The National Geographic site puts out “photo assignments” as kind of a challenge and a means to collect and turn photos into stories. I have never submitted any photos before but this morning’s topic was Nature in Black and White. I took a quick look back through some of my Tanzania photos of the large lion pride that we saw on our first evening there. I hadn’t done a version of any of the single cubs in B&W so I thought I’d process this one. I’ll let you be the judge of how it turned out.
Its not really a monument in the normal sense but Machu Picchu is definitely an incredible testament to the ancient Incan civilization. It is awe inspiring in its scope as well as its surroundings. It was definitely a privilege to be there. This is a photo from one of the upper slopes of the ruins showing the thatched hut that looks over the entire complex.
As soon as I saw this challenge subject I thought of this photo that I took a few years back. I’d say this Brown Bear was either at, or just past, the threshold as he jumps into the stream after a salmon breakfast……
Happy Monday! Thought I’d post one more treatment of a male lion portrait from Tanzania. This fella was overseeing the plains about 50 yards away from his “brother” who had an equally windblown look. There were also a couple of females with juveniles a few hundred yards away. I tried to make it another artsy portrait by processing it in a sepia tone and once again emphasizing the amazing eyes these animals possess. Hope you like it…..have a great week!
While I sometimes take “street photos” around home, I am much more likely to focus on the street life while away from home. Here are a few from various places we’ve been in the past few years…..
This first one is during a downpour in the little town of Rapallo, Italy – we shared this small tunnel for a few moments trying to keep out of the deluge…..
This next one is from Nice, France. She caught my eye as I thought she might be a little underage….. Her father came back to the table a little later and I felt better about her future!
I captured this image while we going down a highway outside of Delhi, India. The man’s pensive look caught my eye first but I also wanted to catch the colorful adornments of the trucks passing by…….
This young lady was just relaxing next to her bike on a sunny afternoon in Katmandu. I thought the scene captured the native dress, and a little of the local flavor with the hindu shrine next to her…..
This last colorful scene is from the floating islands of Lake Titicaca where the Uros people live. It was a still morning with tranquil people in a very beautiful place.
I was going through some of the Africa photos I hadn’t processed yet and found this one that I thought I’d do a little differently. I made it into sort of a dark black and white and then restored the natural color to the lions eye. This was one of the three male lions of the large pride that we spent some time with in the Northern Serengeti. He had just rolled over from part of his nap while the “women-folk” were out hunting. Happy Weds!
My moments of reflection are triggered by our immersion into nature. Those quiet times when we get to witness some of the real wonders of the world and reflect on how lucky we are to be able to be there. As the challenge says, these are important times to ponder how you fit into greater scheme of things by where you have been, what you have done, and where you are going. We had many such opportunities for reflection in Africa. I say “we” because we shared those moments with some wonderful friends and we all came away changed by our experiences there. I could have chosen any of hundreds of photos that convey that thought to me but I chose this one because of the grand panorama of morning on the Serengeti and the quiet presence and pensive stares of the two amazing animals sharing the moment with us.
I’ve already “let the cat” out of the proverbial “bag” in previous posts but we spent some incredible time with numerous Cheetahs while in Tanzania. As we were setting up our trip I had told our guide Ethan (http://www.ethan-kinsey.com) that we had not seen a cheetah in the wild on our previous african trips and hoped that we would find some on this trip. On our second day, there we were out in the prairie with all kinds of animals around when Ethan looked down in a valley to the left and said “hmmm…. there isn’t any animals down there – I wonder why….?” Off we went to see what was happening and we were rewarded with an introduction to a female cheetah and her young offspring. They were on a worn down termite mound and were harassing a large (about 5′ long) Monitor lizard who was protecting her eggs. After a while, they wandered away with us following them pretty closely. They finally found a tree to relax under and we shared the shade with them as they took their nap. As they started to stir, the daughter started exploring the nearby surroundings and gave us some good photo ops . This photo gives you a good look at the sleek body and also the claws – which are not retractable like other cats. The reason for that is that the Cheetahs use them as “spikes” (like on track shoes) to gain traction during their hunting sprints.
We eventually left them for a little while but returned to find them near a bushy area where they had found a gazelle. We sat nearby as they completely devoured the small animal. While it wasn’t really pleasant to watch, it was fascinating to share their mealtime in close quarters as they kept scanning the plains for potential danger – the Cheetah are not at all aggressive and would abandon their prey at the first sight of any other predator. Here’s a photo of Mom before she cleaned up from the meal.
We actually saw this same pair of cheetahs several times and spent some nice time with them – including our first “boarding” of our safari vehicle by the young one that I discussed in my post http://scottseyephotos.wordpress.com/2014/01/31/weekly-photo-challenge-object/.
I don’t think that I’ve mentioned that we had that same experience two more times during our trip. I’ve never posted a video before but our friend Mike took this one of a different female a few days later – I think it does a real nice job of showing you what that experience was like. First she jumped on the hood, then up on the roof (and yes the roof hatches were all open) with nothing between her and us. She finally jumped down as she was startled when her tail hit the radio antenna! I hope you enjoy….we sure did (and do – every time we look at the photos and videos). Also – suggest you show it full screen to get the maximum effect….
We took the 2 hour ride out to the El Centro Air Show last weekend to catch the first Blue Angel show this year – if you follow aviation, you probably know that most of their shows last year were cancelled due to the infamous budget sequestration that our congress thought was good governance (question – how would THEY know anything about governance). Sorry – just had to throw that in. It was a nice show with most of the performers (except the Blues) being civilian – the military is still cutting way back on their support for these shows. The worst thing about trying to take photos of the jets in a desert setting is that the background is almost always plain blue skies with no clouds or vapor trails from the planes. In any case here are a few of my photos from the show…..
This first one is the diamond formation coming out of a loop and diving towards the ground and the audience – a beautiful sight to see.
The second is one showing the diamond formation up close. They advertise that the distance between the wingtips and the canopies of the other planes is as close as 18 inches – this photo would seem to bear that out!
This last one is the two solo pilots doing a pass in front of the stands – one inverted and one “right side up” – both with their landing gear and arresting hooks deployed. Again, without clouds or anything in the background they appear to just be hanging there. It was fun seeing the “blues” in action again – hope you enjoy these highlights.
Whats that inside that tree? I am always amazed at a safari guide’s ability to spot the invisible behind the foliage or other camoflage. I took this photo specifically to show just how difficult that can be. This leopard at times completely disappeared into the leaves of the tree – seemingly inside his own private compartment.