Into the Maasai Mara



Dreams DO come true!

Africa has been on my heart from early childhood, and as an adult I also have had a chance to visit the North – Marocco, and the West – Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mali and Guinée, and even lived in the South for a number of years – South Africa, but the Eastern part of this vast continent was still waiting for me to be explored… Until January, 2012!

I joined a team of photographers venturing out on a “Maasai Mara Within The Frame” trip once again led by David duChemin and Jeffrey Chapman – a journey of my dreams: Kenya!

To make thing even more special, my husband who was about to join his seismic exploration crew just outside Mombasa “accompanied” me on my long flight via Amsterdam to Nairobi, and all the way to the Margarita Guest House, where I was supposed to meet the rest of the team. He said “he delivered me into safe hands of my tour leaders”…

The adventure started early morning with a seven hour drive into the Mara conservancy – where we were given a real warm African welcome by the Sekenani Camp. We made such friends with the gentle spirited Maasai and Kikuyu staff, who took special care of all of us. This I learned in time of need: on the 3rd night and the following day I was completely wasted – something seriously not agreeing with my stomach – I had to stay in bed. Thank God it was all gone within a day, and I did not need any medical attention.

The camp was not fenced around, animals could get really close to our tents during the night, so we were silently escorted by fully armed Maasai warriors on the dark paths in the forest between our tents and the restaurant building. They told us that two days prior to our arrival they sighted a lion’s kill of a buffalo near the river, that is running through the camp. During our stay we “only” heard of an elephant and leopard being close-by one evening. But vervet monkeys kept us “entertained”: some team members were “monkey’d” almost on a daily basis – just an African way of marking time…

Although I am not a morning person, I was jumping out of my bed at 5:20 when the room service brought us our coffee to the tent as a “wake-up call”, and got ready fast to catch the breathtaking sunrise over the Mara.

While our drivers were really keen to help us  find the Big Five, I introduced two new categories of African Wildlife: the Small Five (from bugs to birds) and the Cute Five (from antelope to giraffe)…

After 4 unforgettable days and amazing starry nights spent at the campfire, we were heading towards our next location: Kichwa Tembo. Road conditions in the conservancy are “designed” to help you get fit enough for your photo session and to carry your gear – you sometimes have to hold on for dear life in the vans, and still end up with bruises – yet happy smiles!

We were lucky to spot all the big game and certainly took our time simply to enjoy the view in their undisturbed environment – it was thrilling to be “part of it all”.

In the lazy hours of the day we had image review sessions – ever so helpful to get you on track with what you want to achieve or have challenges with. I love these opportunities to learn from one another and to be inspired by your fellow photographers. I appreciate the honesty and the openness of these sessions to give you feedback on the impact your image has made and how successfully it accomplished it – tremendous learning experience for someone like me aspiring to grow in the art and skill of photography. I find that shooting wildlife is perhaps the best training field to work on your conscious process of creating an image – the creative use of light, the “purpose-driven” rather than the “correct” exposure”, just to mention a few I was busy learning… And let me tell you, I am not finished with the process!

The days spent in The Maasai Mara will change you. It will change the way you look at a footprint of an animal, the way you visualize a sunset, the way you celebrate life. And as one of us said: “I don’t think I’ll ever get this place out of my head.” – to which I replied: “And why should you? Africa once your own experience, will forever be part of your making and frankly, I believe, we are all the better for it! ”

And the dream continues… I am about to make a book with my best images from Kenya – and so can you: here’s a VIP offer of $20 off your first Blurb book that I am happy to pass on to you!
http://bit.ly/13hHIP7

Go and make your own dream come true!

 

 

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