Recent Photographic Work

July 2018

It's been a busy few months since my last post mostly shooting for my school - student photos for yearbook, IDs and other sundry usages.  Not much creativity involved other than the skills required to eek a smile out of a 'too cool' teenage boy. I have managed some of my own work on three occasions: a 5 day excursion up the eastern slopes of Mount Kenya: a weekend along the Malewa River: and our annual school Cultural Field Study program, which this year had me deep in the Loita Hills with a community of Maasai (and 15 High School students).

Over the past few weeks I've had a great experience shooting marketing photos for Edu-Africa (edu-africa.com) during a four week residential course on local ecology. The course consisted of three modules; wetlands, forests and savannahs.  The course was hosted at Brackenhurst Conference Centre so for a couple of days in June I drove up and spend the day with the participants shooting images during the course of their learning activities - both in the classroom and in the field.  The savannah module was taught in the Naibosho Conservancy, in the Greater Mara Ecosystem and I was invited to accompany the team down to the conservancy, and to the African Impact field study centre (www.africanimpact.com) for the week.  What a great opportunity!  Again, I was concentrating on promotional photography for Edu-Africa, but I had plenty of opportunity to photograph outside that brief during our twice daily wildlife survey activities.  As the conservancy model here in Kenya is one that incorporates both wildlife conservation and the pastoralist/owner life style, we spend one afternoon with the Maasai herdsmen bringing the cattle home from their grazing land to the protection of the nightime bomas. This was also a great photographic setting.  Here are a few of the final images from my 'personal' collection from the week.

The last few months have seen a few outings and a number of images worth showcasing. 

Ngare Ndare Forest is a reserve on the north side of Mount Kenya, on the slopes between the highland of Central Kenya and the northern plains.  It is a haven for elephants and other forest wildlife, as well as being an important water catchment area.  The river and pools in these images is an idyllic haven in the heart of the forest.  A very rough vehicle track leads through this area and the intrepid visitor can leave the vehicle and scramble either up or down along the watercourse to discover cascading waterfalls, deep blue-green pools of cool water and lush green vegetation.  Watch out for elephants!!

Closer to home, Karura Forest is an urban oasis not far from the gates to my home compound.  Many km of forest tracks and trails are a pleasant retreat from the business of the surrounding city landscape.  The Karura River drops over a small falls into a deep gorge lined with huge fig and Newtonia trees.  A path has been constructed along the riverside to allow the visitor freedom to meander slowly and soak in the cool forest air.

The wildlife images are shot either in the Nairobi National Park or in the Ol Pejeta conservancy near Nanyuki in the Laikipia region of Kenya. The recent rains here in Kenya have greened the usual dry plains and the wildlife are enjoying the seasonal abundance.  And the lake animals are all permanent residents of Lake Naivasha, in the Great RIft Valley.

Below is a small selection of images from two recent trips out of Nairobi. 

L'ol Dacha is a house located on the edge of the Great Rift Valley south of the Ngong Hills, just a few kms from the Nairobi CBD, although it is a very different world out here from the hustle and bustle of the city.  Perched as it is on the edge of the escarpment, the views west and south across the arid plains stretch into the distance past ancient volcanoes and dry river-courses.  The time was blessed with rain showers - very rare indeed in this environment. 

Crater Lake is another volcanic remnant near Lake Naivasha, also in the Great Rift Valley.  This small crater is circled by a rocky ridge containing a beautiful tear-drop-shaped lake.  It is fascinating how much the character of a place can change depending on the time of day, and more importantly, the light at that time of day.  Most of these images, captured on two consecutive mornings, are taken within 15 minutes either side of sunrise, yet are each unique. The late afternoon sun illuminating the crater in the remaining image give an even different mood.  

It's been a while since my last post of new images. April and May were rather slow in my photographic world.  June and July however provided some opportunity to practice my craft.  My family and I spent these months in Australia connecting with friends and family.  In addition to that we had an opportunity to return to one of our favourite places discovered on our Big Loop back in 2014/15 - The Kimberley.  The Kimberley is a vast expanse of tropical savanah and rugged escarpment country on the northern coast of WA.  This region is cut by seasonal rivers into numerous fantastic gorges which, thanks to a long and very wet WET season, were still flowing quite full.  We traveled east from Broome camping along the unsealed Gibb River Road as far as Mt. Elisabeth Station before turning and heading back the way we came.  Lots of beautiful places to explore throughout the 700 km round trip.  In addition to this three week adventure we also spent some time in and around Sydney and other places in NSW so there are a few photos from these travels as well.  Enjoy.

I just returned from a few days away with my family at Mewe Mingi Bush Home, just to the north of the town of Nanyuki.  Nanyuki is the major centre for the region known as Laikipia, a huge, beautiful, rugged, and currently very dry corner of Kenya.  While not strictly a photographic trip, I'm never without my shooting gear, so here are a few of the images worth sharing.  One of the attractive features of this house is it's uninterrupted view of Mount Kenya across the dry scrub-lands.  I love the dawn hour in this country - but it passes so quickly being right on the equator.  I was up at 6 for these three shots of the mountain and the rising sun. By 6:30 it was all done.  

A few weeks ago I was approached by Brackenhurst Conference Centre, in Limuru, to do a photographic shoot to provide some updated images for their publicity.  I spend an afternoon, evening, and the following morning creating images of rooms, conference facilities, dining facilities, the Muna Tree Cafe, and some environment shots.  It was great fun - and getting a peek at some of the places not normally open to casual visitors was interesting. It gave me a good chance to play around with the light inside all the rooms - window light, artificial lamps, etc.  Some of the indoor shots were processed HDR with Photomatix so that I could get details of the outside gardens as well as good interior light.  Framing was a bit tricky in places given the small confines of some of the rooms.  My 10mm lens came in handy to really emphasise the lines and angles. Here are the results of the weekend of work.

Each year in January, Rosslyn Academy High School sends its students out on Cultural Field Studies, a chance for students to be immersed for a short while in one of the many communities around Kenya.  Students learn about the culture in that particular community and also usually participate in a service project of some sort.  This year I had the privilege to accompany a fantastic group of senior students to Sirwa, a community perched near the very top of the Tugen Hills, Baringo County.  Here are a few of the images from this week's experiences.

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