Well, you can say, “It has been one of those weeks.” Those wonderful, “African Rains”, of which everyone dreams and Toto sings, have made a huge mud pit of the Mara, and it is the dry season!! At one point in my life, I thought it would be amazing to tough out the mess during the raining season, with big cats in a downpour and dramatic skies, but after this past week, I am rethinking that one. It had been raining for days when I first arrived at Little Mara Bush Camp. That was ok, as I had just finished 3 weeks in Ethiopia and could do with some down time, using the Internet to catch up on tons of emails. My mobile office there has a great view along the river, with Hippos to keep me entertained.
After a hot day, which dried the roads a bit, I would venture out for an afternoon drive in the Landy. That, in itself, driving through the African plains, is incredible! I just started using infrared photography, so I was only looking for elephants or giraffes along the mass savannas with dramatic skies. Sometimes, I can wander out from camp and find them the minute I pop out of the bush, so I was happy to stay close to camp for a few days. However, on the third day, one of my external drives crashed. Then, while I was backing-up my back up, my computer crashed, or so I thought. Actually, it was not charging and simply died from running out of battery – Thank God! Once I got that all sorted, I was ready to race across the Mara, the next morning, in search of lions (Rekero pride with cubs) and Cheetahs (either Malika or Armani and their cubs). Well, of course, that night, we were pounded again with those wonderful African rains, hard enough to seem like a stage 5 hurricane.
At that point, it was time to pull on my big girl pants, put on my big rubber boots, and get out there to kick some *** anyway. So I did just that, except… I got stuck only a few km from camp! My windows were down in anticipation of quickly coming upon some great wildlife action, but all I managed to do was annihilate everything inside the Landy with mud! Luckily, my buddies from Intrepid camp came by within a few minutes. I threw on my rubbers, jumped out, chained up, and they pulled me out. Then, we proceeded to the Talek river, which was way too high, but since the Intrepid driver made it, I followed. Water flew up over my bonnet, and I was too focused on getting across to notice the water coming in along my floor. Yep, a lot got wet that shouldn’t have. A few hours later, we could no longer cross that river, so the adventure continued slipping, sliding, and driving sideways across the marshy plains. Finally, we made it across Olare Orak River and back into camp!!!
All part of the adventure in the search for the perfect image and stories for the rocking chair!!
Here are a just a few of the infrared images I recently captured in the Maasai Mara. Visit my Piper Mackay Photography Facebook page to see a few I shot in the Omo Valley. I have a lot to learn about this new medium, but I am very excited about it.
Piper Mackay is a world, wildlife and cultural photographer, based in Long Beach, California. She believes compelling visual images help to protect what is right in the world. Her work takes her to very remote locations, living cross culturally in the villages and environments that she is documenting.
Her work is heavily concentrated on the African continent, a land she fell in love with when she first touched foot on it’s rich red soil. Her passion for the natural world has grown into a lifelong commitment to inspire others to explore, respect and preserve the beauty of our fragile planet.
She believes compelling work comes when you invest time, living the stories you are trying to tell. It is important to interact and gain the trust of those whose stories you are telling, especially when sensitive and complicated. The world has enough images of poverty, pain and disaster, much more needful is imagery that reveals the beauty and dignity of the communities that are, except by their geography and circumstances, very similar to our own. Powerful images help shape the view of the world and play an important role in disseminating how cultures and wildlife are coping with the rapid changes happening in the developing world.
Piper’s images have been displayed at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, The Museum of History and industry, and The Art Wolfe gallery, as well as local galleries. Her work has been featured in Nature and travel publication through representation of several photo agencies, including Rangefinder, Nature’s Best, Birders, and the World Wildlife Fund. She is an independent photographer and available for assignment work.
Her prior career in the fashion industry, where she was deeply involved with combing color and texture, has greatly enhanced her approach to the unique look and feel of each culture and photographic subject. This also gave her a strong background in business and marketing. Please visit Piper’s website at www.pipermackayphotography.com.