I go back and forth when trying to decide to whether to bring something other than my iPhone to Africa. Took a free class offered at Samy’s Camera to help me get familiar with some of the menus. I’m still undecided.
The following is taken from Lion Dog African Safaris Weekly Newsletter, #18 / 2020.
Archaeology Shows How Ancient African Societies Managed Pandemics
Every so often, a pandemic emerges that dramatically alters human society.
The Black Death (1347 – 1351) was one. The Spanish flu of 1918 was another. Now there’s COVID-19.
Archaeologists have long studied diseases in past populations. To do so, they study settlement layout, burials, funerary remains, and human skeletons. The insights from these studies expose some of the strategies that societies adopted to deal with pandemics. These included burning settlements as a disinfectant and shifting settlements to new locations. Social distancing was practised by dispersing settlements.
Findings unearthed in southern Zimbabwe show that it was taboo to touch or interfere with remains of the dead, lest diseases be transmitted in this way. Social distancing and isolation formed a critical part of managing pandemics in ancient African societies. In what is Zimbabwe today, the Shona people in the 17th and 18th centuries isolated those suffering from infectious diseases – such as leprosy – in temporary residential structures. In some cases, corpses were burnt to avoid spreading the contagion.
There were multiple long-term implications of pandemics in these communities. Perhaps the most important was that people organised themselves in ways that made it easier to live with diseases, managing them and at the same time sticking to the basics such as good hygiene, sanitation and environmental control. Life did not stop because of pandemics: populations made decisions and choices to live with them.
Some of these lessons may be applied to COVID-19, guiding decisions and choices to buffer the vulnerable from the pandemic while allowing economic activity and other aspects of life to continue. As evidence from the past shows, social behaviour is the first line of defence against pandemics: it’s essential this be considered when planning for the latest post-pandemic future.
Linda and I are scheduled to take three morning and three evening safari rides in the area around Laikipia Wilderness Camp. In the last 18 months, special cameras have managed to photograph the elusive African black leopard in the area. Perviously believed to be completely absent in Kenya, a team of biologists have managed to shot rare footage of the sleek big cat after spending months watching and waiting.
About 11 percent of leopards globally are black. These beautiful leopards, with their sleek black coats, are more commonly found in tropical and humid Southeast Asia. Black panthers in Africa are extremely rare. We now know that melanism, the cause of the leopard’s dark coloring, can also be found in leopards who live in semiarid climates, like that of Laikipia.
Despite being called black leopards, they are usually very dark brown and have the same pattern of spots as other leopards.
The total extent to which the leopard population has declined is unknown. Three subspecies of the leopard are classified as “critically endangered,” and two others as “endangered.”
Years ago, colonial game hunters created a list of five of the toughest animals to hunt and kill on foot. Forever after, the list became known as The Big 5. It’s time to reorient our notions of The Big 5 and highlight the struggles that so many animals must endure to simply survive.
The New Big 5 is an international initiative to create a new list of five endangered wild animals from all over the world. The list will be The New Big 5 of Wildlife Photography.
The world’s wildlife is in crisis. The next ten years are critical. Moved by a sense of urgency and love for his subjects, Graeme Green, a British photographer, journalist and travel writer, created The New Big 5 project.
The project is a celebration of wildlife photography, and it pushes for recording with a camera instead of shooting with a gun.
More than a million species are currently at risk of extinction, from large mammals like elephants and polar bears, to the “unsung heroes” and little-known frogs, cats, birds, lizards and other species, each too valuable to lose.
The New Big 5 of wildlife photography might include koalas and orangutans, or tigers and grizzly bears, or sloths and pangolins or any other animal from any continent on earth whose future existence is in doubt.
With the support of Jane Goodall and 100 of the world’s top photographers, New Big 5 is asking everyone to vote. Before compiling the list, the creators want YOUR INPUT.
Use the link below to vote for your favorite five animals.
The following three images are representative of what I’ve been doing to prepare for our 2020 trip to Africa. If you’re not already aware of my great passion for photography, it will be apparent with the reading of this post.
This is an image of all my gear – everything I own except for the Nikon 500mm f/5.6 lens which is wait-listed. Supposedly it will come in June. It will be worth the wait, as it will allow me to get up-close-and-personal with the wildlife. It was my big lens purchase for my new mirrorless full frame Nikon Z6 camera. I took the Nikon with me to England last year where I got incredible shots. I added a Tamron 100-400 mm lens to bridge the gap with my older Nikon 5200. Yes, I am taking 2 camera bodies. The green Mindshift bag is a dedicated camera bag with all kinds of organizational nooks and crannies. That, along with my orange REI duffle, should hold all of my cameras, photographic equipment and clothing.
These are just a few of the photography and travel books in my self-imposed curriculum. They include a catalogue from the Shangri-La of Photography: B and H Photo in NYC. For me, B and H is every bit as much of a temptation as a fine ladies boutique. Their tech assistants can answer any question and give really great recommends. My slogan? Never travel without B and H!
This final picture, taken with my Nikon Z6, is probably over Newfoundland. I was on a flight to England that left Dulles around 6:30 PM. It was August and the sun was above the cloud cover so I had amazing views as the sun dipped below the horizon. One of my photography books actually has a chapter on taking photographs out of airplane windows! Carol, our Tour Agent Extraordinaire,* arranged a window seat for me, so my camera will be ready!
*Carol Flax Luxury Travel Advisor An independent affiliate of McCabe World Travel Virtuoso Member firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m not sure I’m going to take a camera to Africa, as Linda is such an expert and she’s armed herself with some nice lenses. I may use her pictures and those I take with my cel. But just in case I change my mind . . .
I have a little catch-all pouch in my daypack marked specifically for camera accessories, and I add to it from time-to-time.