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Tsavo West, Amboseli, Meru & Samburu — January, 2015


Tom Kellie

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Peter Connan

 

 

Unbeknownst to the impala or to us, we weren't the only eyes fixed on their brief river visit.

 

 

Leaving us in suspense, I see?

 

Beautiful elephants; "When Rainfall Slackens" is an especially well-composed image.

 

And so is "Thirst loves company".

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Tom Kellie

 

Unbeknownst to the impala or to us, we weren't the only eyes fixed on their brief river visit.

 

 

Leaving us in suspense, I see?

 

Beautiful elephants; "When Rainfall Slackens" is an especially well-composed image.

 

~ @@Marks

 

A couple of hours later I'm taking the subway out to Beijing Capital International Airport for a flight to Shanghai. The business visit will begins today — Sunday in Beijing — and concludes on Tuesday evening.

Thank you so much for letting me know which image worked especially well for you — that's highly useful feedback.

Upon returning I'll resume posting to the trip report, which is rapidly nearing its conclusion, with one game drive to go.

As it happens, the sort of action featured in most other trip reports never happened...until the very end.

Hence those who've so patiently read along will find ample shots of interest are yet to come, from multiple species.

In this particular safari, from a drama point-of-view, the best indeed was last...

Tom K.

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Tom Kellie

There can be few better sights than a group of elephants - adults, youngsters, and young babies just learning to control their trunk. Lovely to look at.

I relly like the Oryx, and of course the gerenuk. They sky is amazing in the "mixed herd in shade shots" - the Doum palms with the sky behind make a beautiful scene.

 

~ @@TonyQ

 

Thank you so much for your supportive coments.

I'm glad to know that you liked the sky and Doum Palm shots.

Such positive feedback is directly useful because it lets me know what sort of future images to take.

I'll resume posting three days later.

Tom K.

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Tom Kellie

And so is "Thirst loves company".

 

~ @@Peter Connan

 

Thank you for telling me that you liked it.

Yesterday my confidence about posting photographs was shaken when I browsed through several past trip reports.

The stellar quality of their sightings, and the technically marvelous images they posted were a rebuke to my own efforts.

As each trip report — none recent but all by veteran Safaritalk members — featured exceptional images, sighting after sighting, it was unmistakably apparent that I'm taking amateur tourist snapshots.

That's absolutely OK for me, as that's my status and skill level, but for those who take time to visit and peruse the trip report, the lower quality images are a disappointment, by comparison.

Therefore it's valuable to know which images ‘hit the target’ so as to improve my own composition judgment.

Many Thanks!

Tom K.

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Peter Connan

@@Tom Kellie, to further answer your comments about your own photography expressed here and in the South African section:

Your photography is an excellent record of the things you have seen. Your writing compliments it beautifully, conveying your deep pleasure and interest and engendering the same in others.

 

If that is not what a real trip report is for, then I don't know.

 

My trip reports are far more selfish, being at least in part a showcase for my photography. And while I in no way consider myself to be competition to the best photographers here (people like Twaffle, Safaridude, Xelas (and Zvezda, his wife), Soukous, Morkel Erasmus and Bush Dog, among others), one thing that you may not have noticed is that their trip reports are relatively short. My best safari (in terms of photography and sightings) to date is probably this one: http://safaritalk.net/topic/12052-in-search-of-rain-kgalagadi-december-2013/ And while I certainly like to think there are a number of good photos in it, you will notice that it is actually (if you remove all the comments and discussion afterwards) only about 2 pages long.

 

You have managed to share probably around 35 pages of photos with us. And I doubt that's because you take more photos, rather it's because I have a lower percentage of photos that I think are acceptable for sharing.

 

And I suspect (and I am no way saying that I think you should)that if you combed out the really great photos in your report, you will probably find enough to fill more than two or three pages.

 

What I am saying is that it's not all down to the skill of the photographer. Even the best photographer, with the best equipment, needs some good lighting, some good sightings and a smidgin of luck to produce a great image. Even the best will not be producing excellent photos reliably and in the kind of volume you have presented here.

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Kitsafari

@@Tom Kellie i understand your cautious approach. each time I returned from a trip, I was eager to share what I had seen but when I caught up with other TRs that featured amazing and incredible photos and the care they took to compose the pictures, the sharpness and clarity of each detail, and their beautiful concise writing that just got the message through, I got discouraged about writing any TR.

 

In the end, I thought I would share with whoever might want to know about the place I had been, what I had seen there and if it would be worthwhile for them to think about going to the place.

 

so just looking at your numerous pictures have conveyed to me the beauty and "specialness" of Samburu for example (a place I had not been but would like to one day), and of Kenya in particular.

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@@Kitsafari

Great post.

Mrs!Q told me when I first thought of posting that the website is called "Safaritalk" not "Photographytalk"

The point is to talk about trips and illustrate them.

There is a "Photo-critique" thread for those interested but that is not the main purpose of the website.

 

Luckily, each contributer creates trip reports in their own way. It would be very boring if everyone went to the same place, took the same photographs and wrote about it in the same way.

Edited by TonyQ
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Tom Kellie

@@Tom Kellie, to further answer your comments about your own photography expressed here and in the South African section:

Your photography is an excellent record of the things you have seen. Your writing compliments it beautifully, conveying your deep pleasure and interest and engendering the same in others.

 

If that is not what a real trip report is for, then I don't know.

 

My trip reports are far more selfish, being at least in part a showcase for my photography. And while I in no way consider myself to be competition to the best photographers here (people like Twaffle, Safaridude, Xelas (and Zvezda, his wife), Soukous, Morkel Erasmus and Bush Dog, among others), one thing that you may not have noticed is that their trip reports are relatively short. My best safari (in terms of photography and sightings) to date is probably this one: http://safaritalk.net/topic/12052-in-search-of-rain-kgalagadi-december-2013/ And while I certainly like to think there are a number of good photos in it, you will notice that it is actually (if you remove all the comments and discussion afterwards) only about 2 pages long.

 

You have managed to share probably around 35 pages of photos with us. And I doubt that's because you take more photos, rather it's because I have a lower percentage of photos that I think are acceptable for sharing.

 

And I suspect (and I am no way saying that I think you should)that if you combed out the really great photos in your report, you will probably find enough to fill more than two or three pages.

 

What I am saying is that it's not all down to the skill of the photographer. Even the best photographer, with the best equipment, needs some good lighting, some good sightings and a smidgin of luck to produce a great image. Even the best will not be producing excellent photos reliably and in the kind of volume you have presented here.

 

~ @@Peter Connan

 

I'm so moved by what you've written.

I needed that.

Now I feel motivated to continue writing and posting photos to this trip report, which is 97% completed.

Very fortunately, the remaining photos are the most dramatic of the entire safari.

I'll certainly keep in mind the most helpful perspective that you've outlined above.

Greatly appreciated!

Tom K.

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Tom Kellie

@@Tom Kellie i understand your cautious approach. each time I returned from a trip, I was eager to share what I had seen but when I caught up with other TRs that featured amazing and incredible photos and the care they took to compose the pictures, the sharpness and clarity of each detail, and their beautiful concise writing that just got the message through, I got discouraged about writing any TR.

 

In the end, I thought I would share with whoever might want to know about the place I had been, what I had seen there and if it would be worthwhile for them to think about going to the place.

 

so just looking at your numerous pictures have conveyed to me the beauty and "specialness" of Samburu for example (a place I had not been but would like to one day), and of Kenya in particular.

 

~ @@Kitsafari

 

Thank you for explaining your own initial reaction to other Safaritalk trip reports. It helps me understand that I'm not the only one to have wondered what I was doing, posting and writing amongst such seriously talented individuals.

If my trip report has caused you to put Samburu into your ‘maybe someday’ list, then I'm most happy indeed.

Your current trip report is such a joy to read, and the photos heighten my expectations for my own upcoming South Africa safari.

It's so nice of you to explain your thoughts and feelings to me, as I find it reassuring.

Tom K.

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Tom Kellie

@@Kitsafari

Great post.

Mrs!Q told me when I first thought of posting that the website is called "Safaritalk" not "Photographytalk"

The point is to talk about trips and illustrate them.

There is a "Photo-critique" thread for those interested but that is not the main purpose of the website.

 

Luckily, each contributer creates trip reports in their own way. It would be very boring if everyone went to the same place, took the same photographs and wrote about it in the same way.

 

~ @@TonyQ

 

Please tell @@Thursday's Child that her comment is directly on-target.

What she said to you, and your comments above, are perceptive.

I'm grateful for these thoughts, which shake me out of the doldrums of feeling that my trip report's quality level is lagging.

Thank you so much for your most thoughtful insights above.

Tom K.

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Tom Kellie

Encountering Lions



Around a bend in the track...LIONS! Resting in the shade were lionesses. We stopped at a distance, as these images show, in order not to unduly


disturb their rest. As the 400mm lens was able to make fairly clear images from that distance, it was ideal. XU Ni was delighted to see them, so a


photo was made encompassing him and the dozing predators. What I suspected, and turned out to be the case, this was but the prelude


to a virtual symphony of lion sightings, as many more were spread throughout that immediate area.




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Lion Encounter



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A Slice of Samburu Served Up with Shaded Lions



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XU Ni with Lions





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Tom Kellie

Known the World Over



What terrestrial predator is more widely known than lions? There reputation spreads to lands where they've never lived. The very


name is enough to command attention and respect. Their size, sociability, hunting prowess, power and beauty are such that


they're feared yet popular. The truth is similar to the image, yet safari goers and those who live among lions know that they


have their indolent moments, when the urge to snooze overpowers any inclination to live up to their fearsome name.




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ライオン



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Leonum



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Löwen



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λιοντάρια



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Leones



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狮子



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Leeus



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львов



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शेर





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Tom Kellie

Pride



The small lion pride we were observing remained close together. Nevertheless their size was such that it was necessary to change lenses


in order to photograph them as a family group. The manual focus Zeiss Apo-Sonnar T* 135mm f/2 ZE telephoto lens accurately rendered


their coat color tones and the rosettes on their undersides. They became alert as a slender warthog trotted nearby, perhaps oblivious to


their presence. One of the pleasures of being strictly an amateur shutterbug is no compulsion towards


illusory perfection. These images thus reflect what we observed, as I recall it.




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Togetherness



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Comfortable



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Alert



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Poised



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Oblivious



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Repose



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Transition



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Huddled



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Affectionate



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Yawn



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Pride





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LOOOOOVE your set of lion photos, Tom! I've so enjoyed this trip report of yours, a wonderful way to wile away my lunch hour!

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Your multicultural lions are a treat. The first photo in post #787, with all the lions in various states of semi-alertness, has a special charm.

Your photos are always so sharp and well-composed. These are no exceptions.

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Tom Kellie

Ensemble



The lion ensemble relocated to a shaded spot overlooking where the Ewaso Nyiro River would flow, were water available from its sources


high about Mt. Kenya. As it was the lionesses contented themselves with a snooze beside the dry riverbed. One served as a sentinel,


her exemplary vigilance keeping her on her feet, scanning the landscape. She systematically looked ar all points of the compass,


her eyes straining for anything of potential interest. Is she a Diana, skilled in the arts of the hunt, or simply


the scout, blessed with excellent vision and unwearied patience?




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Sentinel



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Midst Grass Stalks



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Drowsy



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Surveillance



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A Half Dozen



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Concealed



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Ensemble





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Tom Kellie

LOOOOOVE your set of lion photos, Tom! I've so enjoyed this trip report of yours, a wonderful way to wile away my lunch hour!

 

~ @@amybatt

 

Thank you!

Very glad to enliven a lunch hour with the “lady lions of Samburu”.

Tom K.

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Tom Kellie

Your multicultural lions are a treat. The first photo in post #787, with all the lions in various states of semi-alertness, has a special charm.

Your photos are always so sharp and well-composed. These are no exceptions.

 

~ @@Marks

 

That's very nice of you to notice and mention it.

While considering these lion images, their universal appeal stood out.

Observing lions is surely one of the most rewarding safari pastimes.

Sharing photos of the same is intended to let others share in the pleasure.

Many thanks!

Tom K.

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Earthian

@@Tom Kellie

 

Reading your post, with the terrific pictures, is like reading a captivating novel. It takes you to the scene and one starts imagining that we are there in person!

By the way, please stop denigrating yourself as a photographer. As i have said before, your pictures are very ,very good.

I enjoyed learning what lions are called in different languages. Once a professor, always a professor! :)

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Tom Kellie

Wistful Lioness



We soon found that in midday's heat there were lions scattered around the low bluffs over where the Ewaso Nyiro would have been flowing,


had there been adequate water resources. They'd found shade beneath trees, often remaining alone, yet not far removed from other pride


members. This lioness was especially interesting, in that her demeanor was relaxed to the point of seeming almost detached from her


surroundings. Gazing off into the distance where two elephants walked in the dry riverbed,


she was the epitome of daydreaming, with a touch of wistfulness.




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At Rest with Wildflowers and Trees



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Fit for a King



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Not a Care in the World



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Wistful Lioness



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Quid cogitas?



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What She Was Watching



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From Crown to Tip





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@@Tom Kellie

 

The lion series and one word captions in posts 788, 791 and 795 are great! What an enjoyable series of photos to scroll through. I was really struck by the below picture -

as you get a nice view of the lioness's rosettes...I wonder how old she is and at what age the spots will completely fade away?

 

 

post-49296-0-28412900-1442414314.jpg

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Tom Kellie

Duchess of Samburu



Although it would seem that we'd observed all of Samburu's lionesses in their sundry shaded lounges, there remained one final female before


we headed back to the Samburu Sopa Lodge for lunch and an afternoon swim. Dubbed the ‘Duchess of Samburu’, she was older, larger and


seemingly more self-confident than her nearby sisters. Our position was such that close range images were possible. Her splendid yawns


displayed the formidable dentition of a capstone predator. She yawned, stretched, napped and ultimately looked in the far


distance with the intensity of an experienced hunter. I do love being with lions!




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The Big Yawn



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Delicate Pink



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Enduring Midday Sunlight



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Ever-Vigilant



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Best Left Undisturbed



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Never Too Clean



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Carnivore's Tools



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Duchess of Samburu



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After a Long Night



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Panting to Cool Off



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Pensive Pose





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Tom Kellie

@@Tom Kellie

 

Reading your post, with the terrific pictures, is like reading a captivating novel. It takes you to the scene and one starts imagining that we are there in person!

By the way, please stop denigrating yourself as a photographer. As i have said before, your pictures are very ,very good.

I enjoyed learning what lions are called in different languages. Once a professor, always a professor! :)

 

~ @@Earthian

 

It's heartening to know that you've enjoyed the trip report.

Thank you so much for taking time to let me know. Such a generous comment is welcome encouragement.

As English isn't the native tongue of all Safaritalk members, it was fun to post a number of words from around the globe for the most identifiable of safari predators.

Tom K.

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Tom Kellie

@@Tom Kellie

 

The lion series and one word captions in posts 788, 791 and 795 are great! What an enjoyable series of photos to scroll through. I was really struck by the below picture -

as you get a nice view of the lioness's rosettes...I wonder how old she is and at what age the spots will completely fade away?

 

 

post-49296-0-28412900-1442414314.jpg

 

~ @@PT123

 

You noticed the young lioness's striking rosettes — great! Lovely, aren't they?

I'm not a lion expert, as many other Safaritalk members are, thus I'm uncertain at what approximate age rosettes fade away.

She seemed to be among the younger lionesses due to smaller stature and a certain noticeable babyishness.

Her lovely coat pattern beguiled our camera lenses, as if she was wearing a floral print frock.

During four safaris in Samburu, I've noticed that Samburu's younger lions tend to have more pronounced rosettes than I've observed in Amboseli, Masai Mara and Tsavo West.

Until you wrote your comment, no one else had directly mentioned this to me, yet it was noteworthy.

I'm a wholehearted lion fan, thus enjoy any sighting, not wanting to move on.

Thank you so much for your very kind comment.

Although this trip report is at it's close, with the final afternoon game drive remaining to be written, these lions are not the final predators.

More to come...

Tom K.

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A lovely tribute to lions, Tom.

 

 

post-49296-0-94451800-1442755011.jpg

 

I like how you've captured the amusing curl of this lion's tongue.

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