The illegal trade in ivory kills up to 40,000 elephants in Africa each year.
That is 5 elephants, every hour, every day, every month, for 12 months!
That is around one every 12 minutes!
It’s not just the animals that are dying. While working to conserve elephant populations in Kenya, two KWS rangers were recently felled by poachers.
I thank God for organisations like KWS, IFAW and David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust that are active in protecting the elephants, because if they don’t continue with their conservation efforts, estimates say photos like these below will be the only elephants we see in 20 years.
Its amazing what we have in the backyard of this great city we call Nairobi – the only capital with a National Park!
Spent a couple of hours there two weeks ago hoping to spot the lions but wasn’t successful. I did however have a great time there despite getting lost for several minutes while looking for a good spot to shoot the sunset from.
The grass in the park is so high it dwarfs Nairobi’s growing skyline.
The view the animals have of Nairobi.
King of the watering hole?
No, not a dwarf giraffe, but the lady to the guy in the foreground who apart from being taller, was standing on higher ground.
The tall guy who was standing on higher ground.
After I found my bearing, I was delighted to get this sunset shot.
This week, allow me to take you back to the largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa and the only place you can see chimpanzees in Kenya.
There’s lots of other wildlife to be seen in Ol Pejeta Conservancy. It is one of the few places you can see the big five.
Earlier, I shared about the elephants and chimpanzees. Let me share photos from some of the other wildlife I got to see while there.
Buffaloes are known to attack with no provocation. So maintain your distance when you see one.
My wife and I were blessed to spot two cheetahs playing in the shade as they sheltered from the midday heat. One of them got up, went round the bush and that is how I got the shot below.
In photography, anticipation is key to getting great shots.
This was the first time spotting a jackal since Carlos. He saw us, darted across the road several metres ahead of us and started running away. Again, I anticipated – and prayed – and he paused for this shot. A couple of seconds is all I had and he was gone.
Baraka is a blind black rhino. He lost one eye during a territorial fight and a later got a crystallised cataract in the other. You’ll find him in Ol Pejeta’s Rhino Sanctuary.
I spent four years schooling on the slopes of Mt Kenya and I can’t recall mustering the courage to brave the morning chill to get a glimpse of the sunrise over Kenya’s highest mountain. The blankets were either too heavy or a certain magnetic force always pinned me down to my bed around sunrise.
Apart from the morning chill, there is cloud cover to contend with when attempting to shoot a sunrise over Kirinyaga. Lenana and Batian are very shy, spending most of their times hiding behind a thick blanket of clouds.
On one of the nights, we had lions visiting the watering hole. Elephants were the only animals brave enough to stand their ground as impala, waterbucks, warthogs, zebras and gazelles avoided being dinner by hiding far, far away, only to return the next morning when the coast was clear.
Canon 7D. 50mm (EF 50mm f/1.4 USM) 1/50sec at f/1.8, ISO 3200
Canon 7D. 365mm (EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM) 1/500sec at f/5.6, ISO 200
Canon 7D. 200mm (EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM) 1/800sec at f/5.6, ISO 200
Canon 7D. 160mm (EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM) 1/800sec at f/5.6, ISO 200
Canon 7D. 260mm (EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM) 1/640sec at f/5.6, ISO 200
Canon 60D. 28mm (EF 17-40mm f/4L USM) 1/125sec at f/13, ISO 125
Canon 60D. 67mm (EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM) 2.0sec at f/4.0, ISO 640and last
I had the rare privilege last week of visiting a Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Ol Pejeta Sanctuary. It is one of the few places where you can see chimpanzees in the wild in Kenya, and appreciate how human-like they are. We are so alike that we share 98.4% of our DNA!
The sanctuary started in 1993 as a refuge for three chimps rescued from civil war in Burundi, and is now home to more than forty chimpanzees, rescued from abuse in Central and West Africa where they have been used as pets and almost dinner in illegal bush meat trade.
Open to the public from 0900 to 1030hrs and 1500hrs to 1630hrs, the sanctuary is a must-see for anyone visiting Ol Pejeta Conservancy.
You can find out more about the sanctuary and support it here.
Canon 7D. 275mm (EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM) 1/1600sec at f/5.6, ISO 800
Canon 7D. 310mm (EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM) 1/1600sec at f/5.6, ISO 800
Canon 7D. 300mm (EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM) 1/2000sec at f/5.6, ISO 800
It’s not too late to wish you a happy new year, is it?
Today’s shots were taken as 2013 broke over Diani Beach where I was camped with Onetouchers on our first #ShootingAfrica expedition.
I didn’t think there would be a glorious sunrise as these are hard to come by along the coast because of generous cloud cover in the mornings. But this one was special. The sun was bold, giving light to what is going to be a great jubilee year for Kenya.
Canon 7D. 17mm (EF 17-40mm f/4L USM) 0.4sec at f/22, ISO 100
Canon 7D. 17mm (EF 17-40mm f/4L USM) 1/8sec at f/22, ISO 100
Canon 7D. 17mm (EF 17-40mm f/4L USM) 1/30sec at f/22, ISO 100
Canon 7D. 17mm (EF 17-40mm f/4L USM) 1/100sec at f/22, ISO 100
Canon 7D. 17mm (EF 17-40mm f/4L USM) 1/15sec at f/22, ISO 100
Canon 7D. 17mm (EF 17-40mm f/4L USM) 1/15sec at f/22, ISO 100
Canon 7D. 17mm (EF 17-40mm f/4L USM) 1/8sec at f/22, ISO 100
Canon 7D. 25mm (EF 17-40mm f/4L USM) 1/200sec at f/22, ISO 100
Canon 7D. 26mm (EF 17-40mm f/4L USM) 1/160sec at f/8.0, ISO 100
To end 2012, I joined brothers and sisters from Onetouch on a photographic road trip that took us to places Google hardly knew of.
Top on the list was Lake Chala, a crater lake in a caldera on the Eastern slopes of Kilimanjaro, sitting nice and pretty on the Kenya-Tanzania border. It can be accessed easily by road from Moshi in Tanzania or Taveta in Kenya. With the Voi – Taveta being a motoring challenge especially in the rainy season for now, I believe there should be a faster, easier route through Oloitoktok, but I can’t confirm this.
We got to camp at about 2am, so it wasn’t until 6am when shooting the sunrise that we got to enjoy the beauty that surrounded us. A beauty so inviting that after breakfast, we stripped to our undies and swam in the cool, fresh waters… bliss that words can’t explain!
From the top of the 100m high crater rim around Lake Chala, one can clearly see the Kilimanjaro peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo, making Lake Chala a great location to bum, relax and sleep. While there, you can stay here.
Canon 7D. 17mm (EF 17-40mm f/4L USM) 1/125sec at f/4.0, ISO 250
Canon 7D. 17mm (EF 17-40mm f/4L USM) 1/25sec at f/20, ISO 160
Canon 7D. 17mm (EF 17-40mm f/4L USM) 1/20sec at f/20, ISO 160
Canon 7D. 17mm (EF 17-40mm f/4L USM) 1/25sec at f/22, ISO 160
Canon 7D. 31mm (EF 17-40mm f/4L USM) 1/640sec at f/7.1, ISO 160
Canon 7D. 17mm (EF 17-40mm f/4L USM) 1/1000sec at f/9.0, ISO 160
Canon 40D. 200mm (EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM) 1/400sec at f/8.0, ISO 100
This was one of the highlights of my recent trip to the Kenyan coast.
You can access KWS-managed Kisite Marine Park via Shimoni which is about 80km south of Mombasa. Dolphin Dhow organise private visits to the park that include breakfast and sea food lunch on the dhow.
I’d always heard stories about dolphins being spotted in the Kenyan Indian Ocean waters and finally got to see it for myself. I saw just one coz I guess it was a Monday and all the rest were taking a break after a busy weekend entertaining tourists but it was worth it. Flipper swam alongside our dhow for quite a distance and then retreated – I guess to join his relaxing buddies. I then proceeded to snorkel in the Kisite corals and saw God’s handiwork in full technicolor display.
The God of all creation has indeed blessed our land and nation.
Canon 7D. 24mm (EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM) 1/250sec at f/5.6, ISO 125
Canon 7D. 47mm (EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM) 1/250sec at f/4.0, ISO 125
Canon 7D. 24mm (EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM) 1/320sec at f/4.0, ISO 125
Canon 7D. 45mm (EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM) 1/2000sec at f/4.0, ISO 125
Canon 7D. 45mm (EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM) 1/800sec at f/8.0, ISO 125
Canon 7D. 35mm (EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM) 1/3200sec at f/4.0, ISO 125
Canon 7D. 73mm (EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM) 1/1250sec at f/5.0, ISO 125
Canon 7D. 32mm (EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM) 1/1000sec at f/5.0, ISO 125
Canon 7D. 85mm (EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM) 1/1600sec at f/5.0, ISO 125
Canon 7D. 35mm (EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM) 1/125sec at f/7.1, ISO 125
After handling an assignment in Arusha recently, I needed to join friends from ARK in Tiwi, about 15km south of Mombasa. I chose the quickest route which took me past Moshi, back into Kenya via Taveta, then Voi, Mombasa and finally on Tiwi’s white beaches.
The Taveta – Voi highway is currently under construction but most of it remains not a road really, but a stretch of reddish-brown earth devoid of vegetation. Known as the A23, it is avoided by most motorists due to its state, making it quite lonely to drive on. In fact, I met only four other cars on the 100km stretch that had me swerving from one side of the road to the other at will, depending on which was smoother.
My highlight of the journey was driving through the vast Tsavo West National Park. It is quite a beauty. Apart from the breathtaking landscapes, God indulged me in spotting several animals including a family of elephants!
Canon 7D. 24mm (EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM) 1/500sec at f/5.6, ISO 100
Canon 7D. 160mm (EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM) 1/500sec at f/5.6, ISO 200
Canon 7D. 24mm (EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM) 1/640sec at f/5.6, ISO 200
Canon 7D. 100mm (EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM) 1/200sec at f/5.6, ISO 400
Canon 7D. 235mm (EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM) 1/800sec at f/5.6, ISO 500
Canon 7D. 190mm (EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM) 1/800sec at f/5.6, ISO 500
Canon 7D. 250mm (EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM) 1/1000sec at f/5.6, ISO 500
Canon 60D. 17mm (EF 17-40mm f/4L USM) 1/1600sec at f/6.3, ISO 100
Procrastination got the better of me on this one. I shot these way back on 23rd July 2012 on a #ShootingKenya expedition to Thika, Central Kenya. The day started quite eventfully with us being ‘arrested’ by some security guard at a fuel station on Mombasa Road for attempting to mount a GoPro in one of our cars. The super paranoid dude thought we wanted to rob the ATM he was guarding. Then at Blue Posts Hotel, the guides on duty wanted us to pay Kshs25,000/- to shoot at Thika and Chania Falls which are best accessed through their establishment. Luckily, the sensible manager intervened and we paid the usual Kshs200/- per person for nature walks. Arriving at Fourteen Falls just before sunset felt like we’d saved the best for last. Despite the stench from the sewer-soaked water and having to cross the river on a rickety leaking stick of a boat, it was quite scenic and fun. Search Twitter and Instagram for #ShootingKenya to keep up to date with our regular showcase of our beautiful country.
Canon 7D. 25mm (EF 17-40mm f/4.L USM) 1/4sec at f/22, ISO 100
Canon 7D. 285mm (EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM) 1/350sec at f/5.6, ISO 500
Canon 7D. 17mm (EF 17-40mm f/4L USM) 1/6sec at f/22, ISO 100
Canon 7D. 45mm (EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM) 1/125sec at f/4.0, ISO 100
Canon 7D. 17mm (Tamron 17-70mm f/2.8) 0.5sec at f/22, ISO 100
At 41-megapixels, the Nokia 808 PureView has a pixel count that leaves even pro D-SLRs in the dust. Here’s a quick intro to the phone.
Basically, the 41-megapixels are useful when zooming into your subject. With the 808 PureView, there is virtually no loss in photo detail when you zoom in.
When Nokia asked me to test drive it, I wasn’t excited, mostly because image processors are more important than pixel count when shopping for a good camera. It was a while before I un-boxed and started using it. I first took these two shots at a place I spend most of my awake hours. They are inspired by Allan Gichigi who will be making a short film using the 808 PureView.
Mini vs Mini.
Mini vs Mini.
The 808 PureView’s macro abilities are good. It gives good bokeh all the time.
On a #ShootingKenya trip to Thego in Central Kenya, I used the 808 PureView to shoot river Thego and my drying shoes after an unexpected swim.
Boot drying time.
This was the first video I shot. It isn’t edited at all but uploaded as shot by the 808 PureView. The sliding tutorial is by Joe Were and he offered it in Nyeri when we were shooting Kagumo Falls.
On another #ShootingKenya trip, this time to Magadi via Ngong, I used the 808 PureView as my main camera. I had shot with it several times between the two trips and now knew its capabilities and limitations.
Ngong Hills Wind Farm.
After returning from Magadi, I went for a jog in Karura Forest. It was my first time here and needed to take memories with me. Great thing about having the 808 PureView is I didn’t have to slug my D-SLR across my shoulders to take photos as I kept fit.
Karura Forest moss.
I did not carry my tripod for the jog either so for the next shots, I had to place the 808 PureView on stones to avoid shake at the slow shutter speeds.
Finally, I was invited to cover an event at the National Museum and decided to carry my 808 PureView along. Having it challenged me to shoot interesting things at the venue that weren’t in my client’s brief.
Sunset at the National Museum.
No need for a caption here.
Glass sculpture at National Museum.
Cocktails in colour.
I was impressed by its performance in low light conditions. My verdict: the Nokia 808 PureView has a great camera. And just like any camera, once you know how to use it, you will be taking very good shots with it.
Several weeks ago, together with other photographers, I started taking Monday photographic trips to different parts of Kenya in what is tagged #oneTOUCHLive and #ShootingKenya on Twitter. This past weekend, we were in Central Kenya.
Our first location was Kagumo Falls in Nyeri County. These falls are quite hidden in Tetu Constituency and we wouldn’t have found them if it wasn’t for Charles our guide.
Second was Thego, a place none but one of us had been. It is a fishing camp located off the A2 after turning right at Chaka. Again, Charles gave us a guided tour of the pristine surroundings.
We then took the scenic route back to Nairobi by looping Mt Kenya and shot some wheat fields in Timau.
After taking in the sights towards Isiolo, we think this will be our next destination.
I spotted these birds at the just concluded KCB Safari Rally. I arrived at the Parane Spectator Stage quite early and was taking a walk around, looking for places to position myself as the cars came by when I saw these lovlies. I have no clue what breed they are, but I know they aren’t chicken. If you know what they are, please educate me.
Lake Bogoria is hot! And its not just because of the hot springs. Here, the sun is served as dry fry.
Despite heavenly showers 20km north at Lake Baringo where we were camped during #TourDeRift, we encountered a choking dust storm on our visit to Lake Bogoria. Maybe the sun had fast-dried the previous night’s rain, leaving the bare brown soil at the mercies of the howling wind. Standing boldly and braving the storm was this lonely tree, resilient and unshaken, having survived countless dust storms before.
It was the first time I was in a dust storm. Unlike the tree, I quickly retaliated into the protection of our Landrover Defender which lived up to its name.
Canon 60D. 100mm (EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM) 1/1000sec at f/7.1, ISO 125
Canon 7D. 33mm (EF 17-40mm f/4L USM) 1/500sec at f/13, ISO 320