ARCHIVE KENYA 57 – AMBOSELI SUNSET (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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Sunset over Amboseli Game Reserve, Kenya; July 1978.

With something definitely more striking than natural in mind, I’ve scanned this 34 (now 42!) year old slide into digital and then taken it into SEP2 as a .tiff .  Contrast and structure have been raised, grain added, and then some of the sunset’s wonderful colours restored.  The top of the dark cloud, directly above the sun, shows a nice luminous edge.

The trees are Yellow-barked Acacias or “Fever Trees”, that grow around the lakes in Amboseli’s otherwise very dry (and extremely dusty!) environment.

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 selectively re-coloured, in Silver Efex Pro 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 38 – SUNSET AT BARINGO

 

 


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Sunset at Lake Baringo, in Kenya’s rift valley; June 1980.

The sunlit, western edge of the clouds makes a powerful diagonal that bisects the frame, and starkly contrasts with the cloudless sky to the west and the darker, unlit bulk of the clouds to the east.  Colour makes this shot; it is far less effective in monochrome.

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

Technique: OM-1 with 28mm Zuiko lens; Agfa CT 18 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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OUTLANDS 3 – MIDWINTER MIDDAY

 

 

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For the image shown in the first of these Outlands posts, I stood in a little country lane on the county’s boundary, and looked south into Wiltshire.  My picture was of an electrity pylon set in the bleak, winter landscape.  That picture was presented in toned black and white, which I thought emphasised the coldness and desolation of the scene – but that was not the medium to show one important aspect of the view.

For that first picture, and the one above, were taken a few minutes before midday on 7 December – just two weeks before today, the year’s shortest day.  And as shown here, because the sun is so low in the sky at this time of year, there was still a definite trace of sunrise’s (or should that be sunset’s???) warmth in the sky just above the southern horizon.  The camera’s exposure meter has underexposed the sky slightly but I’m going along with that, because it emphasises this pinkish tint a little.

So here we are, today in fact, the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, with the sun as low in the sky as its going to get for another 12 months.  Us “northerners” can look forward to a gradual brightening of our days, and that must be cause for some happiness and good cheer.  For all of you in the south, its mid-summer – and I envy you the warmth and light!

I wish you all, whichever hemisphere you are in, a very good Christmas and New Year.

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

X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 400 ISO.

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STILL LIFE 41 – SUNSET BESIDE THE TV

 

 

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As a photographer, I’m a strong believer in trying things out to see if they work.  Readers of this blog have said that I “push the envelope” with some of my pictures, and that’s what I like to do.  Many of these experiments end in total failure of course – and you don’t get to see those!  🙂   But some are half decent, and a blog is a wonderful vehicle for putting such things out to the world, to see what others think about them.

And it can work both ways.  Some things that I’ve thought ok have gone down like lead balloons, while others that I’ve really hesitated to publish at all have drawn positive feedback.
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Having mostly used big DSLRs, I’ve recently embarked upon the adventure of a new format of digital camera, a decidedly smaller, mirrorless Fujifilm X-T1 – and I’m both impressed by this new hardware and enjoying the process of getting to know how it functions.  And one of the ways in which I get to know a new camera, aside from actually taking pictures with it, is simply to sit at home, endlessly playing with the controls, getting to know what does what and where everything is – getting towards using it a little instinctively, rather than having to think what I’m doing all the time.

And so to these abstract pictures.  Our living room window faces west, and I was sitting on the sofa practicing with the X-T1 when the sun sank to the horizon and flooded the room with golden light.  The room has pale orange walls anyway, and so the addition of all that orange light really warmed and brightened things up – it was fabulous just being there.  The light was glancing across the front of our ancient TV and striking the chimney breast and, with the X-T1 in manual mode, I looked through it at the blazing but out of focus wall opposite – and was struck by what I was seeing.

So, here are some of the resulting abstracts, taken using the 55-200 lens, and lightly processed in Lightroom.  I’ve added some grain in one or two instances, and cropped some of them too.  They are blurred impressions of coloured light and shadow.  They show very little detail but then, is detail always important?  They show impressions of a scene, a moment – sunset beside the TV – they remind me of what it was like being there.

And do I vastly admire the work of JMW Turner Of course I do – he has always been a huge inspiration, and not least because he didn’t have a camera, nor even a TV for that matter, he just did it all using his eyes, hands, paints and sheer genius – wow!  So to finish, here is a favourite quote from him (which has always influenced me more than a little!):

I did not paint it to be understood, but I wished to show what such a scene was like.

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ARCHIVE 107 – SUNSET AT BARINGO

 

 

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Sunset at Lake Baringo, in Kenya’s rift valley; June 1980.

The sunlit, western edge of the clouds makes a powerful diagonal that bisects the frame, and starkly contrasts with the cloudless sky to the west and the darker, unlit bulk of the clouds to the east.  Colour makes this shot; it is far less effective in monochrome.

OM-1 with 28mm Zuiko; Agfa CT 18 colour slide rated at 64 ISO.
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KENYA 52 – EVENING AT THE SAND RIVER GATE (MONO)

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Evening at the Sand River Gate, Maasai Mara; April 1979.

The dark foreground consists of bushed grassland  – dark acacia thorn bushes set in a sea of straw-coloured, savanna grassland.  Further back there are low and very rounded hills – and they’re in the Serengeti Game Reserve, in Tanzania.

I remember that there were three of us – myself and a married couple – on safari in their VW Kombi.  Kombis and VW Beetles too – with their rear-mounted, air cooled engines, rear wheel drive, high clearance and protective metal underbellies –  were excellent for rough roads and for off road too.  The couple slept in the van and I had a tent outside – and I recall hearing Lion grumbling around nearby in the night.

And the great thing about camping in places like this was that we were always out and about at first and last light.  Sunrises and sets happen very quickly on the equator, far more quickly than at temperate latitudes, and you’ve got to be quick!  One of the things I missed about dear old England were the long summer evenings – on the equator, days are always something like 6am-6pm, with very little twilight either side.

OM-1 with 28mm Zuiko and polarising filter; Agfa CT18 colour slide, rated at 64 ISO; converted to mono in Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the High Structure Smooth preset.
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ARCHIVE 12 – AMBOSELI SUNSET (MONO + COLOUR)

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Sunset over Amboseli Game Reserve; July 1978.

With something definitely more striking than natural in mind, I’ve scanned this 34 year old slide into digital and then taken it into SEP2 as a .tiff .  Contrast and structure have been raised, grain added, and then some of the sunset’s wonderful colours restored.  The top of the dark cloud, directly above the sun, shows a nice luminous edge.

The trees are Yellow-barked Acacias or “Fever Trees”, that grow around the lakes in Amboseli’s otherwise very dry (and extremely dusty!) environment.

OM-1 with 75mm-150mm Zuiko at 150mm;  Agfa CT18 colour slide, rated at 64 ISO; converted to mono, and re-coloured, in Silver Efex Pro 2.
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KENYA 25 – AMBOSELI SUNSET (MONO + COLOUR)

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Sunset over Amboseli Game Reserve; July 1978.

With something definitely more striking than natural in mind, I’ve scanned this 34 year old slide into digital and then taken it into SEP2 as a .tiff .  Contrast and structure have been raised, grain added, and then some of the sunset’s wonderful colours restored.  The top of the dark cloud, directly above the sun, shows a nice luminous edge.

The trees are Yellow-barked Acacias or “Fever Trees”, that grow around the lakes in Amboseli’s otherwise very dry (and extremely dusty!) environment.

OM-1 with 75mm-150mm Zuiko at 150mm;  Agfa CT18 colour slide, rated at 64 ISO; converted to mono, and re-coloured, in Silver Efex Pro 2.

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KENYA (23) – DUSK AT THE SAND RIVER GATE, MAASAI MARA

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Dusk at the Sand River Gate, Maasai Mara Game Reserve; April 1979.

OM-1 with 28mm Zuiko; Agfa CT18 colour slides, rated at 64 ISO.
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KENYA (9) – BARINGO SUNSET, NAKURU RAINBOW, AND … THE AFRICAN CONTINENT FRAGMENTING

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Sunset at Lake Baringo, in the rift valley; June 1980.  The sunlit, western edge of the clouds makes a powerful diagonal that bisects the frame, and starkly contrasts with the cloudless sky to the west and the darker, unlit bulk of the clouds to the east. Colour makes this shot; it is far less effective in monochrome.  OM-1 with 28mm Zuiko; Agfa CT 18 colour slides rated at 64 ISO.

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Rainbow in Lake Nakuru National Park, in the rift valley; June 1980.  OM-1 with 28mm Zuiko; Agfa CT18 colour slides rated at 64 ISO.

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In today’s cheap and superficial hype – too often the triumph of style over substance –  many things are marketed as having various specified advantages “and so much more”.  Well, here is a photograph that really does have “so much more”.  It was taken from the eastern wall of the rift valley, near Kijabe, looking down westwards towards the rift’s floor, sometime in the late 1970s.  The rift wall here is not a single escarpment, but a series of small escarpments that gradually descend to the rift’s floor like a flight of huge steps.

This photo was taken from the top of the escarpment, looking down upon the top of the first of these steps which, because it still has sufficient altitude to attract rain and mist, is green and fertile.  This green but restricted area of land is covered in a close patchwork of cultivated plots, and dwellings roofed with thatch or corrugated iron. Beyond this step, the floor of the rift can be seen, browner and drier, many hundreds of feet below. Rising from these pale, dry lowlands is the dark and jagged bulk of Mt Longonot, a dormant volcano which last erupted around 1860. In the far distance, behind Longonot, the abrupt line of hills is the rift valley’s western wall.

So far so good, but there really is so much more here, for the fact is that the eastern edge of the African continent has been breaking apart for a long time.  The island of Madagascar broke away from the rest of Africa many millions of years ago and, during this lengthy isolation from the mainland, many unique (i.e. endemic) forms of life have evolved there, e.g. the Lemurs. 

But that is not all. The Eastern Rift Valley (the one in Kenya) and and the Western Rift constitute further incipient splits in the eastern side of the African continent and, as I took this picture, I was standing on the western edge of another part of the continent that may split away to become an island like Madagascar in (the millions of) years to come.  The floor of the rift is new crust that has moved upwards from the Earth’s extremely hot interior to ‘seal up the cracks’ in the disintegrating continent, and hence the reason for the many volcanoes (including Mt Longonot) and natural steam vents on the rift valley floor.

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