ARCHIVE KENYA 120 – MT KENYA: NELION AT SUNRISE

 

 


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Looking up at sunrise from Top Hut on Mt Kenya towards Nelion, one of the twin peaks of Mt Kenya; August 1978.

Almost the roof of Africa!  Nelion stands at 17,021 feet, while the other peak, Batian, rises to 17,057 feet.  These two peaks are separated by the wonderfully named Gate of the Mists, and they are the tallest peaks in Africa second only to Mt Kilimanjaro, which is nearby in neighbouring Tanzania, and which soars to over 19,000 feet.

What was it like being up there on Mt Kenya?  Well, taking this photo, it was extremely cold – I remember having trouble changing the lenses on my Olympus OM-1 SLR; they were very stiff to twist off, presumably due to the intense cold having slightly contracted the metal.  Getting up to this altitude on the mountain required no rock climbing skills, it was simply a long walk, made more strenuous in its later stages by the decreasing oxygen content of the air – but after a day or so at these altitudes, breathing became easier.  We were up there for several nights, sleeping in the various mountaineering huts around the peaks; and my abiding memories of those huts concern the rats which ran over and around us every night as we slept!

Click onto the “early morning” tag (below) to see more images from the early hours of the day.

Click onto the image to open another copy in a separate window.

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

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 74 – MACKINDER VALLEY, MT KENYA

 

 


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Mackinder Valley, Mt Kenya, looking across to the peaks of Terreri and Sendeyo from the Kami Hut; Aug 1978.

This deep valley has the classical U-shaped cross-section that indicates that it was gouged out by a glacier flowing outwards from the Mt Kenya massif.  The Mt Kenya glaciers are now of very limited extent and, with the withdrawal of the ice, Mackinder Valley has been left precipitous and empty. 

The plants are Giant Groundsels, which are able to withstand the great ranges of temperature that occur on the East African mountains – I remember feeling quite comfortable in the sun, but instantly chilled in the shade.

Clicking onto the image will open a larger version in a separate window – recommended.

Technique: OM-1 with 28mm Zuiko lens; Afga 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 58 – MT KENYA (MONO)

 

 


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Mt Kenya, seen from the gate of Mt Kenya National Park; August 1978.

The dark highland forest surrounding the mountain has mist clouds. Above this forest is a great mass of slightly paler, hummocky country known as the Vertical Bog, a steep and muddy section. Further up again, are bare rock, ice and snow.

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

Technique: OM-1 with 75-150 Zuiko lens; Agfa CT18 colour slide film rated at 64 ISO; converted into mono with Alien Skin’s Exposure 2.

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 27 – LOOKING UP AT MT KENYA

 

 


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Mt Kenya, seen from the gate of Mt Kenya National Park; August 1978.  The dark highland forest surrounding the mountain has mist clouds. Above the forest is a great mass of slightly paler, hummocky country known as the Vertical Bog, a steep and muddy section. Further up again, bare rock, ice and snow.

Actual rock and ice climbing techniques and equipment are not necessary for all but the summit, which is slightly obscured by cloud here.  Most visitors (including me!) only climb (walk) up to the tall pinnacle on the right, which is just below the main peaks.  But, still, this is really quite a formidable, wet and steep walk, the later stages of which are made more difficult by the thinness of the air – it took me about a day to become used to the lower oxygen levels.

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 KENYA 25 – MT KENYA, LOOKING DOWN ONTO THE CLOUDS (MONO)

 

 


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Looking down upon the cloud tops from just below the summit of Mt Kenya; August 1978.  It was ferociously cold, and the very jagged outline of the ridge shows the effects that frost shattering has on rocks at these altitudes, even here on the equator.

My previous post, shown below, shows the same view, but taken from an aircraft inbound to Nairobi: Mt Kenya is seen is silhouette, sticking up through the clouds.  The photo above was taken from Point Lenana, the small peak immediately right of the mountain’s main peak.
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Click onto each image to open a larger version in a separate window.

Technique for the upper image: Olympus OM-1 with the long end of a 75-150 Zuiko zoom; Agfa CT18 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 24 – MT KENYA (MONO)

 

 


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Mt Kenya standing proud of a blanket of stratus cloud; photographed from an airliner inbound to Nairobi, 25 Sept 1979.  At 17,057 feet in altitude, this mountain is second in Africa only to Mt Kilimanjaro (19,341 feet), which is just over the border in Tanzania.

The barely seen, ghostly grey shapes in the foreground are the Aberdare (aka Nyandarua) Mountains, a line of volcanoes on the eastern shoulder of the rift valley.    

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

Technique: Olympus OM-2 with 50mm Zuiko lens; Agfa CT18 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 7 – EAGLE OWL AND HYRAX (MONO)

 

 


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Cape Eagle Owl (formerly known as Mackinder’s Eagle Owl), in Teleki Valley, on Mt Kenya; August 1978.  I found this owl amongst rocks in Teleki Valley, as we were preparing to spend the night there on a visit to Mt Kenya.  The light was poor and I was using slow, 64 ISO film, so my choice of lens was restricted to that with the widest aperture, the 50mm f1.4 Zuiko.  The problem then of course was I would have to get quite close to the bird, to make it look like anything except a small dot in the resulting photo.

But I’d heard that various creatures found up in these montane fastnesses are often quite tame, so I resolved to try slowly crawling towards the owl, flat out on the ground, and taking a series of photos as I moved ever closer in, until the bird flew.  But as I crawled nearer and nearer, and seemed to be getting an image of quite reasonable size in the viewfinder, I decided not to scare it off, but instead to edge backwards along the way I’d come.  Only I had no idea what awaited me as I crawled slowly backwards … : see following photo.

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As I was lying flat out, starting to slowly retreat from the owl, something warm and wet was suddenly thrust into my right ear, causing me to cry out in alarm, and then go face down into the rocks, convinced that the owl would by this time be far, far away.  However on raising my head I saw the owl unruffled, while walking towards it was a Rock Hyrax, a small furry mammal that is a close relative of elephants.

The hyrax had walked unobtrusively up beside me while I was keeping my gaze on the owl, and then, wondering what this warm, prone form could be, had stuck its nose into my ear to have a closer look and a sniff!  My cry alarmed the hyrax and it blundered further forward, moving right at the owl, until it suddenly recognised the Angel of Death standing mute and sombre before it.  Panicked, the hyrax blundered straight back the way it had come, straight into my waiting lens – and here is my very blurred shot of the hyrax (blurred due to the very shallow depth of focus of the F1.4 lens) blundering straight back into me with the majestic owl, aloof and unruffled, in the background.

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

Technique: OM-1 with 50mm Zuiko lens at f1.4; 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 430 – MT KENYA: NELION AT SUNRISE

 

 


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Looking up at sunrise from Top Hut on Mt Kenya towards Nelion, one of the twin peaks of Mt Kenya; August 1978.

Almost the roof of Africa!  Nelion stands at 17,021 feet, while the other peak, Batian, rises to 17,057 feet. These two peaks are separated by the wonderfully named Gate of the Mists, and they are the tallest peaks in Africa second only to Mt Kilimanjaro, which is nearby in neighbouring Tanzania, and which soars to over 19,000 feet.

What was it like being up there on Mt Kenya? Well, taking this photo, it was extremely cold – I remember having trouble changing the lenses on my Olympus OM-1 SLR; they were very stiff to twist off, presumably due to the intense cold having slightly contracted the metal. Getting up to this altitude on the mountain required no rock climbing skills, it was simply a long walk, made more strenuous in its later stages by the decreasing oxygen content of the air – but after a day or so at these altitudes, breathing became easier. We were up there for several nights, sleeping in the various mountaineering huts around the peaks; and my abiding memories of those huts concern the rats which ran over and around us every night as we slept!

Click onto the image to open another copy in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it.

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

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KENYA 77 – MT KENYA: NELION AT SUNRISE

 

 


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Looking up at sunrise from Top Hut on Mt Kenya towards Nelion, one of the twin peaks of Mt Kenya; August 1978.

Almost the roof of Africa!  Nelion stands at 17,021 feet, while the other peak, Batian, rises to 17,057 feet.  These two peaks are separated by the wonderfully named Gate of the Mists, and they are the tallest peaks in Africa second only to Mt Kilimanjaro, which is nearby in neighbouring Tanzania, and which soars to over 19,000 feet.

What was it like being up there on Mt Kenya?  Well, taking this photo, it was extremely cold – I remember having trouble changing the lenses on my Olympus OM-1 SLR; they were very stiff to twist off, presumably due to the intense cold having slightly contracted the metal.  Getting up to this altitude on the mountain required no rock climbing skills, it was simply a long walk, made more strenuous in its later stages by the decreasing oxygen content of the air – but after a day or so at these altitudes, breathing became easier.  We were up there for several nights, sleeping in the various mountaineering huts around the peaks; and my abiding memories of those huts concern the rats which ran over and around us every night as we slept!

Click onto the image to open another copy in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it.

Technique: OM-1 with 28mm Zuiko lens; Agfa CT18 colour slide, rated at 64 ISO; Lightroom.
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ARCHIVE 260 – CAPE EAGLE OWL

 

 

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Cape Eagle Owl, Teleki Valley, Mt Kenya; August 1978.

Trekking up to the summit of Mt Kenya, we were spending the night in a hut in Teleki Valley.  We were at an altitude somewhere around 14,000 feet and, even here on the equator, nights this high up are very cold.  I was out for a last look around before darkness fell, when suddenly this wonderful creature was staring impassively out at me from the valley wall.

A telephoto would obviously have been the thing, but the light was failing fast and I was using slow colour transparency film – so my sole option was to go at it with my 50mm f1.4 lens.  I crawled towards it very slowly, firng as I went in case it should disappear, and here is the (enlarged) result.

This is a fairly radical enlargement of a colour slide over 30 years old and the grain is starting to take over.  But the bird’s left eye shows ok and the deterioration in picture quality is starting to push this image towards something more impressionistic and painterly – or is that just wishful thinking???

OM-1 with 50mm Zuiko lens; Agfa CT18 colour slide rated at 64 ISO.

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