Bicycle Built for Two
To continue the story this pair passed me going downhill on the same trip. I turned from the baboon and found this young lady smiling shyly at me as she continued her trip to the valley below. Down is definitely better than riding up. Many of the one speed bikers were plodding upward on foot because the hill was steep.
Baboon – Buddy, can you spare a dime?
On our bicycle tour we passed a baboon sitting on the side of the road. No one else seemed to think that this was a bit unusual. I don’t think there was anyone there to feed him. When I stopped to photograph, a couple guys pedaling uphill passed me. They stopped to give the baboon a piece of sugar cane for the benefit of my photographs. They smiled at me and went on their way.
The Masai typically carry sticks. It is a trademark as much as the colorful shawls. The sticks have been variously used in fighting, war, herding, and ceremonial purposes. Here on the beach they were interested in selling crafts to the passing tourists. They were friendly without being too forward.
Guarding the Field
This photo is of a large field of wheat just prior to harvesting. A lone Masai guarded the field. He had a hut up on the hill where he kept watch at night. Whether he was guarding against animal or man was not clear. And what were his thoughts were in this tranquil setting?
Ok, so we’re on a bike tour. I kid you not. It was part of the Africa experience. We eventually bike out to where we could see hippos in the far distance. I remind you again that the hippos are dangerous and we never really were allowed to approach closely. My family was ahead. I had been delayed photographing the trees full of storks. These three kids came up and posed for me. Then they raided my backpack and took all the candy. Fair trade.
We had passed these trees full of storks. All I could think of were babies. Actually the trees were covered with stork dropping. From a distance you would think that the trees were frosted white. Not all trees but some trees were chosen as roosts for thousands of birds. Their size was disproportionate to the size of the branches they perched upon. The sheer numbers were staggering. I guess there were no predators about.
These are small vessels. They are essentially long narrow wooden canoes with two outriggers and a sail. It is a typical vessel for this area. I saw one on the open ocean between the mainland and Zanzibar many miles from any landfall. Every morning the dhows would ply up and down parallel to the beach. It was a perfect photo op. The only problem is that they were most active at about 5:30AM.
I never did see what it was that these men netted. But they would patiently spread their net and eventually returned with some catch. The tides left many pools. And the shallow waters were warm. I guess not too many large fish were about. But there were enough small ones to make it a worthwhile endeavor to use the net.
We stayed overnight in a tented lodge. Which is to say that the tents were on wooden platforms. I was hesitant to photograph the Masai. They escorted us at night from our tented cabin armed with rifles because there was real danger walking back and forth. These same men also carried our bags back and forth. They were pretty serious looking fellows. I got up the courage to ask whether I could photograph them just before we departed. I was surprised that they all broke into big smiles. One man even opened his shawl to envelope my family. It was a spontaneous moment and the feeling of friendliness was mutual.
This thatched house was part of a resort. There is a bar and a dock well out over the water. The waters are not too deep as the tidal surge is quite large. Many parts of the beach are exposed for hundreds of yards during low tide. The guard was passing the time reading as there were no visitors at this time of day.
This was another phenomenal find in my opinion. These are soltary cats. I had seen one a few days before in the Ngorongora crater. It was the size of a dot in my image and the shy cat kept hidden among the grass. Here we drove up. This guy sat and posed. He didn’t run. He wasn’t protecting a kill. What luck!!
Chewy, maybe he was named Chewie. I never did find out. Our guide had seen this particular leopard often enough to have given him a name. The day before we had seen Chewy eating a fresh killed wildebeest. The carcass was stripped bare the next morning. Late in the afternoon we found Chewy once more in the shade of a rock. I felt so fortunate. I don’t think it’s too easy to see the big cats. We never did see another leopard during our trip.
Unlike the hippos, lions are actually lazy. So says the guide/driver who took us about the Serengeti in an open sided Toyota Land Cruiser. Toyota appears to be the vehicle of choice not the ubiquitous Land Rover that dots the NYC streets. There’s a rifle mounted to the rear bumper. A lot of good it will do if the lion is outside the vehicle and you’re inside.
Still we were told that the lions ignore the passengers and perceive them to be a part of the vehicle. This gave me a bit more confidence. You can see that we can get quite close, as the drive did not hesitate to get right up to where this big guy was lounging in the grass.
Later that afternoon we met up with another traveler who told me that a lion had tried to eat the bumper of the vehicle that morning. It made me wonder whether the lions were not too bright or whether I was the fool to have my legs so close to the outside of the open sided cruiser.
In my first and so far only trip to Africa, I was apprehensive. We would be there two weeks and were completely in the hands of a travel agent as to where to go to get the full experience. I’m the photographer in the family. My wife and daughter dabble but are not OCD. So here I would be in a photographer’s fantasy land of photo opportunities, planned by an unknown agent and accompanied by less enthusiastic photographers.
Let me preface that my family has become pretty good-natured by now. On this trip I shot more than 15,000 images. And then whittled the final 5 star images to 300. My apprehension came in the form of meeting unrealistic expectation. Would I see everything? Would I come away with the iconic images? And, with the anticipation and build up for this trip, how would I possibly be satisfied with the results.
It was akin to visiting the USA for two weeks. Could you see everything if you just hit New York, Washington, Chicago, Miami, and Los Angeles? What I can say in retrospect is that the experience was wonderful and unique. What I saw was different and yet the same. I saw zebras. But aside from the usual poses, I also saw unique behavior. We all had a fabulous time, one that I’m sure can’t be repeated … until the next time we visit Africa.
East Quoddy, Head Harbor Light
East Quoddy Lighthouse, Campobello Island, Canada. To get to the island you must leave Lubec, Maine and enter Canada. The lighthouse has a distinctive Canadian color pattern different from those in the USA. The light is all the same. But you’re still in a foreign country. It was neat to be in Canada for an hour. This is a follow up to my post of a few days ago in which I mistakenly mixed up the East and West lights. I saw too many lighthouses in one day.
St Louis Arch
I went to shoot the arch with the capitol building in the foreground. I got a reflection from the empty pool in the foreground as a bonus. The bright lights are a mixture of different temperature incandescent lights. I had no tripod. It was freezing cold. With everything working against me, I happily clicked away. This is a classic viewpoint for the St Louis arch.
Steam Engine Train
Old fashioned steam engine trains are not much in use except for tourist rides. We were in Essex, Connecticut a few years back. Our group signed on to take a steam engine ride. I don’t know why. We all agreed to take a step back in time and ride an old steam engine train. It was a very civilized way to go. But then again we were going about 10-15 mph. Colorful, scenic, and fun, but, it was going to take a long time to go from one place to another.
I’ve traveled through many hotels. Mostly I don’t pay attention. The lobbies are pretty standard. With advancing age and the thought of post concussion memory loss on my mind, I was momentarily stopped by déjà vu the other evening. I had been in this hotel lobby before but not in this town. I was in San Antonio on business. The lobby was a dead ringer for one that I had been in before, just not San Antonio. I have been in this city once before but not in this hotel. I have watched my share of science fiction movies. After a moment my memory was jogged. The fountain was the same. But the other hotel had turtles in the fountain. Sure that I was not demented, I realized that though I don’t remember the name, I must have stayed in another location of this hotel chain. I still have to say that it was disconcerting.
West Quoddy Light, Lubec, Maine
West Quoddy Lighthouse, Lubec, Maine. Ah, old age. I was incorrect in the original post and described this light as on Campobello Island. I have been there too. I guess I have been to too many lighthouses in one day and got them mixed up. Fran Corriveau pointed out my mistake. No doubt she is more familiar with the area than I am. Thanks and many apologies to the kind folks in Maine. The image remains the same, just the location is different.
Portland Head Light Summer
Yellow goldenrods are in the foreground and all around on the hill surrounding the site. My father used to suffer greatly from summer allergies. Fortunately I’m not affected too badly. The Ram Island Ledge lighthouse is in the background as a speck. I’ve never been able to figure out how to get both lighthouses effectively on the same frame. Since I lived in Maine for a couple years, I had an opportunity to visit this lighthouse many times in different seasons.
Portland Head Light Stormy
Portland Headlight, Maine. I will post a summer photo. So this is my autumn storm photo. It’s high tide and the weather is blustery. You can catch the umbrella action close by to the building. And, the light is just now coming around into view.
Portland Head Light Snow
Portland Headlight, winter. Well I guess it’s no secret with the snow. It’s not as popular in the dead of winter although the kids like sledding on the hill nearby within the park. The Ram Island light is a bit easier to see.
Somesville, Mount Dessert, Acadia, Maine. That about sums it up. There are a few photo spots around. You know, kind of like the old Kodak spots you would see around Disney World. In Maine there’s a buoy shack that I will post someday. And here in Somesville is this lovely bridge to nowhere. It has a wonderful half-moon reflection and is particularly picturesque in the summer with the flower boxes. Passing this bridge you know you have to stop. But it is a bit off the beaten path. It’s a signature tourist photo of Maine.
Bass Harbor Light
Bass Harbor lighthouse, Acadia, Maine. This is another classic shot. It’s one of the best views you can get from land. I have seen better shots with snow or sunset or better clouds. This image is mine. I was there.