Jun 042012

I’m Okay!

Anyone who checks regularly for my daily update may be wondering what happened to me. It’s okay, I didn’t fall off the face of the Earth. While having lunch on Friday I realized that I had the opportunity to go to Wembley for the England vs. Belgium game. Coupling that opportunity with the fact that my travel buddy to Iceland was in London, I found myself spending Friday night on a plane. I had packed my laptop so that I could keep up with my daily posts. Unfortunately, in my haste to pack I forgot my external hard drive, where all my photos are located, and as a result couldn’t upload anything! I’m back in Bermuda now, after a great weekend, and had planned on making amends by uploading a whole series of photos. But, it’s late now, and I haven’t finished the photos I had planned on uploading, so you get a normal post today and a larger one tomorrow.

Something Interesting: Imperial History of The Middle East

I’ve decided to start adding interesting things that I find on the internet to my daily posts. It should provide a few more minutes of entertainment if you’re looking for a distraction at work.  I’m not going to set out to do this on a daily basis, I’ll just upload bits and pieces as they strike me as interesting. I plan on keeping the topic travel and/or photography related. However, already today I may be stretching these topics a bit.

This link (click here) is to an animated map showing just how much turmoil the Middle East has experienced throughout history as it takes us through the various empires that ruled the region. I figure the geography and history of a region is closely related to travel, so have decided it just about fits the “travel” topic. Let me know what you think of it in the comments section below. I was particularly shocked by the extent of the Mongol Empire!

Going forward I think you’ll find the “Something Interesting” part of my post below the daily photograph.

Today’s Photo: Lake Kivu Contrast

I saw this scene developing and thought it would make for a pretty funny photo. All those tourists in their bright orange life jackets contrasted with the local fishermen on their way out for a night of fishing. The tourists had arrived at the Paradis Malahide on a bus tour. They ate lunch and then set out on a boat to explore Lake Kivu before piling back on their bus and taking off.

On Lake Kivu, local fishermen and tour boat with tourists in orange life-jackets and Rwanda's rolling green hills beyond.

May 022012

That’s right, I’m posting yet another photo of the fishing canoes used on Lake Kivu, Rwanda. I love them. they remind of two days of absolute relaxation reflecting on the most amazing, tiring, action packed, three weeks getting a taste of three very different versions of Africa: Cape Town, Zambia, and Rwanda.

The boat here was left behind by the fleet, which can just be seen on the horizon. At night, you could look out to the horizon and all you would see were the lights of the fisherman’s lanterns against the dark sky. These guys go out rain or shine (100% rain while I was there). Although, I guess I’m assuming they go out rain or shine, as I did not see them fishing under any beautiful, starry night skies.

This photo is a combination of 7 exposures, ranging from -3 to +3. The boats actually moved around quite a lot so the ghosting tool in Photomatix was particularly useful.

Triple fishing canoes used on Lake Kivu, Rwanda under a stormy sky with the rest of the fleet seen on the horizon.

Apr 062012

Another view of the shoreline of Lake Kivu occupied by the Padis Malahide Hotel. I was actually staying in the room you can see in the picture, just above the beach. If you look at this photo in full size you can see the church featured in this post. Just to the right of the frame is the dock where the fishermen set out every night and returned the next morning.

Shoreline of Lake Kivu occupied by the Padis Malahide Hotel in Rwanda


Mar 152012

I’ve started to really enjoying shooting in the blue hour – the hour before sunrise and after sunset. The sky gradually changes from dark blue to light blue, culminating in the sunrise and vice versa in the evening. By the time I came to take this picture getting up before sunrise had become easy. We’d gotten used to waking  up at dawn while on our canoe safari and I don’t think anyone ever really adjusted back while we were in Rwanda. On top of that the church up the road began to ring its bells really early.

I hopped out of bed, anticipating a great sunrise on Lake Kivu, but it was completely overcast. Even so, I wandered around the grounds of the Paradis Malahide looking for something to shoot. I walked out onto the bluff that I used a few times to photograph the fishermen on their way out onto the lake. I took  this photo early on, just as the sun began to light the scene.

The blue hour before dawn on Lake Kivu at Paradis Malahidein Rwanda under an overcast sky with calm water and green hills across.

Mar 052012

As the sun sets on Lake Kivu the sound of the fisherman making their way out onto the lake, rain or shine, can be heard at the Paradis Malahide Hotel. As you’ve seen in previous posts, here and here, this was a sign that it was time for me to grab my gear and run down the road to the docks.

For some reason this canoe was left behind by the fleet, which can be seen on the horizon. This was lucky for me as I’d gotten to the dock a touch later than planned. This photo allows you to see how these triple hulled canoes are held together.

This is a combination of 7 exposures bracketed from -3 to +3. I’ve started using Photoshop to align the images prior to processing in Photomatix and have been surprised to discover that, even when using my tripod, more often than not they are out of alignment.

Triple hulled canoes on the shore of the Zambezi River with the rest of the fishing fleet in the distance in Zambia.

Feb 162012

After yesterday’s difficulty getting inspired to process any photos I came home over my lunch-break and decided to work on a photo that I’ve attempted and failed at a few times in the past. Finally, I think I’ve cracked it. Incidentally, does anyone know what the flowers in this photo are called?

This is another photo from the Paradis Malihide. Rising early, in the hopes of capturing the sun as it peeked over the horizon, I discovered that it was, once again, completely overcast. I never figured out where the sun rose and where it set while there because the cloud cover was so thick. Nonetheless, it was still a beautiful spot and I wasn’t going to let the clouds stop me. So, I went in search of photos where the sky didn’t have to be a prominent feature. I came across this scene and thought it was a great subject for HDR. It’s almost like two images, allowing your eye to wander over the flowers in the foreground before moving on to look at the boat and the hills in the distance.

People would arrive on package tours and pile into this little boat to cruise off down the lake. It was amazing how many people they stuffed into this thing. It was an interesting contrast watching the tourists in their bright orange life-jackets motoring back in for a nice dinner while the fishermen in dark rain jackets, t-shirts or shirtless plied their oars and sang their songs on their way for another chilly, wet night out on the lake.

I’m not a package tour person, probably because I don’t like being herded around. We spend enough time in our working lives getting told what to do. Why go off on holiday and do the same? I met a couple of Californian guys while in Prague who had embraced this concept. They’d decided they needed a break and managed to negotiate three weeks off – supposedly no easy feat in the US – to head for Europe. When I ran into them all they had planned was their flight home from Amsterdam. I spent about an hour eating lunch with them as they tried to figure out their next destination. They’d narrowed it down to Germany when I arrived, and hadn’t gotten much further when I eventually left. Once I ran into them later, at about 9pm, it was sorted. They were leaving at 6am on their way to Hanover.  It’s a great way to travel, waking up in one place, not knowing where you’ll be the next day.

View from Paradis Malihide, Rwanda with flowers (umuko tree-a.k.a. flame tree) in the foreground, tour boat on the lake, and the green terraced hills in the distance.



Feb 112012

As mentioned before, our 3 week journey through 3 countries in Africa ended with two days of relaxation at the Paradis Malihide in Gisenyi. It was the perfect way to unwind. This is another photo of the fishermen making their way out onto Lake Kivu, to work their nets through the night in search of talapia and little black sambassa. They have to fish with nets because, as Cameron discovered after an hour casting his fly into the lake, these are the only two types of fish in the lake and neither of them is carnivorous. Once Cameron discovered this, he turned to teaching one of the waiters how to fly cast. Across the lake, through the haze, you can see the hills of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Fishermen on Lake Kivu, Gisenyi, Rwanda, heading out at night to work their nets from their triple hulled boat in search of talapia and little black sambassa.

Jan 022012

An earlier post mentioned our attempt to go out with the fishermen. We didn’t manage it but on our walk back we heard singing coming from this building and realized it was a church. The entrance was via a steep muddy slope, and it was raining. The church was full of people singing and dancing. It turned out that they were practicing to film a DVD the next day in a garden just up lake Kivu’s shoreline from our hotel.

The next night we went down to the dock again so I could take some photos of the fishermen departing. Singing could be heard from the church once again and we found the choir practicing. We were greeted with the same friendliness as the night before, which we’d come to expect everywhere we went in Rwanda. This time I had my camera out and once it was spotted they asked if I’d like to take some photos. I’d noticed this vantage point the night before and went straight up the partially constructed stairs. The night before I’d have gotten very wet up here. I asked about the roof and it turns out that they’re in the process of expanding the church.

Between the fishermen singing their way in and out and the church’s bells in the morning followed by the songs of the choir there’s always some sound to be heard in this little area of Gisenyi.

Interior of church in Gisenyi, Rwanda with an unfinished roof open to the stormy sky and the local choir practicing.

 January 2, 2012  Africa, Rwanda, Travel, Zambia 3 Responses »
Dec 302011

If you stay at the Paradis Malihide in Rwanda you’ll get to watch these fishermen leaving at about 6pm each day in these huge rowboats to fish lake Kivu for sambassa and tilapia. They stay out all night, returning at about 7am the next day. The canoes are made of three hulls, attached by beams. The paddling happens in the two outriggers and it takes the a long time to get up to speed.

On our first day there we heard them singing on their way out and ran, in the rain to the docks to watch. Looking out at this departure is incredible as at least a dozen of these giant canoes slowly make their way to deeper water. The spindly bits sticking out each end of the canoes are for stretching their nets out.

Lake Kivu, Rwanda fishermen leaving in canoes which are made of three hulls attached by beams and a spindly bit to hold the nets.