Stuart Ball’s Gallery – Kicheche Mara 2014
My background is entomology and nature conservation and I have been in to wildlife photography since my late teens – so an awful long time, but I have never been to Africa before. What attracted me to this trip was that it was based in one place, actually out in the bush, and was specifically aimed at photographers. So I anticipated like minded individuals who wouldn’t want to be rushing on to the next lion all the time. In the event, it surpassed all my expectations! There was so much to point a camera at – not just the charismatic mega fauna – although there was plenty of that – but things like Hyraxes, Mongoose, Oxpeckers, Kingfishers … and more and different Kingfishers. I think what made it such an exceptional trip was our guides/drivers. It is not only that they know the place intimately and therefore where to find stuff, but they were able to anticipate what animals were likely to do and put you in the right place AND at the same time, they appreciated the needs of the photographer, taking account the light and the background. The hospitality and standards of catering provided by the camp were also quite exceptional and made for a very pleasant stay.
I would heartily recommend this trip to any wildlife photographer. Would I go again – certainly! What would I do different another time – not too much. I took two camera bodies and my main lenses where a 17-85mm and a 300mm plus a 1.4x converter. I took about twice as many shots using the 300mm, but sometimes it was a bit much – we were just too close. So, if I was going again, I would take a lens in the 200mm range (maybe a 70-200mm zoom). But I probably wouldn’t take my 100mm macro. I barely used it. There were butterflies and occasional dragonflies about, but hardly any other insects (because this is the end of the dry season – although, this year, it had not been particularly dry). The only mosquito I saw the whole time was in the departure building at Wilson Airfield in Nairobi!
So thanks, Bob, for organising such a fantastic trip and I look forward to doing another one someday.
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