Jul 072012

We’d turned the canoe sideways and were drifting down the Zambezi as I photographed a huge group of elephants taking a refreshing dip. I had my big lens on… 70-300mm. I started out fully zoomed in and was gradually zooming out as we got closer. Suddenly, I couldn’t zoom out any further.  I dropped the camera from my eye. We were VERY close to these elephants. Then I heard Chris’s voice from the back of the canoe, “Keep taking photos J.  I got this.”

I kept taking photos.

Three African elephants drinking at the water's edge of the lower Zambezi in Zambia.


Jun 132012

Today’s Photo: Snacking Elephant

I wrote about this experience previously, here. We’d pulled our canoes up to an island in the middle of the Lower Zambezi. I thought we were there for a closer look at these elephants and started firing away. When I turned around I realized that our guides were setting up for lunch. We sat and ate lunch with these giant animals no distance away. They didn’t seem to be bothered by our presence. After about half an hour they walked to the other side of the island where they splashed into water and swimming off down the river, trunks raised like snorkels.

Group of elephants eating on the grass besides the lower Zambezi River in Zambia.

Something Interesting: How to Survive a Suicide Shower

I had the pleasure of using a few of these shower contraptions while traveling through Bolivia and Peru. They use electricity to heat the water… in the shower head. Bare wires are not uncommon. I thought they looked a bit questionable but didn’t give them a second thought, I was typically desperate for a shower. None of the shower heads actually shocked me, though a few friends of mine got zapped. I did get a pretty nasty shock off of a light switch hanging from my ceiling with bare wires on the back though.  This is an interesting little article on suicide showers with a bit of advice in how to go about showering safely when faced with them: How to Survive a Suicide Shower.


Jan 242012

Our last day paddling our way down the meandering Lower Zambezi was an exciting one. By now, the surroundings were familiar and comfortable. Working in tandem to navigate the river was almost second nature. It even became easier to suppress the fear of crocodiles that occasionally welled up in my mind. This was despite coming closer to the eerily calm reptiles than we ever had before.  As we approached midday, we spotted a group of elephants on an island. After paddling into a small inlet, and walking a very short distance, we were approximately 30 feet away. The elephants acknowledged our presence, but continued munching away and even moved closer. I was completely focused on grabbing a good photo. Once I realized that most people had already moved on to return to the canoes I turned to follow. It turned out that we weren’t departing. Our guides had prepared lunch for us, the usual beautiful fresh salad to accompany the most processed meat in the world. They were some form of Frankfurter, but were fluorescent pink on the outside and white in the middle. So, we ate and watched the elephants munch their way back across to the other side of the island. Then, they started to head to the water and we followed. They took the plunge and meandered their way down the Lower Zambezi.

Elephants eating grass on an island in the Lower Zambezi in Zamiba.

Jan 212012

On the first day of our canoe safari, on the Lower Zambezi, we stopped for lunch under a big shade tree on the Zimbabwe side of the river. While everyone stretched out to nap after a sandwich and a salad I started getting my camera gear out. I wanted to get a photo of a hippo yawning. Typically, the hippo let out a huge yawn as I was setting up. Then I had to wait quite a while for him to do it again. It worked out for the best though, as these elephants moved into frame just before the hippo let out a huge gaping yawn.


Hippo making a big yawn while in the Zambezi River with three elephants on the shore in Zaibabwe.