“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” –Mark Jenkins

Thursday, 29 January 2015

fortnight to go!

Almost everything I need, and have ordered, has arrived.... the only thing I still don't have are spare CF cards for the new Nikon, but at £57 quid a go I will have to make do. My Pentax takes SD cards, so I have plenty of those of course.
My visa application is filled out and ready to go and trials with the new camera gear are going ok. I'm petrified I will miss many shots though, through not being familiar with the controls and able to adjust them quickly enough, but hey ho, my Pentax is coming with me so hopefully no major issue. The real issue at the moment is the 15kg luggage limit; my camera kit is now finalised, packed and weighed: it already takes two-thirds of that allowance, so I am going to end up having to ditch a number of things or pay a fortune if they decide to weigh it all at the airstrip. The frustrating thing for me is that I weigh a fairly average 64kgs - and if I was a traditionally built muscly bloke I would probably weigh a lot more - how is that fair? Might have to end up wearing every item of clothing and hanging a camera round my neck - time to endure a very sweaty 45 minutes on the plane methinks. My sister's preparation seems to also be going well, she is getting to grips with her camera (Pentax K10D) and we have been out together the last couple of weekends to go through a few of the basics. This weekend we hope to get a decent sunset to practice on, as the sunsets in Kenya are simply incredible (particularly as they always come with "sundowners" - a drink of your choice packed in the truck to enjoy the moment in style - can't wait, it's definitely the best part of every day out there).
Spot of the week 6 days ago in the area was of a gorgeous leopard chase.... so exciting

Monday, 19 January 2015

in an emergency

notes on comms from the Kicheche camp....

There is an unreliable and sporadic mobile signal from the Safaricom and Airtel networks at camp therefore all communications should be routed via our Nairobi office. In the event of an emergency you can try to contact the camp direct on +254736699952 or contact the Nairobi office on the duty mobiles +254736699952 and +254700699952. Kenya is GMT +3 hours and does not have summertime/daylight savings. Please note that in camp the use of mobiles is not permitted in public areas or on game drives.

Our camp for the first four nights

OMG - less than a month to go!

...and I've bought myself a new toy! a big boys toy this time :-)
Finally caved in. The trip to Brazil and the realisation that my beloved Pentax is actually holding me back now I decided to get some advice from my tutor and ended up spending my savings on a Nikon D4. Beside myself with excitement.
Just enough time to get some practise in before we head off on Valentine's day.
As for other preparation news, all seems to be going to plan. Collected my US dollars and Kenyan shillings today and have been in contact with the camp to ensure we have bean bags and transfer vehicles etc when we arrive.
I have a pile forming in the lounge of all the gear I need to take  but with only a 15kg limit, I'm pretty sure it won't all make it into the rucksack. Particularly as my new camera with a borrowed lens already weighs almost 3kgs and the rucksack itself weighs a few more... who needs clothes anyway eh!
We have decided to get VISAs on arrival as I need my passport for work between now and then and so am a little reluctant to send it away in case it does not return in time.
I re-read my blog from the last visit to the Mara back in 2011 and was surprised at some of the things I have completely forgotten - my memory is way worse than I thought. I guess the onset of middle age was bound to show some signs long before I want it to.
I am keeping an eye on the Kicheche camps facebook page for unfolding stories that we might be able to shoot when we get there, and it seems they have recently spotted Caracal in daylight which is one of the cats I have yet to see let alone capture on camera. This picture was taken by Victoria Young.