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Archive for April, 2010

Some people think that Daylilies and in particular the Stargazer Daylily are the most perfect perennial flower. With this in mind when I came across a few stems in the store the other day I couldn’t pass them up.

Their intoxicating fragrance alone made it worth the $3.99 I spent on them. A heavenly scent first filled my car and then my kitchen with its sweet and heady perfume. They are one of my favorites as well reminding me of the tropics.

Stargazer Lily

Stargazer - 11x17 Giclee Prnt

Remnants of this season’s winter snow was still in my yard, the soil was softening from Spring’s warm sun but still frozen just a few inches below the surface so nothing was growing or ready to photograph in my garden yet. So I opted for store bought to have something to work with.

Its unique graceful form and showy decorative value make Stargazers easy to photograph which in turn makes it harder to find the right angle and lighting scheme to depict something a little more unusual in composition.  You have got to put a personal touch on these things or your photographs look just like everyone else’s.

A slight turn of the stem to elongate a shadow or a raise in the tripod makes a difference.

Stargazer lily

Stargazer - 12x12 Giclee Print

In the art of Feng Shui both colors, red and pink, denote an expression of love but while red is more passionate, pink indicates lighter feelings of romance being more soothing to the heart as a color.

Stargazers, like all lilies, are native to Asia and are related to lily-of-the-valley, daylily and hyacinth. They all have an unforgettable scent with more than one hundred different species of lily alone.

In one of the images shown here as viewed from the front of the bloom, the flower segments tend to be long and pointed and their shape looks like a three or six-pointed star, hence their name.  The second image is a little more abstracted, closer to the stamens and utilizes shadow to create depth within the image.

This week I have noticed that little green shoots are popping up in the soil all around town. Another week and tulips and daffodils will be on parade in front of photographer’s lenses everywhere.

Related Posts:

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2010/03/22/twenty-minute-challenge-%e2%80%93-photograph-an-orchid/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2010/02/21/use-red-accent-photographs-to-capture-attention/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2010/1/12/what-can-orange-do-for-you?/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/11/17/purple-an-element-of-fire/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/09/11/can-color-photgraphs-enhance-positive-feelings-of-well-being?/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/09/28/photography-and-feng-shui-for-interior-design/

Photographs used in this post are copyrighted by Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography, 2010, All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in any manner is prohibited without the written permission of Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography. My image catalog can be viewed at http://www.rangeofvisionphotos.com. You can contact me through this blog or through email at: wayne@rangeofvisionphotos.com

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In preparing for a photographic wildlife safari in Eastern Africa there are several things to consider when organizing and packing your gear. First it is very important that your clothing should be in neutral colors. Light brown and khaki are the most popular followed by dark green.

When viewing wildlife you do not want to attract an animal’s attention with your bright red or yellow shirts. Blending in is the way to go. You want to view and photograph animals in their natural environment doing their own thing, not paying attention to your movements.

Lion in wait

Out of the Bush

The same goes for waving your arms or calling out to wildlife to get them to look at you for a portrait. Respect for wildlife should be your number one goal before capturing an image.  You are not in a zoo environment and every animal needs all their strength and energies just to survive.

So you want to dress comfortably in non restrictive, lightweight clothing. You need protection from the sun during the day and from mosquitoes especially at night. Most safari guides request that you do not wear any type of military clothing.

Some in town restaurants do require more formal clothes however I found that casual was the mainstay wherever I went.  When I attended several business meetings in Arusha safari casual was still very acceptable. I guess they expected me to be coming in from the bush.

Khaki shorts and lightweight hiking boots or sneakers are popular everywhere.  Tee shirts and a long sleeved shirt are quite acceptable just watch the colors you take.  A light weight jacket or rain coat is necessary. Weather changes and evenings can get chilly especially at elevation.

Bull Elephant in Tarangeri National Park

Bull Elephant Tarangeri National Park

Many of the main safari lodges have swimming pools so a bathing suit is a good idea. For me I spent all my daylight hours being jostled around on dirt roads seeking and observing wildlife never making it poolside. It just depends on your preferences.

Socks, undies a belt and a sun hat make up the jest of required clothing. Packing light makes travel easier and with modern synthetic materials you can always wash your things out in your room at night.

Small bottles of sunscreen, shampoo, lotions and repellents will cut down on space and weight. A small flashlight, sunglasses, binoculars, batteries, shaving kit and eyeglass cleaners should find their way into your duffle.

Keep your medications and travel papers in your carryon bag along with your camera equipment and laptop if you take one.

Wildebeest on the Serengeti

Wildebeest on the Sarengeti

Luggage choice is another important item to consider. Most safari operators have restrictions on hard sided luggage. Keep you gear down to one duffle styled pack plus your personal carryon bag. Major international airlines and especially the smaller charter carriers have restrictions and it is important to check with them before you leave home.

Photography Equipment:

First remember that for most people on safari it is a once in a life time experience of seeing wild animals in their natural habitat along with unique cultures and exotic environments. You want to make sure you have enough film or compact flash cards. Both are hard to find and are very expensive on location. Extra batteries and a charger with the proper converter are also essential.

If you can afford it take two camera bodies and a minimum of a 300mm, 70mm to 210mm zoom and a wide angle complement of lenses. Changing lenses in a dusty environment or when an animal sets the action takes precious seconds. You always need to be ready for the unexpected.

Maasai men

Maasai Men in red sukas - Kisura

Tripods are next to impossible to use from a Land Rover so a bean bag is recommended for camera stability.  Hang onto all your gear you don’t want to get out of your vehicle with a pride of lions outside your door to pick up a filter or lens brush.

Clean and check your equipment each night. Dust gets into everything. I kept everything in plastic zip bags.  I noticed other photographers on the road had their entire camera bag in a trash bag because of the dust potential. They also help with protection from rain and condensation from air conditioned rooms.

If you decide to purchase new equipment before you go get it a few weeks beforehand and study the manuals and use the gear so that you are familiar with it and won’t fumble when an elephant rushes at your vehicle. A little practice will make a big difference.

So this covers the basics of safari preparation. Always inquire about other specifics from your safari operator when you book your adventure. Be adaptable and patient, two main travel essentials.

Related posts:

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2010/04/10/how -to-prepare-for-an-african-safari-part-2/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2010/04/03/how-to-prepare-for-an-african-safari/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/02/24/flamingos-baboons-and-a-bull-elephant/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/04/15/safari-notes-part-one/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/04/18/safari-notes-part-two/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/02/02/safari-road/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/02/02/horizon-of-stars/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2010/02/13/kopjes-rock-islands-for-lions/

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 

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/07/27/altered-images/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/05/24/zebras-and-wild-horses/

Photographs used in this post are copyrighted by Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography, 2010, All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in any manner is prohibited without the written permission of Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography. My image catalog can be viewed at http://www.rangeofvisionphotos.com. You can contact me through this blog or through email at: wayne@rangeofvisionphotos.com

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In my last post I wrote about how to find the proper safari guide and outfitter for your African adventure. Remember that is very important to find a properly sanctioned guide and get references from past clients before you make a reservation and commit to your travels. www.atta.travel – African Travel and Tourism Association.

With this post I want to give you an idea of what to do before you pack for your safari adventure.

Lions on safari

Range Rover with lions

Most people who have been on safari are eager to answer questions so when you seek out travelers it is good to have some questions in mind. The more specific inquiries you have regarding your particular trip the better.

The US dollar is the main travel currency in Africa. However, it is a good idea to know the exchange rates for the country you are headed to or passing through.

Some countries have an airport tax that is due before you can depart. Check with the airlines that you may be using to get specific information.

Always make copies of your passport and itinerary. Leave a set at home with someone you can contact if the need arises.  In addition always take a copy with you but keep them in a separate place just like you would some extra emergency cash.

Elephants in Manyara National Park, Tanzania

Crossing the road

Check with the US Embassy to see if there are any travel restrictions regarding the country or countries you plan to visit. The political world can change quickly in some places. www.usembassy.gov/ It is always a good idea to let the embassy know your travel plans for security.
http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/tips_1232.html

Contact your destination country about any Visas you may need several months in advance of your trip in case there are problems. See your personal physician and secure any reentry medical documents regarding smallpox and hepatitis shots and medicine prescriptions like Malaria well in advance. For further information contact the US Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.hhs.gov/ .

Travel insurance isn’t a must but Safari businesses have been known to shut their doors without warning or if they do not book enough clients they may cancel the trip just as you are ready to depart. You may have an unforeseen problem and have to cancel yourself. You should at least check into travel insurance and weigh the logistics. www.TravelGuard.com/Compare

Check to see if you own health insurance will cover you if there were to be an accident or you are injured on location. Be sure it will cover an air extract from remote locations. You may be a long way away from a major airport or real hospital.

Lion cub on kopje rock island

Lion cub, Serengeti National Park

Electricity in Africa is 220-240V AC50HZ. You can obtain adapter plugs from companies like Magellan’s catalog online, www.magellans.com. They also have reliable travel gear and clothing. Travel Smith is another company that has safari gear and clothing. www.travelsmith.com.

Now, for some information about clothing tips and safari gear, it is important to note that while on a wildlife safari do not make the mistake of wearing bright colored clothes.  Safari clothing should be in neutral colors like light brown, khaki and darker green. For wildlife viewing you want to blend in.

To enhance your travel safari experience get yourself a language dictionary and learn some of the local words for better communication and showing an interest in the country’s culture. I did pick up English – Swahili pocket book for useful phrases and it did bring more smiles from locals. Just making an effort can mean a lot. www.taboraonline.com

The next post part 3 will finish with information on clothing, personal and camera gear to consider before you go on your safari.

Related posts:

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2010/04/03/how-to-prepare-for-an-african-safari/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/02/24/flamingos-baboons-and-a-bull-elephant/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/04/15/safari-notes-part-one/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/04/18/safari-notes-part-two/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/02/02/safari-road/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/02/02/horizon-of-stars/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2010/02/13/kopjes-rock-islands-for-lions/

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 

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/07/27/altered-images/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/05/24/zebras-and-wild-horses/

Photographs used in this post are copyrighted by Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography, 2010, All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in any manner is prohibited without the written permission of Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography. My image catalog can be viewed at http://www.rangeofvisionphotos.com. You can contact me through this blog or through email at: wayne@rangeofvisionphotos.com

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Not long ago I had a chance of a lifetime opportunity to go on an African Photo Safari. My client arranged and paid for the trip as payback for developing a marketing plan and web design for his Safari business in Tanzania, east Africa. 

The thoughts of photographing wild animals in their habitat, ancient native cultures and diverse landscapes from savannah to volcanic craters couldn’t be more exciting for a nature photographer. Preparation for such an adventure is a must if you want to have your trip go smooth.

What follows are some suggestions that may help you along.

 First, if there is time before your trip begins get some books to read. Find as much information on your destination as you can so that you are familiar with what to expect.

 Since my destination was Tanzania, www.tanzaniatouristboard.com , I picked up Lonely Planet’s Tanzania, www.lonelyplanet.com, they offer a series of other travel books for Africa so check out their website for highlights and pre-planning information.

safari vehicle Manyara National Park Tanzania

Safari Vehicle Manyara, Tanzania

 Wildlife of East Africa, by Martin B. Withers and David Hosking is valuable for getting a background of animal behavior and identification. Published by Princeton Pocket Guides, www.pupress.princeton.edu

I also found that a book by Peter Matthiessen called The Tree Where Man Was Born was an intriguing story about traditional Africa and the melding of Western culture. www.penguin.com

Searching the internet is another way of doing valuable research about wildlife, National Parks and Heritage Sites that you may visit. www.tanzaniaparks.com , www.serengeti.org/, www.ngorongoro-crater-africa.org/ . There are many sanctioned Safari operators that also have excellent websites specifically for your destination.

Cheetah on the prowl

Cheetah on the Serengeti savannah

It must be stressed that finding an honest safari operator is very important. As in all things you must do some homework before committing to spend a lot of money and travel half way around the world.

Get recommendations for Safari operators and check out their credentials. If you are going to Tanzania or Kenya check out listings from KATO – Kenya Association of Tour Operators, www.katokenya.org TATO – Tanzania Association of Tour Operators, www.tatotz.org .

 Find out how many other people will be on your trip. The fewer people the better. Trying to photograph wildlife from a crammed vehicle takes the experience down more than a notch or two.

Equally important is to find out what their payment policies are and get a clear explanation of their cancellation and refund policies.

Elephants near Sopa Serengeti Lodge

Elephants near Sopa Serengeti Lodge

Once you have narrowed the potential field down ask for recommendations from their past clients. Then contact them and ask serious questions regarding their experience and professional treatment while on safari. Find out how environmentally conscious the tour operator is. A clean camp with minimal impact is essential. Are the guides and owner knowledgeable of the geography, customs and wildlife you intend to photograph?

 I have heard of one safari operator who took guests half way up Mt. Kilimanjaro then said he did not have enough money to pay his support staff and unless the clients paid more on the spot he and his guides would leave them there. Bad things can happen. Be sure to investigate. Getting bargain prices is not always the best way to go and you do not want hidden fees to pop up while on your trip.

 Before you pack your gear you need to know what your safari operator will provide. If you are going on a trekking/camping safari do they provide sleeping bags, all weather gear, mosquito nets, etc. Do they have baggage restrictions? Most do. All operators should provide a pre-packing list of what to bring. Use this as a guide.

Large suitcases will be a problem for transport even if you are not going on a trekking trip. It is imperative to pack light. Dealing with heavy bags on hot dusty days can be a real pain. Besides you will be amazed with how much you don’t really need.

 In my next post I will cover what to pack regarding personal gear and photographic equipment.

 Related posts:

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/02/24/flamingos-baboons-and-a-bull-elephant/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/04/15/safari-notes-part-one/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/04/18/safari-notes-part-two/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/02/02/safari-road/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/02/02/horizon-of-stars/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2010/02/13/kopjes-rock-islands-for-lions/

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 

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/07/27/altered-images/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/05/24/zebras-and-wild-horses/

Photographs used in this post are copyrighted by Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography, 2010, All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in any manner is prohibited without the written permission of Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography. My image catalog can be viewed at http://www.rangeofvisionphotos.com. You can contact me through this blog or through email at: wayne@rangeofvisionphotos.com

 

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