Save the Elephant’s Safari

Posted by Piper & filed under Blog.

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Nearly four years ago, when I was in Africa for several weeks, I had the pleasure of doing some conservation work in Kenya. One of our stops was in East Tsavo, where I accompanied the rangers on de-snaring missions, for several days under the hot African sun. One of my most memorable moments in Kenya, happened during this trip. While at Salt Lick in Tsavo national park, I joined the vet team from the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, to photograph them while darting an elephant and fixing it’s wounded leg.

Here is a blog post I wrote about the experience in October of 2010. Later that evening the elephants all came down to the water hole. In the stillness of the night you could hear their every movement. Soon they began interacting and trumpeting loudly for minutes at a time. It was magical and I have dreamed to return to this place ever since.

Tomorrow I will depart on a private “Save the Elephants” safari. I will be heading out to Tsavo to visit it as a photographer for the first time. Have you ever seen the movie, “The Ghost and the Darkness?” If not, I highly recommend watching it. It is the Hollywood version of the famous man eating lions in Tsavo, during the building of the Uganda-Mombasa Railway in 1896. Tsavo is filled with history. Tsavo East and Tsavo West combined forms one of the largest nationals parks in the world and covers a massive 4% of Kenya’s land area. Of coarse I am going to be tracking lions in this area, as their behavior tends to be different in Tsaveo, compared to other reserves; don’t worry, at the moment, they are not known as man-eaters.

While in Tsavo, I will be staying at a private house retreat and tented camp, maintained by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. I will see their continued work from the elephant Orphanage based in Nairobi. Once the babies are old enough they are transported to Tsavo, where they eventually released back into the wild! I will also get to revisit Salt Lick, where I captured the image at the top of this post. Please visit the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust to learn more about the amazing work they have been doing to “Save the Elephants”, for over 3o years.

This is all part of my 80 days in Africa. Make sure to follow the journey though my social media pages. Just click on the social media buttons in the top right side bar.

 

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Preparing for 80 days in Africa

Posted by Piper & filed under Blog.

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This year is going to be the year I call a pan blur, as it has been ridiculously busy; filled with unexpected travel,  adventure and change.  I recently completed two back-to-back trips to East Africa, Kenya and Ethiopia, added in some domestic travel and will head back to East Africa on Thursday, for 80 days.  In between the craziness of the preparation, I have moments that I just want to jump up and down with excitement.

The journey will start in Kenya with a private “save the elephants” safari, followed by the Great Migration safari, Amboseli, extension and Best of Kenya Safari. In September I will journey over the boarder to Tanzania for another private safari. Then I will make a quick stop back through Kenya to visit a friend in Samburu for a few days of R&R. Lastly, I will be off to Ethiopia for my Tribes of the Omo and Best of the Omo Photo tours, with an extension to Lalibela in-between.

The last of my repaired gear has arrived along with a few new items that were certainly necessary. No really, some of it was! I needed some lens cleaner, sensor cleaner and swabs. Two 1TG External drives did not make me feel comfortable for 80 days in Africa so I grabbed a few more and opps somehow the canon 100 mm macro 2.8 L lens got into the bag; now my favorite portrait lens!

Seriously though, I have spent most of my time helping to prepare everyone who will be traveling with me. One of the things I enjoy most about what I do is bring others to one of the greatest wildlife and cultural destinations in the world! I have also been working hard on some exciting changes that are currently being implemented into my business. These changes will allow more time for me to focus on sharing, blogging, teaching, and creating inspiring images. I will also be exploring more new destinations to create exciting photographic adventures such as the Turkana Festival and Wildlife Safari 2015.

In the side bar at the top right of this post are the social media buttons, Facebook, twitter and Google+, where you can follow the 80 days in Africa. I am hoping to add an Instagram button before leaving. Internet allowing, I am optimistic that I can try to post to one or all, for everyday of the 80 days in Africa. I hope you will follow the journey.

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Racing to the Omo

Posted by Piper & filed under Blog.

Kara Tribe, Bull-jumpers, ceremony, Omo Valley

Kara Tribe, Bull-jumpers

Last Wednesday night I returned from an unexpected trip to the Omo Valley…………

Last October, when my group arrived at the Kara village of Kocho, several of the guys who ran out to meet us were wearing small skins over their shoulder. They excitedly told me they were preparing to jump the bulls.

This is a really big deal for the Kara tribe. Unlike the Hamar tribe, who has bull-jumping ceremonies almost daily, during their season, the kara bull-jumping takes place only every couple of years. In the Hamar tribe, each clan has a separate ceremony and only one person jumps at a time. In the Kara tribe a group of boys from the whole tribe jump at one ceremony, held over about a two-week period.

Let me clarify a village and clan. A clan is like a your extended family; mother-in-law, father-in-law, brother-in-law, cousin, etc. A village is a group of clans (extended families) living together in one area. A tribe can have many villages within a general territory. The kara people are the smallest tribe in the Omo, but also my favorite tribe. They have only three villages. These three villages all come together at the main village of Dus, for the bull-jumping ceremony.  Generally boys from all three villages will jump the bulls making up a group of 20-30 jumpers. The groups are usually split in two and they have two ceremonies about a week apart.

Since the kara tribe first told me about their bull-jumping ceremony, on my very first trip to the Omo several years ago, I have dreamed to attend. I let them know that I would love to have permission to attend. Of coarse I probably reminded them of this every visit…LOL. So this past year when the boys let me know they were jumping, Lale Arada Bilale, one of my favorite warriors and elders, said he and his uncle would accompany me to Dus. They would represent me and ask permission from the council. My group was kind enough to allow me to go to this meeting in the morning while they were photographing in the village.

We met with about 60+ elders in a cabana type hut. This in itself was an amazing experience!! The meeting, or negotiations, took about 2 hours. There was no set date, but they would try to hold it in May, when I was able to attend. I was on stand by. I started receiving some emails from the Omo in April to let me know what was happening. I began pondering if I should attend because it was going to be an enormous expense and I was going to be headed to Northern Kenya at the begging of June. I share this with you because one thing that keeps people from having incredible experiences is they tell themselves they can’t afford it. A few supportive friends and past clients said, “you have to go!” And they were right.

When the email finally came on May 12th I had less than 30 hours notice to book a ticket and get on a plane. Thankfully, my new passport, with all my visas, arrived the next day, May 13th. I traveled 4 straight days, stopping one brief night for some sleep on day 3. I was the only one there, outside of the kara tribe, with exception to some members of the Hamar tribe and the Turkish men who works near by. I need some time to process, savor and reflect upon all I witnessed an experienced.  However, I will share that I feel I failed as a photographer, but perhaps succeeded as a human being. Failed is a strong word that I don’t use lightly, but it is relative, based on my knowledge and skill.

The people of the Omo have captured my heart, as they have with several of you that have traveled with me. I have become very close with several of the people in the Korocho village. This is a very special ceremony and life moment for all the bull-jumpers. Although I had permission to freely photograph, except in a few sacred area’s, I could not bring myself to be disrespectful by interrupting any part of the ceremony, to get the shot. I was too personally attached. It reminded me of Aaron Huey explaining how he lost all perspective as photojournalist during his experience with the Native American Indians on his long term project at Pine Ridge. You can see his talk at the Annenberg Space of Photography, here.

There were too many moments when I had to put the camera down, be in the moment, and experience every part of what was happening. I spent a lot of my time in huts with a clan, sitting with the women while they were singing, talking with the elders and being in awe of this extraordinary experience. I could have decided this was my big chance, as photographer, to capture thousands of images that not many others have ever had the chance to capture, although it was. I could have solely decided to use this as a huge opportunity to try to advance as a photographer, but the reality is, I just wanted to enjoy this extraordinary experience that would probably be once in a lifetime. I also wanted to tread lightly as guest.

There were many times I made simple technical mistakes, which is why I use a word as strong as failed, although the lighting was incredibly challenging; not to mention the 100F/38C heat and humidity.   If I were to remove all my emotions and evaluate this strictly from a professional standpoint, then I would have to determine that on several occasions, I did not shoot at the skill level I have achieved.  However, as a human, had I not put down the camera and embraced this incredible experience, I would have missed out on one of the greatest experience in my life. An E-ticket ride, on a one-way life ticket.

I guess you can say, I live as my tag line; more than a photograph, an experience. At the end of this journey, this will always be an experience that I will remember as one that took my breath away! It also did not go without meaning that the first stamp on my passport to Africa is dated May 24th, 2004 and the second bull-jumping of the ceremony was on May 24th, 2014; marking the first decade of my work in Africa.

I have begun editing through this incredible journey. I want to honor this tribe and their traditions by taking the proper time to share the stories behind the images, such as the one at the top of the post. However, I am catching a plane to Kenya on Thursday and will head up North for the Turkana festival; up to 12 different tribes will attend. I hope to start sharing these incredible moments, stories and traditions when I return to the states, in a few weeks.

P.S. I apologize for typing errors, misspellings, and wrong grammar. I read through it once and made some corrects, but I did not have time to send it to be properly edited, by a fresh set of eyes, before my departure.

 

Wisdom and Wine

Posted by Piper & filed under Blog, Marketing, Tips and information.

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At one time or another, you have probably visited the website of a highly successful photographer and thought that the work seemed rather mediocre compared to some of the jaw dropping imagery that is floating around out there these days. You may have even said, “My work is better that this.” Why are they so successful? The main answer is that being a successful professional photographer can have little to do with your photographic skills and everything to do with your business and marketing skills. You may not realize that the persons work you are looking at has a background in business, marketing, acting, radio, speaking, communications; all great skills for any successful business.

I am just a women who picked up a camera by accident and has fumbled her way through every hurdle to turn this passion and dream into a way of life. There is no road map or how to guide when it comes to building a successful photography business. The toughest part is managing the fire in our souls and monetizing the creativity. That is why I decided to put together a special, small afternoon event Wisdom and Wine on June 28th. This event is for anyone with a curiosity about wanting to become a working photographer, or those currently making the transition and perhaps struggling with it.

The group size is limited to 16 participants so we can have highly actionable discussion about making money with your photography. It will be an honest afternoon about pursuing a challenging dream with advice and ideas from someone living through all the challenges of making that dream a reality. We will have a short think tank session where anyone in the group can pitch an idea and the group can collaborate how to make it a success.

First comes the Wisdom followed by the Wine, with time to network and continue the inspiring conversations. You can view the details and topics here.

If you know some one who may want to join, use the share buttons at the bottom to tell them about it.

If you just want to improve your photography you may enjoy the recent article I wrote for DPS, Improve Your Backgrounds, Improve your Photography. 

If you you just want to win some free stuff, check out the Gura Gear bag I am giving away – Details

If you just want to be inspired, stick around as things are about to get interesting.

Gura Gear Bataflae Give Away!

Posted by Piper & filed under Blog.

I have teamed up with my friends at Gura Gear to bring you the opportunity of winning one of the amazing light weight Bataflae 18L Bag! I have been using Gura Gear bags almost from their launch. As a travel photographer, I can’t imagine using anything else, They are sleek, lightweight and well designed by a team of travel photographers!

We are launching this in conjunction with my speaking engagement at the OCPhoto Summit, where I will also be giving away a couple of their great Et Cetera Cases!! I will also have three of the bags on site for you to take a look at, so join us - info

GOOD LUCK!!!

*sorry, contest open only to US residence.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Keep it Simple

Posted by Piper & filed under Blog, inspiration, Tips and information, travel.

Dassanach tribe in the Omo Valey, Ethiopia

Gear, gear, and more gear, does not create compelling images. Your passion for what you are photographing is what will create those “WOW” images; the ones that pop off a page from a stream of thousands. With access to so much content these days, it is easy to view hundreds of photographers work. You discover a body of work that inspires you and your thoughts instantly race to “How can I create those types of images?” It’s great to be inspired, but I caution you about that urge to go out and buy all the gear  which the photographer used to create those images, thinking that is the way to capture stunning photographs.

Hamar tribe, Omo Valley, Ethiopia

Technically, you can create the perfect lighting, but if you don’t capture emotion, you have nothing more than an empty snap shot

 

BE REALISTIC

You have to take a realistic inventory of what the photographer puts into the photograph before clicking the shutter.  How much research did they put into the location, finding the right guide, the time of year they chose to go and why?  (I covered some of these topics in my e-book, “Dream, Plan, Go”). What was their budget? How much time were they able to spend on the project? Did they have assistants? How much experience did they have working with the gear they were using?  It’s so easy to overlook these questions and go for the quick fix telling yourself, “I can create these images if I just had some lighting, off-camera flash gear, or the new ….(name a camera body).”

One of the most important questions, is, “What was their emotional connection to the subjects and project?”  When you visited the photographer’s site or project site, did you get the sense that the photographer was emotionally invested with the subjects? Had they spent a lot of time writing about the subjects, or their experiences with them?  Was the body of work part of a long-term personal project?

 

HAVING PASSION AND VISION

Today it is difficult to find a place that has not been photographed, yet I constantly find a photographer who has photographed a very popular place or subject and their work stands out and draws you in. Usually what I discover next is their deep sense of passion they have for the place or subject. It is when you have a deep honest connection to your subject that you capture emotionally compelling photographs. Having the right tools to create your vision is important, but without an honest emotional connection you may find your technically perfect photograph to be empty.

Don’t take photographs to be the best photographer; take them because you’re driven to capture what you find fascinating and extraordinary.  Don’t listen to the “nay sayers”,  that it has been “done” or  “that it is over-photographed”.  This has been proven wrong, many times over.

 

BELIEVE IN YOUR ABILITIES

Most of us only have a short amount of time in a remote location, so you want to maximize what you can accomplish. My advice is to shoot at  your skill level. Take time to experience what you are photographing. Get involved with your subjects. Participate in their lives, traditions, and culture. Embrace the experience that you are having, which most people will only get to experience through the pages of a magazine, or a stream on social media.  Spend your time capturing the amazing moments, people, and places that you are experiencing.

Keep it simple, by using the gear with which you are most familiar with. Don’t bring a lot of new gear, with high expectations of coming home with the best images that anyone has ever seen.  Don’t use precious time to learn lighting and off-camera flash during the only time you maybe visiting a special village, especially if you have never tried it before. If your vision is to use off camera flash in a remote location, spend the time to learn this skill before boarding the plane. Once you arrive, embrace the experience of what excited you about the place to begin with. Let the photographs come naturally, by using your abilities to capture the creative ideas that stirred when immersing yourself into a new and exciting environment.

Below are images captured using natural light.  In an exotic place like the Omo Valley, you can capture incredible images with an iPhone and have an experience of a life time. It would be awful to miss these shots because you are fumbling around trying to learn new gear or a new technique.

Kara Tribe, Omo Valley, Ethiopia

 

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Kara Tribe, Omo Valley, Ethiopia

 

This last photograph was taken with the iPhone, in bad light. My pro bodies would not have captured this as well as the iPhone.  CLick here to read a  past article I wrote bout using my iPhone in the Omo Valley.

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Save the Dates

Posted by Piper & filed under Blog, inspiration, Tips and information.

There are several exciting photography events, throughout the Los Angles and Orange county area’s in Southern California, happening in the next few months.   Many of these events are free or at a very low cost.  This is a great way to connect with like minded passionate photographers and get inspired. I  am excited to be apart of  these events and hope to see you there!

April 14, 2014

I will be giving a presentation at the Sierra Club Camera Committee. This is a very active group of photographers in the Los Angeles area.  I have had the opportunity to hear some amazing speakers at their meeting over the years, including Nick Brant, who rarely makes public appearances. I will have give aways from Gura Gear and Outdoor Photographer. Hope to see you there. Details 

Sierra Club

April 26, 2014

On the Brink exhibit at the G2 Gallery

I am thrilled my rhino image will be on display with images from many very talented photographers;  Art Wolfe, Joel Satore, Thomas D Mangelsen, Michele Westmorland,  Ian Shive, Rebecca R Jackrel, Will Burrard-Lucas and many more at the G2 Gallery. The G2 Gallery is an award-winning nature and wildlife photography gallery that facilitates change by brining attention to environmental issues through the persuasive power of photographic art. The opening of the exhibit will be an exciting event. You must RSVP. DETAILS

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 May 3, 2014

OC Photo Summit

I am extremely excited to be one of the featured speakers, along with Jennifer Wu (Canon explores of Light) , Jasmine Star and Kristi Sutton Elias. This one day event is held at the refinery, an incredible space for an event, on the Lake Forest Campus of Saddleback Church. There will be hands on workshops, exhibitors with their latest and greatest, and canon will be there will a load of gear. Best of all, this one day event, is free. Be sure to register now. DETAILS 

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June 28, 2014

Wisdom and Wine

This is a private afternoon workshop, held in Huntington Beach,  limited to 16 people. I put together this informative workshop to  help  mentor photographers wanting to create a  successful  photography businesses. There are numerous workshops offered to improve your shooting and post processing skills, but there seems to be a lack of workshops that focus on the marking and business side of photography. During this informative workshop I will share my own experiences in making the transition from a successful career to full time photographer including; creating income diversification, finding a focus in your photography and why it is important, building a team as a solo photographer, collaboration, cross-marketing, the importance of social media, strategies in having your work reviewed beyond the obvious,  how to get through the hurdles, important facts in setting up your business properly, and much more. This will be followed by a private wine tasting where we can relax, network, and passionately  discuss  photography.  This workshop is 1/2 full. DETAILS

 

Passport Woodinville 2012

 

 

Feb 19-22, 2015

Nature Photography Summit

The Nature photography summit presented by NANPA is every two years. In February of 2015 it will be held in San Diego, California. Many of us have this inked on our calendars and are already looking forward to this event. If you are a nature or wildlife photographer this is an event not to miss. NANPA brings together the best and most passionate nature and wildlife photographers from around the world with top notch speakers, breakout sessions,  workshops, exhibitors,  and portfolio reviews. The networking at the event is like no other. There are several social events held during the summit and you will find all the photographers very approachable.  Details for this event are not available yet, but you can view the past summits on the website. 

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See you there!!

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Inspired by the experience; my first multi-media piece

Posted by Piper & filed under Blog, inspiration, travel.

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Four plus years ago I walked into my first lecture about shooting video with a DSL camera. I listen to the words that all photographers are going to need to shoot video and the wall of resistance instantly went up. UGH!! I had not even grasped the DSL Camera and shooting stills yet; I did not want to shoot video, I loved photography. Well a few years back, when I upgraded one of my bodies to one that had video capabilities, I started shooting a few clips. Why, because I could and because I was told I should be doing it. I mean, if there were not these constant conversations being had that photographers are going to need to be able to shoot video to survive, I probably would not have jumped in on my own accord. There were already video/film makers that loved doing it.  I think the main reason I resisted was the time I would need to learn the editing process.

At first, I started filming when the conditions were not good for stills; why not try it out.  Not a terrible idea, as you are able to film a lot of situations in which you could not produce great stills. The problem was when I saw some of the footage, I then wanted great footage, but I was not willing to sacrifice my still images to get that footage. I would return from a trip and just drop the footage in a hard drive not sure what to really do with it. Sound familiar?  From time to time I would drop it in iMovie and mess with it, but again, I didn’t really know what to do with it. I put some to music and put in some still images, but nothing that inspired me to really get on board.

Then last year, I need to create a promotional video for one of my projects. I met with the really talented staff at Tandem and stills, which I highly recommended for video projects!! A long story short, they told me to drop of mediocre and they would deliver amazing. They did just that. Sorry, I am not able to show you the video yet, but that greatly inspired me to want to shoot more video. It also helped that I hooked up with an amazing guide and filmmaker in Namibia who took me under his wing and taught me tons in the 10 days we were together.

This past year 2013, when I was in Ethiopia for about 2 months, I spent a lot of time shooting video instead of stills. I even managed a few interviews. I had a small vision of what I wanted to create, but I was still shooting a lot of footage just to shoot it. When I arrived in Lalibela (Northern Ethiopia), we were invited to a special ceremony at the underground churches; the celebration of St Mary. It was like stepping back a thousand years as hundreds of priest were chanting, singing, dancing and performing ancient rituals. The chanting was surreal and I immediately thought video.  The ceremony was from 9 pm until sunrise, so the lighting was a huge challenge for video and stills, but I shot it to the best of my abilities. It was such an incredible experience our guide pulled us away around 2:00 AM, for a few hours of sleep, before returning at daybreak.

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I just now found the time to watch the footage I shot in Lalibela. It inspired me so much I immediately decided I must create/edit my first true multi-media piece. I found a great source on the web, for videos on how to use iMovie, from MacMost. I went to work. Eight hours later I had something I was excited about. There were times that my frame rate was too slow or fast, but I am learning. I would need to work in Final cut pro to be able to lift some of the shadows in good quality and some of the transition could be a little be a little smother, but he exciting part is that I am now embracing this new powerful tool in story telling. Now that I have made this first piece, I cannot wait to return, attend the Christmas Ceremony in Lalibla, January 7th, 2015, and see the difference in how I shoot it and the piece I will create. Just going through this first editing process has taught me a lot!!

I have learned that I will probably always be a little late to the party, but I need to flow into things in their own time. I still love photography, but it is the story telling that I am passionate about. This is just another awesome tool. This May marks a decade of my photography journey and I can’t wait to see what the next decade brings in exploring this new medium.

It is not easy to put yourself out there, but I wanted to share this first project with you to encourage you to take a risk. Try new things. Go to new places. Put yourself out there. Don’t worry what others think. Know this going in; if you put yourself out there, it is 100% guaranteed that you will be rejected. In today’s anonymous Internet world, it is 100% guaranteed, you will draw out the haters and critics, but these are usually the individuals who are too afraid to get into the arena. We get one life, so I say take courage over comfort and jump in!!! It is one exciting ride.

 

It Takes Time

Posted by Piper & filed under Blog.

 

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Living in the era of right now, the concept of “it takes time”, eludes most of us these days.  Truly grasping this and accepting it, will allow you to have less pressure, live better and make wiser choices. It is also why so many people give up too soon, and those who simply keep going, no matter what the hurdles, eventually accomplish what they are striving for.  Although, I may have to contradict myself a little, because the ignorance of not believing this transition would take more than a year or two (LOL!!), allowed me to dive in with naivety and become completely consumed before the reality of how hard it would be and how long it would take.  It is at the reality stage where most people jump off.

Seth Godwin wrote a great book called, “The Dip”, that talks about this. It is a short book of about 40 pages and well worth the read. I read it early enough that I carried a lot of this philology with me during this “decade” long journey and I will be discussing this more at the Wisdom and Wine event. It has been fun speaking at several different photography clubs and events these past few months. In one of the presentations I show my first image I took of lions, not exactly a keeper, but a moment that transformed my life in ways I could never images. I also show one of my first tribal images that I actually thought was a keeper, but it is one of those snap shots of an extraordinary subject and NOT an extraordinary photograph. It is always fun to see then and now, which is proof that it takes time, and it gets better with time. Below I have posted those first images along with some of the highlights of last year.  Photography has taught me a lot about patience and to enjoy the incredible journey, as it is the ride that makes life interesting.

I am now at an exciting place in the journey where I can start to devote more of my time to projects that I really care about. During this long stretch in the US I have been working on some projects for 2015 that will raise funds to bring direct results into remote villages and conservations areas. I will be rolling out some of these projects in the next few months, before departing to Kenya in June.

This Sunday, March 30th, I will be walking for water to help raise enough money for The Samburu Project to build more water wells in the remote regions of Kenya. The Sambura project was started in 2005 by a young women who went to Africa, fell in love with it, and came back to make a difference. The organization has built 63 wells since then; also bringing in medical supplies and education.  Building wells does so much  more than just bringing in fresh water. It helps to eliminate the problem of water born diseases from dirty waterholes, rivers and streams. It also allows women to focus on prosperous work and young girls to go to school rather than spending a great deal of their time fetching water that most of would never even consider drinking.  I would be honored if you help me to reach my stretch goal during this final day by giving up a glass of wine, or dinner out to donate to this great cause. We will meet the stretch goal if just 16 more people donate $10.00!!! Here are the details

My first photograph and sighting of lions taken in Tanzania in June 2004

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Some of the lion images from last years safaris

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My first image of tribal photograph taken  in Tanzania in June 2004

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Some of the portraits taken in Nambia, Kenya, and in the Omo Valley Last year

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Coming Full Circle

Posted by Piper & filed under Blog, travel.

My work has not always been focused in Africa.

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This journey started, a decade earlier, by simply booking a trip to Africa with the Sierra Club.  A place I had longed to go since I was a child. One of the items on the list of what to bring was a 300mm lens. I had no idea what that was or what camera I would need, as I had never even held a real camera before, other than a cheap point and shoot; does that even count? My local camera store got me sorted and I flew off with my first professional SLR camera, a 75-300 image stabilized lens, and  CD burner…. remember how we first downloaded files from our CF cards…LOL.

Arriving in Africa was magic! I feel in love with everything about it, from the minute my feet touched its rich red soil. I discovered a passion for photography that was stronger than any I had know previously. Although I returned to Africa twice more in the 6 months that followed that first trip, and every year since, I decided I should explore this passion in more areas than just wildlife and Africa. I decided to go to India with a very successful travel photographer. The itinerary included a few days in Ranthambore to photograph the tigers so this seemed perfect for me. India was a 24/7 party of color, music, entertainment, and eye candy. The people were warm, friendly and fun to photograph. I had a blast and have long to return.

Beautiful young woman in Rajastan India

 It has been on the list for years, but things just did not line up quite right until this past year.  I am very excited to be teaming up with Deborah Sandidge for the Colors of India Tour in January/Febuary of 2015. Deborah brings many different talents and skills in travel photography, such as her long exposers, cityscapes at twilight, and infrared knowledge that will compliment my travel and cultural photography skills. She shoots with Nikon and most of you know I am still shooting with Canon. We are excited to be so versatile in our skills to be able to help everyone create stunning imagery. I have wanted to team up with another photographer for several years, but it takes time for it all to come together. We passionately worked hard to create an itinerary that includes two festivals and added a one night camel safari in the Thar desert.

Deborah Sandige Cityscapes at twilight

Italy twilight

 

London

Learn more about Deborah and view her images here 

Rajasthan, India is a place of energy, color, music, celebrations and surprises around every corner. Tractors come down the street decorated like they were going to be a float in a parade with music blaring from a boom box. Women are wondering the streets in bright saris and in the desert region the men are wearing bright multi-color turbans.  You could be out photographing the town and a wedding party suddenly starts marching down the street; men holding chandeliers, a stereo blasting music, the groom siting on top of a vibrantly decorated horse and a sea of women all dressed in their most beautiful traditional clothing. India is also a country that has extreme poverty, but is part of their society mixed in with all the beauty, unlike the way we try to tuck it away from the main stream. It would be extremely difficult to experience the Rajasthan area, without also experiencing it’s poverty. As a photographer, I want to experience a country and culture raw and as it is, even thought it can pull at my heart.

 

inida-photo-tour-night

 

My work will continue to be focused on the African continent, but it is important to mix it up and keep the creative juices flowing by stepping out of your norm, seeing differently, and increasing your skills to capture compelling images.  I was only into my first few years of photography when I visited India. It will be interesting to see how I view it through the lens seven years later. It also signifies coming full circle as I will now be leading a trip that I loved as a participant.  On a side note, I want to share that a few of the participants from the India trip have now been with me to Africa. I have made wonderful and long friendship with many of the people I have traveled with over the past decade. Just another wonderful way that photography has enriched my life.

Men walking their camels along the ridge of the sand dunes in Jalsalmer, India

We have a great group of people already signed up, but there are still a few spaces open if you would like to join us.

 More than a photograph; an Experience.

 COLORS OF INDIA – DETAILS

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