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Archive for the ‘Tarangeri National Park’ Category

Out of curiosity and in an effort to continue forward movement regarding my creative efforts  I have been doing a little research and decided to learn some new technology regarding HDR photography.

HDR or High Dynamic Range photography is a post processing activity that combines a number of images with different contrast ratios that are unfeasible to complete with just one exposure. Usually you take three photos of the same scene at different shutter speeds and then combine them into one image. I have also tried this simply by bracketing, adjusting the exposure settings to plus one stop your normal exposure and minus one stop.

So you get three images, one overexposed, one for midtones and then one underexposed.  These are combined with software, I used Photoshop CS3. This process gives you details in both highlights and shadows that are joined with the medium or normal exposure giving you results that seem to be more accurate to what your eyes actually perceived at the scene.

What I found in working out the process is that it can work great for some images and not so much for others. My first attempts looked fake and artificial. The colors were exaggerated to the point that the scenic landscape I was working on looked gaudy.

However, when the HDR process really worked the image was much more suggestive of what I actually saw when I tripped the shutter on location. Shadow details were crisp and clear and the highlight information was bright and smooth. The final print represented what was much closer to actually being there and what I saw.

I have included a couple of examples of what I found in this post for your review.

Blackeyed Susans

Normal range image - Blackeyed Susans

HDR Blackeyed Susans

High Dynamic Range image - Blackeyed Susans

There are many HDR software applications out there along with numerous books and
Elephant Brothers

Normal range image - Elephant Brothers

tutorials on how to apply the process. Like most things this is just another tool that you can

HDR photograph - Elephant Brothers

High Dynamic Range image - Elephant Brothers

apply to your visual interpretations. It is always good to learn and experiment.  See what works for your style of photography.

I like the distinguishing details HDR portrays and as long as the colors are not overstated I’ll continue to have this method in my arsenal and use it to interpret different scenes and express my creativity. I encourage you to take a look at the HDR practice. It is definitely worth the time and effort.

All photographs used in this entry are copyrighted by Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography, 2011, All Rights Reserved. Reproduction of any kind is prohibited. If you wish reproduction rights please contact: wayne@rangeofvisionphotos.com

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Horizon of Stars, a Photographic Safari Journal

New Book by Wayne Scherr 

Horizon of Stars is a photographic journal with text depicting a wildlife safari to Eastern Africa and the country of Tanzania. The adventurous journey covers Serengeti, Tarangeri, Manyara, Arusha and Ngorongoro National Parks. Wildlife encounters and photographic illustrations include tree climbing lions, charging elephants and screaming baboons.

Photojournalist and Fine Art Photographer Wayne Scherr documented this savanna sojourn while preparing a marketing plan for a safari outfitter that operated out of Arusha, Tanzania.

80 pages (106 color photographs)

Standard Landscape 10×8 inches (25×20 cm) with soft cover ($39.95)

To preview and purchase your copy: Horizon of Stars http://www.blurb.com/books/1924512

 
 
 

Lion in Ngorongoro crater, Tanzania

Lion in Ngorongoro crater, Tanzania

 

Web site: http://www.rangeofvisionphotos.com

Blog: www.myphotovisions.wordpress.com

Contact: 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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 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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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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