on the road

African Screens 35 – Turkana Landrovers

African Screens 35 – Turkana Landrovers

Turkana is a beautiful yet unforgiving place. The terrain will take your breath away, as well as your car’s shocks, springs and about any moving part.

In the 1960s and 70s, teams the National Museums of Kenya were sent to explore the eastern shores of Lake Turkana in the best 4 X 4 X far. They excavated fossils in areas where no car had been to before and while at it, carved out roads that are used to this day. These are the machines that made sure the teams led by Dr Richard Leakey shared their discoveries with the world, making Sibiloi the Cradle of Mankind.

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Travelling Marsabit to Sibiloi

Travelling Marsabit to Sibiloi

This October, after many years of waiting and one failed attempt, I finally got to travel to northern Kenya thanks to Safari Desk. See part one of my journey here.

Northern Kenya holds a beauty you won’t find anywhere else in the region. This is the one place you will struggle to get out of mud-bogged rain forest roads and find yourself cruising on dry sun-scorched desert sands few minutes later. It doesn’t sound like much but when you experience it, it is a magnanimous event that will be permanently etched in your mind, right next to memories of the first time you attempted to make chapos.

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Bora Bora Beach Volleyball

Bora Bora Beach Volleyball

Last September, together with nine Onetouch photographers and cinematographers, I went on a 4,000km photographic road trip from Nairobi to Bujumbura. When we got to Bujumbura, we really looked down on the city, until we got to its beaches which are some of the finest inland in Africa.

We got to Bora Bora and experienced nothing but love from God who had brought us thus far in His protection.

We got to go liquid and topped it off with beach volleyball.

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The sun was bright, the breeze was cool and the sand was ready for us.

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We formed teams of three and from the start, we realised beach volleyball isn’t as easy as it looks on TV, with false serves and the wind pushing the ball away from the intended trajectory.

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Kanyingi.

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Makeni.

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Some moves pulled left us in stitches and proved none of us should ever consider a career change.

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Amunga.

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JW.

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Kanyingi.

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Naomi.

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Mutua.

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Paul.

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Amunga.

 

 

#OnetouchLive Goes Liquid

#OnetouchLive Goes Liquid

Our #OnetouchLive photographic road trip took us from Nairobi, across Kenya, traversing Uganda and Rwanda up to Bujumbura on the shores of Lake Tanganyika. By the time we got to Bujumbura, we were very tired after taking photos over over 2,000+ kms.

We had heard Bujumbura had some of the best inland beaches in Africa and at Bora Bora Beach, we discovered why.

To add to that, they had Mkeke! And a pool! With water! And we could swim! For free!

In the waters of Bujumbura, we were able to wash our fatigue away and cool down after finally getting to our trip’s destination.

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It all started politely, with Esmi throwing a few water splashes here and there.

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Then the splashes became waves.

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Amunga decided to join in from the sidelines.

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And Naomi returned the favour.

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Kanyingi was caught in the crossfire…

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…and decided to head for the hills.

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He stopped to catch his breath, but the water kept coming.

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Sorry Kanyingi. But no one has swagg like you – swimming in shades!

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The battle continued with Makeni firing hard.

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Mutua wasn’t left out.

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When the going became too tough, Naomi called for a truce and the firing stopped.

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And Paul celebrated.

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All this while JW made beats in the sky.

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JW woke up later and took this shot.

Bora Bora Beach, we will be back!

#OnetouchLive – Nyungwe Forest Lodge

#OnetouchLive – Nyungwe Forest Lodge

In September 2013, I joined nine other photographers and cinematographers for a 4,000km photographic road trip from Nairobi to Bujumbura and back. This was a scouting mission of sorts to see if Africa is truly what we have been told it is. Check out #OnetouchLive on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to see what we found.

During our road trip, we stayed at all sorts of places: hotels, campsites, lodges, beaches… The best experience we had was at Nyungwe Forest Lodge in Rwanda. This ecological gem of a lodge is built to blend with the environment and is located at the edge of Nyungwe Forest.

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That’s the main building that houses the restaurant, lounge and offices. The rooms, gym and pool are located a couple of metres from here. See the tea? It is owned by the lodge but is harvested by farmers who live near the lodge. The farmers get to keep all the profits from the sale of the tea leaves!

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Sunrise at Nyungwe.

Once you go through the doors, you get to know why presently, Nyungwe is the only 5-star lodge not just in Rwanda, but in Eastern Africa! I’ll let the photos do the explaining.

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Hanging from the ceiling in the lounge is this chandelier that is made of tea sieves.

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While this chandelier in the reception area creates interesting patterns on the ceiling.

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Evidence that we were actually here!

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While at the lodge, we decided to do some portraits of the awesome people who work here. So awesome were they that they threw us a welcoming barbecue on the night we arrived! When shooting the portraits, we ran out of time and managed just a few. These I shot with Amunga Eshuchi, Paul Obuna and Naomi Katetei.

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Swaleh.

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Alice.

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Lydia.

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Alice and Lydia.

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Lightning lights up the dark skies over Nyungwe Forest Lodge.

To make reservations visit the Nyungwe Forest Lodge website.

 

2013 has Risen!

Canon 7D. 17mm (EF 17-40mm f/4L USM) 1/100sec at f/22, ISO 100

2013 has Risen!

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) 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) 1/8sec 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) 1/30sec 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) 1/100sec 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) 1/15sec 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. 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. 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

Canon 7D. 26mm (EF 17-40mm f/4L USM) 1/160sec at f/8.0, ISO 100

Lake Chala

Lake Chala

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 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

Canon 40D. 200mm (EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM) 1/400sec at f/8.0, ISO 100

 

 

 

Driving on the A23

Driving on the A23

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

#ShootingKenya Thika

#ShootingKenya Thika

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

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Shooting with the Nokia 808 PureView

Mini vs Mini.

Shooting with the Nokia 808 PureView

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.

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.

Thego River.

Thego River.

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.

Ngong Onions.

Bicycle.

Olepolos Fence.

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.

Karura River.

Karura Falls.

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.

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Sunset at the National Museum.

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No need for a caption here.

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Glass sculpture at National Museum.

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Cocktails.

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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.

#ShootingKenya Nyeri

Canon 60D. 70mm, 1/2500sec at f/3.2, ISO 100

#ShootingKenya Nyeri

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.

Canon 7D. 17mm, 0.5sec at f/10, ISO 100

Canon 7D. 17mm, 0.5sec at f/10, ISO 100

Canon 60D. 145mm, 1/8000sec at f/4.0, ISO 100

Canon 60D. 145mm, 1/8000sec at f/4.0, ISO 100

Canon 60D. 200mm, 1/3200sec at f/3.2, ISO 100

Canon 60D. 200mm, 1/3200sec at f/3.2, ISO 100

Canon 60D. 70mm, 1/2500sec at f/3.2, ISO 100

Canon 60D. 70mm, 1/2500sec at f/3.2, ISO 100

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