I'd have lost a hundred dollars had I bet our guides that the leopard on the left would have tolerated our approach. From a quarter-mile off the cat was hunkered down, shy-looking, as one would expect a cat that was unaccustomed to people. I was certain it would slink off when we approached -- well, it didn't, and all I lost was the beer I bet our guide!
Two male cheetahs in the Gol kopjis of the Serengeti captured a young Thompson's gazelle while we watched. Normally cheetahs feed placidly side-by-side, but these were hungry, and played tug-of-war with the carcass, each trying to make off with the prize. We'd never seen this behavior before.
We spent three days in Zanzibar, visiting the spice farms, markets, and red colobus monkeys. That's me beginning a climb up a coconut palm to gather coconuts! These trees rise about 60-70 feet in the air, and climbers use a curled banana leap twisted into a loopish-rope to straddle the tree to hitch themselves up the tree. With bare feet, it was murder!
The people of Zanzibar were a joy to shoot. We'd always ask permission, and generally pay one dollar (at their request) for virtually unlimited shooting. I've rarely had the opportunity in recent years to work with, and photograph, people, and Mary and I enjoyed the experience tremendously.
A fish-market at sunset, with 'fresh'
fish grilled on the spot for consumption by the locals and the
tourists. We stayed at the Zanzibar Serena, a beautiful hotel
that had the slowest food service we've experienced anywhere in
the world. We were very tempted to eat there, but it was our last
night -- we were flying the next day -- and we didn't want to
risk a bad tummy for the journey!
Bob Knupp makes friends with a real ham -- a Hindu girl at a temple who had no hesitation in grabbing our cameras to take pictures!
We visited a Dhow construction site, where one of the local craftsmen proudly displays a scale model of the dhow they're building.
Colobus Monkeys were one of the star attractions for us, and although
we had planned to spend two mornings with the monkeys, the shooting
was so successful, and satisfying, that we accomplished all we
needed in one. Mary relaxes as a Dhow sails by our open window.
While doing our spice tour, I stopped to do a wide-angle shot of a local boot-maker as he repaired a shoe.
In the Crater an African harrier sails off after consuming a frog in front of our lenses.
We were pleasantly surprised by Amboseli, which I have not visited for at least five years. Elephants have done terrible damage to many of the acacia forests there, but they still provide wonderful action. We had three different 'fights' that we filmed, as well as shooting lines of elephants as they marched in front of an almost snowless/glacierless Mt. Kilimanjaro.
This was the first African trip that I shot completely with digital, using a Mark II for most of the wildlife and a 1Ds for the wide-angle, scenic, and people shots.
While we enjoyed the trip immensely, it killed us to leave Hoot Hollow during the summer season, when our birds are nesting and when wildlife is at its peak abundance around our home. We'll certainly be going back to many of these destinations, but we'll be doing so during our regular season -- fall or winter.
Mary shot almost 100 rolls of film and I saved almost 30 gigabytes of images on digital, with 8 and 11 mb files, so I know I shot (and kept) a lot of images! Oh, by the way, that's not me way, way up in the palm tree. That's the coconut harvester, who had very tough feet, iron muscles, and absolutely no fear of heights!
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