Archive | December, 2013

Going on a Safari

31 Dec

Going on a Safari

My blogging friend Mahree liked the photos I took on my European vacation last summer. She made a chance remark to me, “I can imagine what great photos you would take in Africa.” She works for a safari company and has spent a lot of time in Africa. I took note of her remark and stuffed it away in the back of my mind. I was planning Japan for my next trip abroad. And then Fukushima happened. Somehow the thought of all that radiation in the air and water took away my desire to go there. That little Africa seed in the back of my mind began to grow, and I started doing research. I was thinking Kenya, Tanzania, but I always loved The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series of books set in Botswana. Botswana won out, and I booked my safari with Mahree’s agency. I am happy and excited. Do you know that it takes 15 hours to fly direct from Atlanta, Georgia to Johannesburg, South Africa? That will be the longest flight I’ve ever taken, and it is only one of three I will have to take to get to my final destination. Here is a link to my upcoming safari in Botswana.


2014…What Comes Next

24 Dec

Screen shot 2013-12-24 at 9.50.16 AM

I haven’t been posting much on this blog recently. I created it to complete my European vacation last summer. Since then I have taken hikes around the city carrying my DSLR camera. I do have a new adventure planned for 2014, and that is a 10-day safari in Botswana in southern Africa. I am in the process of doing research for my trip: that includes reading books and practicing animal photography at the zoo. I love maps and I went to Google maps to take a look at some of the camps where I will be staying out in the bush. Here is a bird’s eye view of one of them situated in the Okavango Delta in northwestern Botswana. As you can see there is an airstrip and not much else visible. This will be the first time that I have ever gone somewhere so isolated. I think it will make me feel small, but also big at the same time. Small to be one tiny person in the middle of nature, where I am intruding on the lives of the those in the animal kingdom. Big…to think that I am a part of the fabric of all of this.

Some of the books that I have read so far:

Dark Star Safari by Paul Theroux, the account of a one-man safari from Cairo, Egypt to Cape Town, South Africa. His adventures would frighten one from ever going there. They say that Africa is not for sissies.

Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton, a heart-wrenching novel dealing with the effects of colonialism and apartheid in South Africa.

Whatever You Do, Don’t Run: True Tales of a Botswana Safari Guide by Peter Allison, a humorous book written in the style of Bill Bryson. Only food runs.

Safari for Sanity by Phil Gray, a travelogue of a safari in southern Africa taken to bring perspective back into a crazy life.

The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith. There are 14 books in this series now. The beloved characters are Mma Precious Ramotswe, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, Mma Grace Makutsi, and others. I originally bought the first book in the series because it would be a light read and it only cost a dollar. I was hooked from the start. Whenever I sat down to read, the syntax of the language and the description of the land and the people made me feel that I had been transported to an exotic locale. These characters seem like old friends now, and I am amazed at the way that a Scotsman can evoke such authentic characters. He obviously has a great love for this country. I am currently reading #13…The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party. Though I considered Kenya and Tanzania as a safari destination, it was first and foremost these books that kept bringing me back to Botswana.

I am thinking of re-reading Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. That was required reading when I was in high school.

I will probably post here from time to time as I make myself ready for departure in six months.

Friday Foto Talk: Are Photography Workshops Worthwhile?

14 Dec

Michael Flaherty is a superb nature photographer who speaks in depth about geology, flora, and fauna of the areas he photographs. Check out his blog. Enjoy and learn.

MJF Images

This post is a day late; no internet is a mixed blessing!  It’s really a continuation of the larger topic of guided vs. unguided nature & landscape photography.  Check out last Friday’s Foto Talk for some introductory thoughts on the topic.  In the title of this post you may think I’m asking if workshops are worthwhile for a learning photographer to sign up for.

And you’re right.  But I’m also asking if it is worthwhile for an experienced photographer to organize and run a series of workshops.  I would love to hear your opinions on both parts of this question.

I hope you enjoy the images, which are from the desert where I am now.  Most are from Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada.  As always, they are copyrighted and not available for free download without my permission, sorry.  But let me know if you’re interested in any of…

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1 Dec


Next summer I will go on safari in Botswana. Excited! Every so often I go to the zoo to practice photographing animals. Today I saw the meerkats. Meerkats live in Botswana, but I will probably not see any while I am there. The reason is that meerkats live in the desert, and my safari will be centered in the watery realm of the Okavango Delta. I certainly enjoyed taking this little guy’s picture today. He seemed to enjoy it too. Meerkats are incredibly cute and photogenic.