated where several of the great faunal/floral regions within sub-Saharan Africa meet.  Each of these great regions has its own distinctive birds, mammals, plants etc.  When I wrote A Bird Atlas of Kenya (publ. 1989) 1,065 bird species had been recorded in Kenya, a country only the size of Texas; more have been found in the ensuing years.

Kakamega Forest is the easternmost outpost of one of these regions , the great central African rain forests, and it holds many birds not found elsewhere in Kenya – and hence it was a very exciting destination for birders newly arrived in the country, and the more so if accompanied by this expert ornithologist.

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

Technique: OM-1 with 50mm Zuiko lens; Agfa CT18 colour slide film.

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 507 – PHOTOGRAPHER (MONO)

 

 


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Photographer on top the East Cliff at West Bay, Dorset; 21 Apr 2015.

Having climbed the really quite steep path palely visible on the far left, a woman pauses to look back westwards, taking a photo perhaps of the view over the tiny coastal resort of West Bay and the wonderful coastal scenery beyond.  Her companion – who may be as frustrated and bored with her “artistic pauses” as many photographers’ companions are – digs his hands into his pockets and stalks on along the path, which passes to the right of the wire fence.

I like this picture for its simplicity, and also for the impression it gives of Tiny and Fleeting Humanity against the dark, brooding, massive and far longer term Natural World.  I’ve intentionally made the silhouette to emphasise this distinction, but I value the path’s pale rocks because they provide some sort of border to the image on that side.  And the featureless blue sky is left untidy with a contrail and gulls, both of which could have been removed, because they add some interest and closure on the right.

And has she seen the glint of the long lens on my thundering great tank of a Nikon, and so is photographing, me photographing her, photographing me … “and so on, ad infinitum“, if I can paraphrase Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)?  Or is she (hopefully …) of a more artistic bent, and going for what the French call a vue generale?

Finally, the cliff’s stark edge forms the profile of a human visage that is looking up to the right – forelock, eyelashes, nose, lips, and maybe double chin or Adam’s Apple too, they’re all there –   but even I have not the gall to suggest that they be thought of as a cliff face.

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

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 200 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the High Structure Harsh preset.

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ARCHIVE 506 – SHADES, SCOOBIE’S AND ME (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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Selfie in the main street of Perranporth, Cornwall; 14 Apr 2016.

A rack of trendy sunglasses outside one of this seaside town’s many gift shops and The FATman – forever vain! – snapping his reflection.

And although we didn’t go in there and get our snouts in their trough, google tells me that Scoobie’s is a diner.

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

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 800 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the High Structure Harsh preset and selectively restoring colour; flipped to provide readable reflections.

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ARCHIVE 504 – THREE VIEWS OF ME

 

 


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Three views of me, in mirrors for sale outside a seaside gift shop in Mevagissey, Cornwall; 24 Oct 2012.

Landmarks?  Well, my cap, which is actually a designer piece (tho not bought with any knowledge of that), and which I’m told makes me look like either a train driver or a Japanese soldier.

And then the lens that I’m wedded to – the 70-300.  And lastly, left of center, my trademark paunch, without which I’d have to change my name – actually I do have to lose weight but that’s another thing!

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate windows – but don’t say I didn’t warn you about the nightmares!

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 70mm; 1600 ISO.

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