And now for a bit of shameless self-promotion, because I never have...I live in Paradise. (Well, Paradise is really about 5 miles up the road, but that's neither here nor there. Well, it's actually THERE.) But even when living in your slice of Nirvana (not a town here, unlike Paradise) you still have to shell out money for things, though it's much cheaper than, say, living with the Teeming Millions. So to that end I've updated this page to where you can click the rectangular ..."Shop Now" button up on the right which takes you to my Pixels.com website and purchase high-quality copies of my photos that you see either here or on my personal Facebook page at www.facebook.com/steve.wolfe.75. You can buy prints in canvas, framed, metal and acrylic, and also as greeting cards and phone cases. If there's a particular photo that interests you here that you don't see at my website, please contact me via my site at Pixels.com and I'll put it up for you to purchase. I've been getting requests lately for copies of my photos, so I figure this is the easiest way to do it. And that I should have done this long ago.
We saw a lot of wildlife in Africa right alongside the road. These cubs were "frolicking" around this tree where 3 lioness were up snoozing on branches and one was on the ground with the cubs.
Of all the wildlife that we saw I'd say the giraffe was the biggest crowd-pleaser; I don't think there was ever a time when we felt tired of seeing them. Here ...are some that we encountered on the way to Tarangire Nat'l Park from Amboseli. BTW, all of these videos were done using the Canon 7D MK II camera and 500 f/4 MK II lens.
One of the places we visited was Amboseli National Park, near Mt. Kilimanjaro in Kenya. Here are some photos of the wildlife we found there, and I'll be adding more as I go through my photos.
Amboseli National Park is one of the world's best wildlife viewing areas. Amboseli means "salty, dry place" in the Maasai language but recent rains have filled ...usually dry lake beds with water, so the wildlife, especially birds, is even better than usual. I'm using the Canon 7D MK I camera with the 17-55 f/2.8 lens for the landscapes and either the 100-400 f/5.6 MK II or 500 f/4 MK II lens for the wildlife.
A male Superb Starling, Amboseli National Park, Kenya, March 29. They're a common bird seen in east Africa and, like the European Starlings in the US, pretty tame and always looking for a handout.
Here's a video of 2 Rosy-patched Bush Shrikes duetting with each other... From Amboseli National Park in Kenya.
Some of the sights we saw in Africa require sound along with the visual to get the full effect like this one of two Rosy-patched Bush Shrikes doing a "duet". Yo...u can also hear our friend Susan , watching from our safari vehicle, calling it "fabulous" -- and she's right. This was in Kenya's Amboseli National Park. Make sure the sound is on (duh).
Mount Kilimanjaro at sunrise seen from Ol Tukai Lodge in Amboseli National Park, March 31. This was our view of "Kili" from our front doors of the lodge's cottages. We were heading out that day to Tanzania's Tarangire National Park and this was the only time during our stay there that the mountain was completely "out".
I just got back from a 17-day safari tour in Africa put together by Rockjumper and the ABA (American Bird Assocation); we visited Kenya's Amboseli National Park and Tarangire and Serengeti National Parks in Tanzania along with the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, home of the world's largest intact volcano crater I'll be showing highlights from the trip for the next few weeks. As you can imagine we saw quite a few elephants. A sad fact we learned was that elephants starve to death when they reach about 60 years old; their molars stop being replaced (they go through 6 sets of molars up until then) and lose their teeth so they can't keep the grass, their main food source, in their mouths or chew. The ones that reach this stage go away from the herd to slowly starve to death; a sad end to a majestic animal in its wild state.
Was I REALLY in Africa? I'd wonder if it weren't for the photos I took --- nearly 6,000 of them. 3 planes, about 21 hours in the air and nearly 8000 miles later... we're now back in the US but I won't be back to Portal and Faranuf until around the 22nd. Here's an interesting yet sad fact about elephants that we learned while on safari -- they starve to death. At around 60 years old, their eroded teeth keep them from feeding. They go through 6 sets of molars throughout life, but they stop replacing themselves so the elephant can't keep the grass, their main source of food, in his/her mouth. There were many times when we saw old bulls and cows off by themselves, away from the herd, pulling grass with their trunks yet drop it back on the ground, unable to eat it. It's a sad end to a majestic, iconic symbol of Africa. I'll be putting trip albums together during the next week or so while everything that I saw and heard is still fresh.
I'll be leaving tomorrow for Africa with my friends and fellow Portalites Lori and Mark Conrad. The first place on our safari agenda is Kenya's Amboseli National Park ( http://www.kws.go.ke/amboseli-national-park ), which among many other things is the one of the best places in Africa to view elephants up close. And if we're lucky, we'll get glimpses of Mt. Kilimanjaro, too although the weather report calls for clouds and on-and-off rain (late April is the beginning to the season known as "the long rains"). I'll be in touch here as often as I can, and try to post photos and videos along the way as time and internet connection allow.
It's Friday March 23 and I'm back in my home town of San Pedro. I'll be flying to Africa on Monday. Here's Wednesday's sunrise, looking to the container terminals and ships in Los Angeles and Long Beach harbors and Saddleback Mountain in the distance. It's quite a change from the sunrises in Portal, but beautiful nevertheless.
Here's how I managed to get my lenses, bodies, and camera paraphenalia to qualify as a carry-on for Africa...
Now that I'm actually packing it's hit me -- I'm going to Africa! But I'll be taking my camera gear along, and that means fitting the 500mm, 100-400 and 17-55 l...enses, 1.4x teleconverter, 2 camera bodies, batteries, chargers, SD and CF camera cards, etc. all into one bag. And it has to fit the carry-on size limitations as I ain't going to have the baggage "handlers" manhandle my gear as a check-in. So I bought a Lowepro All-Weather (it has a weather cover, too) Flipside 500. I'm surprised at how easy it was to fit the big expensive stuff into the main compartment; the first photo shows it all packed tightly. Then I zipped everything up, tightened down a few straps, and pics 2 and 3 show what the finished product looks like. Air France's maximum dimensions are 22 inches by 18 by 10, and Kenya Airways are 22 by 14 by 7.8. My tape measure, with all the gear and even including my 15-inch MacBook Pro, comes out to -- drumroll please -- 21 x 13.5 x 9. Even the 1.2 inch difference in width with Kenya is fixable with a little more tightening of the straps. Whether it would qualify as a carry-on was a big concern to me; now I can breathe easier. And packing my check-in next? Easy-peasy. Africa here I come in a little more than a week! The plane flies out of LAX, so I'll be taking off on the drive to LA on Monday and stay with my dad this coming week.
Arizona Highways Magazine's Facebook page has a Friday Fotos "contest" where you submit two photos that are related to a weekly theme. This week's was "Your Favorite Place"and mine, of course, is nearly in my back yard -- Cave Creek Canyon. One of my submissions was not only chosen for the Friday Fotos gallery but was one of the cover photos.
I'm now back home in Portal but will be leaving on Monday the 19th for Los Angeles and the flight to Kenya on the 26th. Last night's sunset was odd yet spectacular; this is looking west to Cave Creek Canyon.