We were on a team building session on Phinda Private Game Reserve in KZN, South Africa, when two cheetah brothers decided to teach us all about teamwork.
It often happens that guests have their designated animals for their stay at a certain game reserve. They will see the same leopard or pride of lion during their entire stay in different situations, witnessing the most beautiful wildlife interactions and bonding with these amazing animals. It is, as if nature assigned them for the best experience.
The two cheetah brothers seemed to be assigned to us and they spoilt us. During the four game drives we had on Phinda, they showed us how a perfect team works. When one brother was resting, the other one was scanning the area. When they were scanning the area together, each of them had his own section he was responsible for. During all their activities they gave each other reassurance and backup. One could see that each of them felt safe in their relationship and the roles were clear. They understood each other even without a look or a sign; they were just connected.
The highlight of the cheetah teamwork was the hunt and if we had not realized until then, now it was very clear they were our designated animals. We were the only vehicles around and following the brothers. They were mobile and intensively scanning the area for potential food. The grass was very high, but the brothers could still see very well. Suddenly they moved faster, the hunt had begun, each of them in a split of a second doing what he was supposed to do. There was a buck in front of us. One brother approached it from the right and chased it towards the other brother waiting on the left. Then the brother on the left took over, made the final sprint and killed the buck. They took a couple of deep breaths and one brother started feeding while the other brother scanned the area for possible other predators and therefore potential danger to their prey. After a while they changed. Now the other brother was feeding on the kill and his brother was on the watch.
We were sitting there speechless, astonished how the two cheetahs showed us exactly what we wanted to accomplish with the team building session in the bush. Teamwork at it’s best.
There is the iPhone photo appOne Momento, an art project that allows you to take only one picture. This picture is uploaded to a gallery with all one-image-photo-app-images, aiming on 250,000 images, in a way a collage of images from 250,000 photographers.
That one image idea is quite interesting and can inspire more art applications. How about taking one image today, saving it in a separate folder on your computer or cloud and making a note in your calendar to open this image on a certain day in the future? What will the image tell you? It is like writing a letter to yourself, posting it and receiving the letter on a certain date in the future and it most likely will give you exactly what you need at that very moment, some encouragement, consolation, joy, congratulations or support.
Wanna try? Take a photo or choose one from your image gallery, seal it in a folder on your computer, pick a date in your calendar and make an appointment/note with notification. Then let go and forget about it. It will make itself know when its time to open it again.
American architect John Lautner was portrayed by the amazing documentary Infinite Space, which could easily has been named Infinite Light, because his architecture allows infinite light in all his houses by connecting them to the natural environment they are located in on the most beautiful places in the world.
What does his infinite space approach mean for photographers? In the first place think infinite, allow your imagination infinite space and in the second place use the infinite light available to all of us. Play with it and explore how light creates infinite spaces within spaces. Interior photographers will be conscious about that, yet it is an excellent tool for all photographers to learn about light. How light makes spaces infinite although they have real walls and how light can create smaller spaces within infinite spaces like nature.
The annual photography exhibition New Photography at the New York City Museum of Modern Art MoMA has started on the 3rd of October and runs through to the 4th of February 2013. The exhibition wants to showcase emerging photographers and sees itself each year confronted with a bigger challenge with all the images taken by millions of photographers on all the social networks. According to the New York Times more than 380 billion photographs were taken in 2011 alone.
So, it must have been a hard job to decide on 5 photographers to be featured on the New Photography 2012 exhibition. The artists are Michele Abeles, Birdhead (Ji Weiyu and Song Tao), Anne Collier, Zoe Crosher and Shirana Shahbazi. Detailed information is available on the exhibition site and in the Time Magazine article by Erica Fahr Campbell.
Isn’t it an incredible inspiration that any of the photographers showcasing their work on social media could be one day the emerging photographer of New Photography?
In 1975 Stanley Kubrick directed the three-hour movie Barry Lyndon with its famous candlelight scenes, filmed only with ambient light and in this case, candlelight. For this amazing movie he used the NASA Zeiss f/0.70 lenses with some of the fastest apertures ever made.
In the Stanley Kubrick documentary A Life in Pictures a section is dedicated to the making of Barry Lyndon and these amazing lenses, originally coming from photography and not cinematography. Kubrick with his still photography background just put them on a film camera and made this incredible movie. See here a fragment of the documentary on the Barry Lyndon movie.
Ok, we usually do not have access to these high-end lenses, but when did you for the last time experiment with lenses and ambient light? One big takeaway from Kubrick’s movie is also that less is more and genuineness is unbeatable. No studio light setting would have given the movie that genuine feeling of a candlelight evening than a real candlelight evening.
The numbers get higher and we tend to thing that the higher the numbers the more we get for our money. And yes, we get more megapixels and more autofocus points, but does that also mean we really need it?
The Canon High-MP rumors persist and new information has just been posted on Canon Rumors that says it would be the Canon EOS-1S with a price of about USD 9,000. A specific number of megapixel was not mentioned.
As said in earlier blog posts on this subject, a decision on purchasing the high megapixel Canon needs some contemplation. What are you doing in photography and how do you use your images? Do you want to crop a fly out of an image of a building or will your images be printed in billboard size? Do you need speed when photographing; are you photographing moving objects? Think about it and definitely when the expected price is right, a wrong decision can be painful.
Sony’s A99 SLT offers 19+102 autofocus points, in total 121 and at first sight that appeals more to me than the probably 46MP. Especially when capturing moving objects the high number of autofocus points is very helpful and every wildlife and sports photographer would love to have them, but unfortunately until now there is a downside to it. According to The Phoblographer you can use the feature so far only with 6 lenses, which hopefully will change soon. Yet it is a great feature and probably with more broad use than an extremely high number of megapixel.
Well, it’s always a personal decision depending on the photographic purpose one is pursuing and sometimes its just too tempting.
Again the night ended at about 4.30 a.m. with hooting matatus and the mullah calling for prayer. We got up to find out there was no water. Fortunately we still got some in our jerry cans. We left the campsite at 7.30 heading north to Samburu National Reserve. The first stop was after an hour and a half at Thomson Falls. A nice place with a small hotel, good facilities and the waterfall. We had breakfast and a walk to the falls. We were awake now for what promised to be a long day.
From Thomson Falls the road goes along Aberdare National Park and then north around Mount Kenya. It’s a clime up to about 3.000 m through a fertile agricultural area. Although the altitude is high the rain and the soil make everything growing in abundance. After two hours and a half we reached Nanyuki. I liked the name and the place. A colorful buzzing African place. Nanyuki is Masai and means “place of red water”. I didn’t see water, but maybe when the Masai first arrived, they found the water colored by the red soil of the area. We stopped and did some shopping to have enough food for our stay in Samburu.
From Nanyuki we drove to Kenron Grill, a restaurant just about one km away from the road to have lunch. When we got there we were the only guests except the local police officers, having their lunch as well. Because our itinerary was mixed up from the first stay in the Mara, the restaurant had expected us yesterday and not today, what meant that there was nothing prepared, what meant the meat was still in the freezer. So we got grilled frozen chicken, but we were hungry, we ate it all.
We left Kenron Grill at a quarter to two and started descending to Isiolo from about 3.000 m to about 1.600 m altitude. It was a beautiful drive, down the slopes of Mount Kenya with a view over the Laikipia area. The vegetation changed. It was dry land, desert like. Isiolo felt different. The market was along the road, it was buzzing, people herding their camels and yet it felt more poor than other places. Maybe because it’s not a fertile agricultural area and people have to fight every day to get food on their plate. We had to register our vehicle before we could continue to Samburu. There had been incidents in the past with bandits on this road and registration is for security. If you get lost they know where you were last and when you departed for Samburu. It was a weird feeling. I had read about this in the Rough Guide and now I was there. Alex told me that there was nothing out there when we left Isiolo, only desert with poachers from Somalia. But he said quickly, that was in the past. It’s much better now. Anyway I was sitting in the vehicle thinking what am I going to do when we get ambushed. Nothing actually. Give them what they want and hope that they are happy with it.
We carried on to Archers Post. There would be the gate to Samburu National Reserve. It was the most horrible road I experienced throughout whole Kenya and the only way to make it bearable was to drive very fast. There were roadwork’s going on to provide a wonderful and comfortable new road, but it was far from being finished. The good thing was, that the roadwork’s had brought many people there working. Small settlements were along the road and it turned out that the drive didn’t feel as unsafe as I had expected. There was something out of Isiolo.
We reached the Archer’s Post Gate at 4 p.m. and lost our fuel tank. Paul had filled up both fuel tanks (the Landcruiser has two) and the rear one had just fallen off. Rangers, Paul and Alex were underneath the vehicle fixing it with ropes that we could continue. It was actually just another thing that didn’t work properly, the fridge (repaired in Nakuru), the leaking tents (still not fixed!!!), my car door (when I closed the window the door fell open) and now the fuel tank. Half an hour later the fuel tank was roped up and we carried on to the campsite. It was 4.30 p.m.. A truck was driving in front of us, it had rained, the truck got stuck and we got in his trail and got stuck too. Everybody out, spates out and digging. We pitched camp at 5.30 p.m. The public campsite in Samburu is next to the river and also next to the rangers headquarter. Alex choose a spot next to the river and close to the facilities. They were challenging.
It started raining again and even with the flysheets (still the heavy ones) my tent was leaking badly. I kept everything packed and in the middle of the tent in case I have to get my stuff out quickly. We all had an early night after an exhausting day. At about 11.30 p.m. I woke up from voices next to my tent and then I heard THE noise. The river. When we arrived the river was low and small, now it was a dangerous stream. This is also called a flash flood. It had rained in the mountains and all the water came suddenly like a wave. My tent was the closest to the river and now just about two meters away from the water. I rushed out, gave Alex and Paul a shout to wake them up, got my stuff in the vehicle, broke down my tent together with Alex and Paul and set it up again on higher ground. That all happened in 10 minutes. It probably sounds quick, but it isn’t. If the flood had got to me, there wouldn’t have been any time to get out. It was about midnight when I was in “bed” again and it was still raining and my tent still leaking. I woke up a couple of times from heavy rain and the noise of the waves coming down the river. This day taught me once again what it means to be in the bush. No matter how tired or exhausted you are you got to take on the challenges.