This little guy passed by me clinging to his mother’s back and seemed particularly interested in my camera. When she stopped and sat down he was behind her, but he crawled round to this spot and continued to watch.
I’m back home from Iceland now so can get back to my daily photo posting. It was difficult to get them done while in Iceland as any time that I wasn’t desperate for a few hours sleep I was out exploring. I’m looking forward to processing and posting the photos I took there. That being said, I’m still pretty worn out so you get a quick post today and a photo of a really cute, fuzzy Gorilla.
Where in Iceland is Johnny (hopefully)?
I’ve written these posts in advance so can’t tell you where I actually am. I can tell you where I hope to be, if everything goes to plan. There’s actually not much to report today. I arrive at Keflavik Airport at 11:50pm. Fortunately, my travel buddy will be getting in a day ahead of me so I’ll have a bed all ready for me. But, I expect I won’t be able to resist a first photo session under the midnight sun.
Today’s Photo: Jus’ Chillin’
The first question I get when I talk about visiting the gorillas in Rwanda is, “was it scary?”
Who could be scared of this guy?
This is one of my early attempts at HDR. I spotted this little structure and decided to see if I’d be able to capture the detail inside as well as the skyline in the distance. I have no idea who this guy is but he made quite a good subject to anchor the photo on. He seemed completely oblivious to my presence as well, must have been a good book.
This photo was from last week. I dashed out because I realised there was going to be a great sunset. I planned on getting out to Ferry Reach but left too late. I stopped off on the way and grabbed this photo of a fishing boat sat in its harbor at day’s end.
As I was rushing I shot this handheld using my 70-300mm lens to get in close to the boats. I took 3 exposures and then used Photoshop to align the images prior to running them through Photomatix.
Waking up before sunrise is pretty easy when you’re sleeping in a mesh tent surrounded by the sounds of wild animals through the night. Light moving across the flat landscape was a welcome sign.
“You’ll hear animals through the night. They’re going to sound very close, but sound travels a long way here.”
That was the last thing our guide said to us before the group separated into their respective tents. It had been raining, a hard rain as reported in an earlier post, so our fly sheets were on. They were heavy with an almost rubbery feel. It didn’t take long until people emerged in the darkness, flashlights in hand, to remove the stifling material. The fear of another downpour led to discussions on whether to leave it on, leave them half on or take them completely off. My tent mate and I settled on taking it all the way off, but laying it down carefully so it could be pulled up rapidly if need be.
Following this we turned to the darkness. A quick waft of the flashlight revealed a disturbing number of glinting eyes – presumably hippos. Hippos that were already on land and probably only 50 meters from us – they looked back, not moving. I guess they were content to munch away on the long grass surrounding us. With this revelation we returned to our tents. Now, nothing but a thin mesh separated us from the elements, and the wild animals. To be honest, this is exactly what I was after. Why sleep in the bush if you’re just going to lock yourself away? Also, it was much cooler this way.
Just as I dozed off to sleep I was startled by the trumpeting of an elephant. It sounded like it had to be on the same island as us but I repeated the mantra “they sound closer than they are” and drifted off to sleep. I was woken regularly through the night by every noise you feel like a night in the African bush should provide. I heard hyenas, lions, more elephant trumpets, and hippos grunting. This was always punctuated by an eerie silence that you knew would be broken at any moment.
My tent-mate, however, was fortunate enough to be awake for our closest encounter. Having been on an elephant back safari just days before he was finely tuned to recognize the sound of elephant dung hitting the ground. He woke up to feel the ground moving and quickly recognized the thudding. It didn’t take long for him to conclude that an elephant was crapping right next to our tent. I asked if he’d turned on his light to take a look, but the closeness rendered him incapable of moving.
We awoke to a red sky, having survived the night, and exchanged the stories of sounds I’ve just recanted here. Then we hopped out to check the area. Sure enough, there was fresh dung right next to our tent.
Following this discovery I set about capturing the sun rise. I’ve got a lot of photos of this scene from the night before. I’m not happy with any of them. This morning, I took only one photo of this scene, and I’m thrilled by it. I find that I’m always happiest with photos I’ve had to wait to take. For this one, I identified where I thought that sun would be coming up, framed up the picture and waited. I waited for quite a while and the sky was pretty blue all the way across. I began to wonder if I’d misjudged the location of the sunrise and somehow missed it. Then the glow intensified and I knew it was about to peak over the horizon. 7 exposures later and I was packing up my gear.
After a day on a bus, from Livingstone to the Lower Zambezi, we arrived at our home for the night, Zambezi Breezers. Upon arriving it was immediately clear where we would be spending our evening. This shot is taken on a deck built out over the banks of the Zambezi.
Sitting and relaxing, as the sun retired, we watched chartered fishing boats make their way back to their respective lodges and locals make their daily commute home by canoe. They all traveled the crocodile and hippo infested waters with the same manner of craft. They were very simple and appeared to be made from one tree trunk. The back-end seemed to always be submerged and while paddling they let their legs dangle over the sides into the water.