On the Savannah
The workshop on ivory economics at Ol Pejeta lasted for two days. While I plan to discuss it in more detail later, it was fairly intense. Fortunately an early evening safari was planned on the first night to give us all a break. This is what I'd dragged my "light safari" kit along for. One of the challenges with this trip was that on the last leg (the flight from Nairobi to Nanyuki) the total luggage limit was 15kg. I stuck to one camera (the a900), one long prime (300/4 G lens with 1.4x TC), one macro (100/2.8) and one wide angle (28/2.0). Even so, the camera, lens and teleconverter was close to 2.5kg.
Anyway, some time among the wildlife was what I hoped to get. It would have been a painful experience to fly all the way to Kenya with what was still a substantial camera and not get anything. It's happened before on trips to other places. On the other hand the regret I'd have felt if I had gone all the way to Kenya and not been able to get some nice photos because I left the camera behind also tugged at me. So, the safari experience, as short as it was, was most welcome.
I've selected some of the shots to show here. The pictures have been taken at the end of the raining season. This is why the grass is still green.
First, perhaps the most photogenic hoofed animal in the area- the zebras
Another unusual sight were the rhinos. The conservancy has a small population of both the northern and southern white rhino. These are rare in East Africa after decades of poaching. The larger of the two had been dehorned in the past, but the horn had been growing back since. The bigger problem photography-wise, was we were parked close to these animals. It was not always easy getting the animals in the frame with a fixed focal-length lens.
On the other hand, we stayed at a distance from the buffalo
Sadly neither the Oryx or antelope were very cooperative, so I only managed a couple of snapshots of them.
On the other hand the water bucks were more into posing
The lions were also determined to ignore us
The local birdlife was also impressive. We spotted many plovers, bustards and vultures. Photographing them was less straightforward.
I got a reasonably nice, if cropped, picture of a secretary bird atop a tree. I was concerned it would be so highlighted against the bright sky behind it I would get nothing.
The white-bellied bustards however, were more cooperative.
I think the range of shots captured here are a good sign of how well maintained the conservancy is. Overall I was pleased I gambled that the camera gear would be worth bringing.
Keywords: Kenya, Ol Pejeta, Oryx, conservation, photo, rhino, secretary bird, water buck, white-bellied bustard, wildlife, zebra
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