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Archive for February, 2009

Wilderness Impressions

Encompassing the northwest end of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the Lee Metcalf Wilderness consists of 254,288 pristine acres ranging in elevation from subalpine meadows at 4,400 feet to 11,316 foot mountain peaks.

cabin-creek

Cabin Creek

It is managed by the Bureau of Land Management and both the Gallatin and Beaverhead National Forests. The entire wilderness area is located within Montana.

The Lee Metcalf is made up of four distinct units, each with their own special characteristics. The most popular section is the Spanish Peaks, just south of Bozeman, Montana. The Spanish Peaks unit of the Metcalf has 78,000 acres of glacial carved peaks, picturesque cirques and crystal clear lakes with about 110 miles of hiking and horseback riding trails to explore.

spanish-creek2

Spanish Creek

This trail system is well maintained but heavily used. Wildflowers are abundant in late spring through the summer months. Trails lead along knife ridges and near vertical headwalls through u-shaped valleys carved by glaciers. With 25 peaks above 10,000 feet, the Spanish Peaks run the full spectrum of all the rocky mountain life zones.

A very rugged location, it is a great place to search for mountain goats and bighorn sheep. There is excellent fishing for cutthroat, grayling, rainbow and brook trout in the rushing streams and alpine lakes throughout the Wilderness area.

 

monument mtn

Monument Mountain

Monument Mountain Unit is south of Big Sky and is managed by the Gallatin National Forest with 30,000 plus acres for the backpacker and horsemen to discover.

This section is much more isolated then the other units thus it is noted for its rich wildlife habitat. Since it is heavily forested there are many grizzly bears, elk, moose and mountain lions in this section.

Grassy subalpine basins and lush flower meadows are located in this district that borders Yellowstone National Park. Skyline Ridge, Monument Mountain and Bacon Rind are the predominant features.

The Bear Trap Unit is the first wilderness managed by the BLM at 6,000 acres. The famous blue ribbon trout stream, the Madison River has carved its path through this more arid section of the wilderness.

Aside from excellent fishing this wild canyon country is noted for whitewater rafting with nine miles of some of the best whitewater in Montana.

Cowboy Heaven is an ecological bridge that connects the Bear Trap to the Foothills if the Spanish Peaks. It is a great notable area to view elk.

echo-peak

Hilgard Basin

The fourth is the very dramatic and largest unit, the Taylor – Hilgard zone, north of West Yellowstone. It contains a little more than 141,000 acres that run the crest of the Madison Range and crosses both parts of the Gallatin and Beaverhead National Forests.

Open meadows, carved out cirques and some 70 unspoiled lakes provide an outstanding habitat for wildflowers that blanket the territory in July and August.

Choice features here to explore are the Sphinx, the Helmet and Hilgard Peak itself at 11,316 feet. They all give outstanding panoramic views of more jagged peaks and alpine cirques.

For more information on the Lee Metcalf Wilderness contact the Gallatin National Forest at 406-587-2520 or http://www.fs.fed.us/r1/gallatin/

 Related Post:
https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/03/14/absaroka-beartooth-wilderness

All photographs used in this entry are copyrighted by Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photos, 2009, All Rights Reserved. Reproduction of any kind is prohibited. If you wish reproduction rights please contact: wayne@rangeofvisionphotos.com

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

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 Crater Floor Discoveries

We had just circled Lake Magadi in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area of Northern Tanzania. We observed and photographed both the greater and lesser Pink Flamingos. Countless long legged beauties were feeding in the shallow alkaline waters.

From a distance the lake appeared tinted pink and as we got to the shoreline it seemed half the lake was filled with flamingos chattering away, high stepping in the salty shallows.

flamingoes-lake-magadi

Lake Magadi Flamingoes

Spoonbills also love these area marshes and swamps. Their dazzling white plumage with bright red, unfettered faces are very distinctive. Large spoon shaped pink bills are used in a continuous sweeping motion that churns up the lake bottom as they nibble down the days’ dinner.

Both Flamingos and Spoonbills frequent the freshwater and alkaline lakes all along the Great Rift Valley. A quarter mile away we could hear their chattering. Closer, with a 200mm lens, I photographed thousands of these striking birds.

flamingoes

Flamingoes

A jackal brazenly walked right along the shoreline appearing to make a meal choice for his days’ feed.  Greater Flamingos raced across the water their colorful bodies lifted into the air, flying perhaps thirty yards before splashing back down into the overwhelming crowd of pink and white bodies. The jackal backed off. With so many birds I guess he just couldn’t make up his mind. Safety in numbers prevailed.

Just beyond Lake Magadi, nestled along the crater wall, is the Lerai forest. I thought this was the prettiest part of the caldera. Hugh yellow barked acacia, flat topped acacia wild mango and croton trees canopy the whole area. The cooler shade was a welcomed respite from intense sunshine.

We pulled to a stop just when a noisy pack of Baboons came charging toward the Land Cruiser.  Babies clung to their mothers backs hanging on for dear life as they ran across the red dirt road. Some kind of personal conflict raged through the troop. High pitched screams and barks filled the air. It was the sound of the terrified.

baboon-w-young

Baboon with baby

My motor drive whirred away and before I realized it we were surrounded by Baboons. They climbed up the backside of the Cruiser grabbing at my camera bag then at me.

Nyani, Swahili for Baboon can get up to 100 pounds and are very crafty. Dropping my camera bag into the vehicle I kept on photographing these olive brown aggressive characters.

Each time I swung around they backed off a bit startled by my sudden movements. They started eating the rubber gaskets on the sunroof. I shot close up portraits until I couldn’t focus any closer.

baboon-eating-gasket

Rubber eater

A loud snap and crash filled the air. All of the Baboons scattered in an instant seeking shelter in the woodlands, screaming at the top of their lungs all the way.

That shattering sound was followed by a bull elephant’s bellow. I swung around just in time to photograph this massive creature charging us. He kicked up red dust, ears flapping wide and trunk arched forward.

bull-elephant

Before I knew it I was eye to eye with gleaming white tusks within reach. Again this animal was closer than I could focus with my 80-200mm lens.

My driver quickly pulled forward and the bull backed off from his charge. We hooped and howled from the adrenaline surge and I added another memorable moment to my African safari.

 Related Post:

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/02/02/tracking-lions

All photographs are copyrighted by Wayne Scherr, 2009, All Rights Reserved. Reproduction is prohibited without the written permission of Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photos. My image gallery can be viewed at www.rangeofvisionphotos.com or you can contact me through this blog or email: wayne@rangeofvisionphotos.com

 

 

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House of the Sun

Cinder Cone Crunch
From the crater rim sunrise on Haleakala is a timeless panorama that many people have witnessed. It is dynamic and awe inspiring.

Wind, water and fire dominate your thoughts as you gaze down into the heart of this tallest freestanding mountain on earth. This other world of desolate beauty is overwhelming.

But our goal this day was to have the full volcanic experience and hike down into the crater and across the Halemau’u trail, a difficult 12-mile trek.

An International Biosphere Reserve, Haleakala National Park on Maui, Hawaii covers more than 28,000 acres of pristine wilderness from its summit at 10,023 feet to sea level, miles below. It is the world’s largest dormant volcano.

Chilly morning air swept up from the cinder floor of the caldera. It is actually an eroded valley shaped by the elements of natures might that have joined forces to dominate and fashion Haleakala’s unique beauty.

Above the churning clouds, surrounding the summit, a hundred miles away were the summits of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, on the Big Island. Their volcanic peaks floated above the stirring sea of clouds fused in hues of pink, orange and gold. The thin alpine atmosphere is invigorating, even euphoric.

sunrise-clouds2

Sunrise clouds Haleakala

This first section of the trail called Sliding Sands is about four miles in length and takes hikers down 1,400 feet to the crater’s cinder floor. A lunar like rockscape unfolds as we descend through the dissipating mist.

In places the cinder acts like little ball bearings rolling under foot. It is easy to slip and kick up these sharp little pieces of lava into your shoes. Blister time if you are not careful.

A wilderness of silence swallows you on the descent. There is nothing to say. There are no words that race through your head. You just sense the quiet.

We explored bottomless volcanic pits, bubble caves and lava tubes. Each of the cinder eruptions are testimonials to the islands ancient history. We could feel life’s mystical forces everywhere.

Almost a thousand years ago the east rift zone exploded in fountains of lava leaving behind large colorful cinder cones. Pu’u O Pele is the largest at roughly 1,000 feet. You can walk its rim and really face the core of a volcanic experience.  

puu-o-pele1

Puu o pele cinder cone

Another remarkable feature named for Madam Pele the Hawaiian goddess of fire is “Pele’s Paint Pot”. Rich colors of yellow sulfur and red oxidized iron blanket the cinder cones in this area. They are splattered with sparse vegetation that adds bright green to the colorful array.

A special plant endemic to the Islands is the Silversword. It has spiked silver haired leaves that seem to hug the ground. But when in bloom its stalk can rise eight or more feet into the air and bursts with hundreds of purplish sunflower like buds. It flowers only once in its twenty year life span and then dies with hopes that its seeds will continue to reproduce.

haleakala1

Halemauu Trail

Before the 1,400 foot, 3.9 mile ascent to the end of the trial you find yourself at Holua cabin which is a great place to rest up, eat something and drink plenty of water for the dehydrating climb.

Haleakala’s unique biology becomes more prevalent when hiking up the crater wall on the strenuous Halemau’u Trail. The last two miles are steep switchbacks gaining 1,400 feet back up to the crater rim. It takes twice as long to climb out as the descent into the caldera.

Maui wormwood is a shrub that grows two to three feet high on the cliff faces. It too has silvery leaves and has aromatic small orange flowers. It has medicinal qualities for treating asthma.

Wiliwili, koa and Lobelias favor the damp climate of this part of Haleakala. Red blossomed ohia lehua shrubs catch moisture from the low lying afternoon clouds that tend to crowd the edges of the Ko’olau Gap. It swallows the picturesque landscape below and changes your reality as you keep looking for the trailhead some nine switchbacks up.

It is a long, long exhausting day hike but more than worth the effort. This adventure is a sublime visual spectacle found nowhere else in the world. It is a place of legends and myths. It personifies what Hawaiians mean when they say “Maui No Ka Oi”, Maui is the best!

Related Posts:

 

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/02/14/napali-coast

 

 

All photographs used on this entry are copyrighted by Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography, 2009, All Rights Reserved. Reproduction or use in any way is prohibited without the written permission of Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography. Contact: wayne@rangeofvisionphotos.com

 

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Seeking Kauai’s Green Flash

 

Spinner dolphins bumped the side of the zodiac as Kalalau’s white sand beach came into view. With my hand stretched out over the side one slick dolphin slid through my fingers, splashing water into the raft.

Sharp jagged cliffs that were shaped by millions of years of erosion, raised claw like, from the sea. Incredible greens, scarred with red lava soil streaks, contrasted against the awesome blues of ocean and cloudless sky.

There were five us in the zodiac heading toward the beach with powerful ocean swells lifting us then dropping the raft  into troughs several feet deep abruptly raising again throwing off everyone’s  equilibrium. We squatted lower in the raft, hanging onto straps trying to stabilize ourselves.

napali-coast1

Napali Coast panorama

Like Hawaiians of ancient times a dozen sun tanned campers ran out of the jungle half naked, waving and cheering down to the ocean’s edge. This wilderness fantasy had begun.

Because of the swells we were told by the captain we would have to swim the last thirty yards while he would surf our gear onto the beach. I quickly repacked my camera and with my heart pounding jumped over the side a little frightened and very excited by this unexpected event.

Pulling myself onto the beach I grabbed my pack from the zodiac and traversed the hot sand into the tropical heaven. People evaporated from the beach as quickly as they had come out to greet us retreating into the vegetation canopy for shade relief.

Unable to find a private location to pitch my tent I walked out along the beach along the headwall. Under an eroded overhang I found a protected area high enough so that the next tide wouldn’t swamp the site nor would falling rocks bonk me on the head during the night. I set up camp.

Roaring ocean waves crashing on the sand seized my attention. I couldn’t hear anything else. The humid air curled my hair and the hot mid afternoon sun was like a focused lens baking my skin.

The only shade was my tent and being a bit over heated, salty and covered with ever clinging sand, I crawled in leaving both ends open to suck up the trade winds that swirled alongside the cliffs.

Not realizing it I slipped into unconsciousness and awoke an hour later refreshed and ready to do some exploring.

Unless you are touring via helicopter there are only two ways to experience the Na Pali coast of Kauai. The easiest is by boat the way I came to Kalalau Beach. The other was the way I wanted to leave and that was to hike the 11 mile coastline trail.

The late afternoon air was cooler. I photographed the shoreline including two sea caves before heading up the valley. Ho’ole’a falls is at the west end of the beach. Its’ cool water was refreshing. I dipped into a cool pool to clean off the salt and sand before climbing to the falls.

Already the pounding surf was muffled by laughter and the splashing waterfall. A young couple playfully showered in the falling waters.  They asked me to photograph them. In the viewfinder I noticed the deep tanned female had big feet for such a small woman. We shared a sip of wine and I moved on.

Most people camp in the jungle at the entrance of the valley. Over the years spaces were cleared under Java Plum and kukui trees. Many trees are covered with passion fruit and a morning glory type vine called koali ‘awa. The jungle setting provides protection from the hot sun, rain and savage wind that can blow stinging sand at the beach.

A hundred yards inland you are surrounded by Papaya and Noni trees.  The trail climbed up a red dirt streaked hill and into a shaded Milo tree grove. The thick vegetation set a magnificent tropical atmosphere as I hiked, “up valley”, toward Big Pool, an unspoiled fresh water sanctuary.

From Kalalau stream the pool is two miles makua, toward the mountains. Heavy vegetation continued as I passed several rock walls and terraces that once were used for agriculture by native Hawaiians.

Serenity filled the jungle. My heated breath, a few song birds and the rushing stream were the only sounds on my solitary venture.

tropical-waterfall

Tropical waterfall

Reaching Big Pool I felt fried. I striped and waded into the cool, clear waters. What a relief it was to my sun baked sweaty body.

I thought of the many books I had read about the tropics including Hawaii and Typee. I relaxed, drifting, fantasizing my life as a character having jumped a trade schooner and made his way to some lost village in this ideal paradise setting.

Lost in thought a sudden crack in the trees startled me. A feral goat circled the pool keeping a safe distance. I assumed it wanted to get at the water and acquiesced to its wishes.

The scent of wild guava filled the air on the hike back down the valley. One of the most beautiful vistas in the world opened through the forest as I hit the shoreline.

relaxing1

Relaxing at trails end

Sheer volcanic cliffs fell 700 feet and more into the frothy blue ocean and jungle greens so intense it almost hurt my eyes. At the red hill I lay down on what I thought to be an ancient heiau or temple site to view the sunset. I was simply awe struck.

People at the beach were gathering for the evening ritual. Evening winds had calmed but the sea echoed like thunder rolling in from the mountains. As the bright orange sun dipped below the horizon a momentary green flash erupted from the ocean froth ending a spectacular day.

A green flash is an atmospheric phenomenon where the sunlight is refracted like a prism when the sun sets. This mirage magnifies the green spectrum. The bright green flash itself can last anywhere from a fraction of a second to several seconds in length. It was something I’ll never forget.

There were cheers and drumming at the beach. A few hula dancers around the campfires and lots of laughter added to the magic of the sultry evening.

A crescent moon and shimmering stars danced across the Pacific. With the black of night there was the constant timing of waves. It penetrated my being like a meditative mantra. This soul was at peace with the world.

My camping permit allowed me only two nights in this wilderness area. Sunrise was clear but when I prepared to cross Kalalau stream the once passive waters were roaring to a depth above my waist. Dark ominous clouds poured rained up country making the stream impassable.

I spent the morning lost in thought absorbing the power of the Palis. Leaving on the zodiac that brought in the next set of travelers was a bit distressing. Why would anyone want to leave?

Today, dynamic photographs adorn my walls and thoughts of this Polynesian paradise linger with my spirit.  I can still smell the tropical scents and feel the essence of the wild Na Pali coast of Kauai.

Related Post:

 All photographs used in this entry are copyrighted by Wayne Scherr, 2009, All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in any manner is prohibited without the written permission of Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photos. Contact: wayne@rangeofvisionphotos.com                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

 

 

 

 

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/02/21/house-of-the-sun

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/02/21/house-of-the-sun

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Wilderness Wishes

We hiked across the backbone of the Beartooth Plateau, in the Absaroka – Beartooth Wilderness. Along the border of Montana and Wyoming this alpine plateau is the longest, continuous in elevation, in North America. At over 10,000 feet it is truly unsurpassed wilderness.

Overcast and windy it wasn’t very conducive for photography but we persisted. My brother and I only had two days here this time. It was a quick birthday break weekend, to do a little exploring in the high country and to photograph moving water. Water is one of my favorite themes.

With hundreds of alpine lakes tucked into glacial cirques there are many rushing streams, sparkling with crystal clear water to photograph. There are more than 243,000 acres in this, my favorite wilderness area.

By mid-morning clearing weather brought us to one such mountain watercourse.  We began working the location on both sides of the creek. Composing carefully I tried to pre-visualize what my camera would see.

After making several images I noticed how the surging waters resembled a screaming, haunted face. It was only a small stretch of water but my imagination got the best of me.

I made several exposures at slow shutter speeds to imply motion. Then changing lenses I stepped right into the cold mountain stream. If you want the best images you have get involved and be part of what you photograph.

The swirling waters, nearly up to my knees, numbed my legs. I didn’t even notice until I tried to walk out to the dry bank almost losing my balance.

The sound of surging water and the fragrant alpine air filled my senses. A few deep breaths and heavy rubbing on my calves got the circulation going again.

Feeling a deep satisfaction I knew I had captured a strong image. I have always had the notion that if you are aware and open to the environment you are in, they, (good photographs), will find you.

haunted

Haunted waters

It’s the Zen of photography that I seek in these special moments. It is the spiritual elements that complete a creative encounter for me.

Afterwards, we tried to photograph the hillsides that were covered in tiny alpine flowers but the wind picked up again. The essence had faded. It was time to move on.

Settling down against some granite boulders to block the wind we relaxed, had some dinner and wine from our packs. It was a nice birthday treat.

We talked story until the sun set. It was an exhilarating wilderness experience; wet feet, windblown and a disc full of newly captured images we headed back home to Bozeman.

Early the next morning we were already printing photos. The watery results were satisfying especially, the screaming face. It was a powerful image. But then my brother viewed it from another angle and it became much more mysterious.

When viewed from the side the screaming face turned into several faces sculpted in the rushing waters.

Staring, flashing eyes, skeletal forms and profiles, it was spiritual. This was a straight image, no Photoshop or alterations of any kind. It didn’t seem real. We found at least four different faces with one even having a highlight in his eye.

river-shaman

River Shaman

A spooky birthday gift from nature, it was a photographic guide, a River Shaman, a spiritual awakening. It was an experience that continues to haunt me, as a Giclee print hanging sideways on my wall.

 All photographs used in this entry are copyrighted by Wayne Scherr, 2009, All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in any manner is prohibited without the written permission of Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photos. Print catalog at www.rangeofvisionphotos.com Contact: wayne@rangeofvisionphotos.com

 

 

 

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African Skies 

Evening light was beginning to settle on the Nyaruboro Hills. As with many special places in the world travelers with cocktails in hand ventured out to witness the sunset. It was no different here at the Sopa Lodge deep in the Serengeti.

serengeti-at-sopa-lodge

Serengeti at Sopa Lodge

Across the valley on the far side of the Mbalageti River we could see a line of more than one hundred elephants. They were foraging through the Yellow barked acacia, sycamore and African Blackwood trees. Perhaps they were seeking a place of refuge for the dark night that was fast approaching.

A small rock wall separated us from the wild out there. Only four to five feet high it really wasn’t much of a barrier. It certainly would not hinder any of the large cats that inhabited the area.

A small sign attached to each boma, cottage, stated that no one should wander very far from their room at night.

To the east, on the Ndoha Plains, a thunderstorm rose to dizzying heights and glowed pink, gold and white hues. A double rainbow arched between the anvil shaped clouds with an occasional lightening strike bolting from skies.

Everyone sat in silence, just watching, taking in the end of the day. There was magic on the Serengeti that night. Far to the west cumulous clouds now loomed on the horizon.

young-giraffe

Young Giraffe

Three giraffe crunched on acacia leaves, fifty feet from the partition. You could hear them breathing. They munched on the thorn covered brushwood with long black tongues expertly wrapping around the branches stripping off the gummy leaves without a scratch.

two-giraffes

Giraffes and acacia tree

Somewhere in the distance we could hear a low woofing sound. Lions were on the prowl near the river searching for their evening meal.

Those graceful long necked giraffes never missed a lick. You could hear their chomping now, less than thirty feet from the stone wall.

Darkness settled in swiftly, swallowing the landscape. Everyone moved indoors rather quickly seeking the safety and protection of the lodge.

After dinner, with a glass of wine, I entered into the dark, starry African night for a fast walk along the barricade heading toward my boma. Somehow that short rock facade made me feel safe from the bush, although, I did feel my heart thumping in my ears a little faster and louder than normal. It was invigorating.

Like diamonds thrown into the black heavens from horizon to horizon the scene was awesome. The world was silenced. I felt as if I were on another planet on the far side of the universe.

I stood barefoot with my toes over the ledge absorbing this powerful wilderness that engulfed me, wanting it to last forever, desiring this night to embed itself deep into my soul.

Quiet. It was ever so quiet.

A whispered, “Jambo Mr. Wynes”, startled me. Two Massai watchmen stood ten feet behind me.

I realized that if they could approach me in this silent night what else could do the same?

Wrapped in their bright red sukas, blankets, to shed the cooling night air we exchanged a few words. They pointed out the Southern Cross constellation, now almost at our zenith when that low woofing sound drifted in from just beyond the wall.

Nervous chuckles ensued.

Without hesitation they escorted me to my boma. The magic of this night continues to fill my dreams.

Related Posts:
https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/03/06/tree-climbing-lions

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/02/02/tracking-lions

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/02/02/elephant-brothers

 All photographs used in this entry are copyrighted by Wayne Scherr, 2009, All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in any manner is prohibited without the written permission of Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photos. My image gallery can be viewed at www.rangeofvisionphotos.com  You can contact me through this blog or email: wayne@rangeofvisionphotos.com

 

 

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Elephant Brothers

Squealing Fun

Known as the place where man was born I approached a huge Baobab tree in Tarangire National Park. Lying just southeast of Lake Manyara this part of the Serengeti ecosystem includes the vast game reserve savannas of Mkungunero and Lolkisale.

I walked across a grassy field to get in better range to photograph what appeared to be an uprooted tree turned upside down and replanted with its roots sticking out of the ground.

No one was around. I finished a roll of film and knelt down to get into my camera bag. A few seconds later I stood to recompose the scene. A young Massai boy, perhaps 12, now appeared before me in front of the towering mythical tree.

Dressed in a traditional red suka with a wood staff taller than he was, he called out. “This is mine. You pay,” referring to the tree.

massai-boy

Massai boy warrior

He had to have come from the bush but the nearest shrubs were at least forty yards away. Or was he hiding on the other side of tree just waiting for someone to come along?

As I approached triggering several photos he again said, “You pay.”

We spoke a bit but I never could understand his name. His bright red suka was in stark contrast to the surrounding greenery.

With his permission I shot several more images. My camera now at my side we were face to face. He was grinning with yellow bits of maze coating his teeth holding out his hand for payment.

I gave him 10,000 shillings, about ten American dollars. He immediately reached for my arm and pulled off his beaded wristband clamping it on my wrist. “This is for you.”

It was a nice trade for me, a true souvenir of blue beads and wood tubes on a single strand of wire. It was better than anything I could have purchased in a store. I was proud to wear it.

“You go down there, Tembo.” He pointed toward the river just down the hillside.

Thanking him I turned and headed for the Land Cruiser putting my camera back into its case. Maybe twenty-five feet away I glanced back to say goodbye but he was gone. He disappeared back into the bush without a trace, like magic.

Back in the Land Cruiser we headed toward the Tarangire River. This Tanzanian National Park has a high density of wildlife during the dry season from August through October. But even now in May large herds of elephants seek out this grassland habitat.

Once driving along the river we viewed both elephants and giraffe seeking it refreshing cool waters. A few bull elephants grabbed at the waters with their sensitive trunks while others grazed on the tender grasses along the bank.

Elegant long necked giraffe stood and stared, each with their own brown and yellow patterns, unique like fingerprints. Curious, they made me feel like an interloper in this exotic land.

Further down the dirt road we flushed thousands of Yellow-bellied Bulbuls. The tiny birds surged like a great school of fish shifting on the oceans current. They flowed on the wind, chirping all the way, circling and settling exactly where they started from.

Driving deeper into the thickening forest a small herd of elephants emerged onto the red muddy road. I singled out a young pair to photograph. They were playing, pushing and shoving at each other, full of youth.

elephant-brothers

Elephant Brothers

I stood in the open topped Cruiser the motor drive of my camera whirring away. Squeals and grunts emanated from the pair as they wrestled, the larger one pinning the youngster in the red dirt. Their trunks intertwined and I was wide eyed and thrilled.

A bold trumpeting sound blared from across the road. I turned in time to see a large bull, ears flared, dust spraying from its trunk. He charged the Cruiser, stomping at the ground.

In barely a few seconds he was so close I couldn’t focus my lens. Dirt thrown at my face I felt the splatter. He made it known I was to leave the young ones alone. Just as fast he backed away and the threat was gone.

All the elephants retreated together into the bush with the adults forming a circle around the young. My driver and I hooped and hollered thrilled by what just happened. We too pulled away our adrenalin pumping.

My thoughts as we rounded the bend?  I just got this on film.

Did that Massai boy know this was going to happen? It was all magic as we continued down the safari road.

 

Related Posts:
https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/03/06/tree-climbing-lions
 

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/02/02/tracking-lions 

safari-roadhttps://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/02/02/

 

All photographs used in this entry are copyrighted by Wayne Scherr, 2009, All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in any manner is prohibited without the written permission of Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photos. Contact: wayne@rangeofvisionphotos.com

 

 

 

 

 

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