Fort Jesus is a UNESCO World Heritage site that was built in 1591 by the Portugese in the old town of Mombasa. According to Wikipedia, "between 1631 and 1875 the fort was won and lost nine times by the nations contesting control of Kenya." And in case you're wondering, those are shark jaws being sold on the street in the forth photo!
Technical details: Sony a33 and 18-55mm lens.
Kole Kole is part of the Baobab Beach Resort, lying on the white sands of Diani Beach, south of Mombasa. The friendly chaps in the first few photos were more than happy to pose while doing their antics in our hotel room!
Technical details: Sony a33 with Sigma 105mm, Minolta 70-210mm and Sony 35mm lenses.
Technical details: Sony a33 with Samyang 8mm fisheye lens.
A very belated Happy New Year everyone. Apologies for the delay - I've got a several exciting 2013 posts coming very soon!
Wanted to share some highlights of the year in an end-of-year collage.Actually, I've only included the second half of the year (1/2 / 2012 ?) since the blog was started in July. Looking through, I feel privileged to have had so many stunning opportunities to attempt to capture this variety of visual beauty. Click on the images to take you to the relevant posts from earlier this year. Unusually, photos are square-cropped here so not in original shape. Alternatively you can see the images in their normal form in the slideshow below.
Comments / feedback welcome - just click on the "add comments" text at the bottom on this post.
Slideshow of above photos. Hover over the photo and click "play".
Madafu Moxie is a budding African fashion brand, specialising in Kai pants. Below is a sample of pre-edit product photos taken with Heer Raja, co-founder of Madafu Moxie.
Technical details: Sony 35mm lens; all unedited and straight from the camera.
This breathtaking national park gains its name from the break in the cliffs, and the analogies continue - the devil's kitchen (hot and cold springs), the devil's shower (hot spring waterfalls) etc. Perhaps the most appealing aspect of visiting was that we were free to walk around, as KWS describes it "a walk on the wild side".
The harsh and dramatic scenery of the gorge has inspired much of the settings of Lion King, and Tomb Raider was shot in the gorge itself. A particular wildlife highlight was seeing some enormous birds encircling the skies: Rüppell's Vultures and Verreaux's Eagles. The former have about an 8 foot wingspan and fly over a hundred miles in order to find food in Maasai Mara and Nairobi, returning back to their nests in Hell's Gate.
We were advised to take a guide as we had been warned about recent flash floods causing fatalities - the gorge can fill-up very quickly. Our Maasai guide entertained us while telling his story of a tribal boy who was more interested in nature and education than herding cows. After being outcast by his father, he grew up in an orphanage and upon reaching adulthood and coming of age he decided that he had to re-initiate himself into the society. The traditional ritual was that in order to prove his strength and bravery, he had to kill a lion. Armed with nothing more than a spear, he set-off with the men of his tribe on a week-long search for a lion. Once found, they circled it and our guide threw his spear before being given the go-ahead by the leader. Perhaps even less fortunate was the outcome - although the spear hit the lion it did not injure it and it attacked him. The rest of the group had to flee, leaving him injured but he was later helped back home (another week-long journey) and it took six months to recover using local herbal remedies. He was given honorary initiation back into the tribe in consideration of his ordeal, but he is still trying to accumulate a herd of cattle so that he can afford to pay a dowry and get married!
Technical details: Olympus ZD 70-300mm and 12-60mm lenses; all unedited and straight from the camera except for some of the small bird photos. which have been cropped.
Another late post - but better late than never! A Sunday picnic to Paradise Lost, a lovely getaway about 8 km from Nairobi off Kiambu Road. Although there's a little wildlife, we enjoyed the walk to the waterfall, the caves and boating on the lake. And the company of course!
Technical details: Olympus ZD 12-60mm lens; all unedited and straight from the camera.
Below is a selection of initial pre-edit photos taken for AfrIn, an aptly named new fashion brand offering African-Indian fusion clothing. AfrIn is based in Nairobi, Kenya.
AfrIn Owner and Designer: Poonam Vora
Models: Yvonne Wanjiku and Maureen Nkatha
Technical details: Sony 35mm lens; all unedited and straight from the camera.
En-route to Nairobi, we decided to stop over and climb Mount Longonot - a (so-called) dormant volcano with laval canyons and dramatic landscapes with stunning views over Lake Naivasha. Rising 9000 ft above sea level, our half-day trek involved climbing about 2000 ft to the peak. Recent news reports suggest that it is still active, and the geothermal steam being vented in the crater is clearly visible. Unfortunately the on and off rain and dusty volcanic-ash covered paths restricted photographic potential, but the climb followed by a 3 hour walk around the rim of the crater was certainly worthwhile. Our enthusiastic and knowledgeable guide, Peter, explained that he and the other local guides often run the course (in many less hours than us) just for fitness and fun! To top it off, he invited us back to his home for dinner and said we were welcome to stay with him if we revisited - an example of Kenyan hospitality!
Unfortunately (in my opinion), the scenery looks set to be disturbed with an upcoming development of an international-standard golf course, a hotel, residences and other amenities at Longonot Gate. Peter, however, was convinced that the local population would benefit from the new employment opportunities.
Technical details: Olympus ZD 12-60mm; all unedited and straight from the camera.
One day trip wasn't enough! I was very glad that we had a chance to revisit the Kakamega rain forest, especially as last time we had missed out on the bird watching (one of the main attractions) as we had been in the forest during the afternoon last time. Fortunately this time, we managed to climb Liranda hill on our first day, and completed the short trek (about 4 hours) down to the Yala River from our serene abode, Rondo Retreat. As mentioned in the earlier post, Kakamega is home to an astounding variety of butterflies. and although difficult to capture (why do they they rarely sit still for a second or longer?!) it was amazing to be walking miles in the company of so many different beatiful butterflies. I hope the photos do some justice. My favourite, however, is the dragonfly - a creature I have seldom managed to photograph in the wild.
Highlights of the trip included seeing a menacing forest python seconds after it made a kill, and watching it slowly escape us (disturbing its dinner time) climbing vertically up a tree stump with only its tail supporting it. We also saw a goliath beetle in flight (the largest insect in the world by weight, and about 4 inches long!) but it was too fast to capture on (digital) film.
I have also included a short video clip trying to relay the wonderful atmosphere atop Liranda hill - surrounded by lush, dense rainforest with the breeze swimming through the long grass.
Some of the photos have captions - click to view. Unfortunately I have not managed to identify many of the insects.
Technical details: Olympus ZD 70-300mm and Sony 18-55mm lenses; all unedited and straight from the camera.
Below are some photos taken for banner-style headers for the Fulchand Keshavji Shah website - a bookshop in Kisumu.
Technical details: Sony 35mm f1.8 lens, all photos are cropped to the necessary ratio, and lighting levels slightly adjusted in some photos.