My top 10 tips for photographers traveling to Tanzania

  1. Carry a good bean bag, Even with a small lens your wrists can get tired pretty soon and tripods are not very useful inside a vehicle.
  2. Do not overlook taking wide angle shots – carry a good wide lens – a 10-20mm Sigma is a nice starter lens.
  3. A 400mm lens is mostly reach enough, you will not miss much if you do not have a longer lens – but do carry your big guns if you can.
  4. Do not ignore the birds there are plenty of them in Manyara, Serengeti as well as Ngorongoro.
  5. Use the biggest vehicle you can find and afford and do not fill it – have one photographer per row of seats.
  6. Pick up cans of Insect repellent sprays, they will be there in your rooms, wear full sleeves shirts. Avoid wearing blue and black – the Tsetse flies can be very irritating though the Serengeti ones are not disease carrying.
  7. Learn the Swaheli words for the common animals – the guides and drivers keep up a constant chatter on the radio and won’t share unless you specifically ask.
  8. Do day long game drives – unlike in India they are allowed in Tanzania and most resorts will give you packed breakfast as well as lunches.
  9. Rhinos in Ngorongoro are always very far off – get hold of a friendly Ranger who has the authority to go on “Ranger only” tracks and somehow convince him to take you in his vehicle.
  10. Carry enough storage cards for your camera and also spare batteries – you will certainly shoot more than you anticipated. Do not delete pictures in the field.

And this last one is a general tip for travelers using Kenya Airways – board early. Kenya airways has a monopoly in the sector and treat passengers like shit. You may want to read what we went through while flying back

It’s a Hammerkop

Hamerkop - Scopus umbretta
Hamerkop - Scopus umbretta

So you have been waiting for the first image from my trip to East Africa. I could have put in many other dramatic things like the Lion, Rhino, Cheetah or the Hippo but I felt that those mammals are rather cliched. So I decided to put a common but unique bird Read more about the Hammerkop

The anniversary of blah!

Happy 16th Sweetheart!

“Aren’t you two bored of each other?” The question took me by surprise! No it has never occurred to me that I will get bored of Swati, but then perhaps I am too naive when it comes to marital relationships. For me this is one relationship where things are in black and white without any intervening gray shades. The question however did make me ponder as to why it should be raised at all and I cringed. Today I don’t want to wade thru the dissatisfactions of others trying to find why I am not… Heh! even writing that sounds pretty stupid. The day marks 16 years of being married to Swati.
I quoted Kaifi Azmi on our 10th anniversary

Dil me sanam ki soorat
Aakhon me aashiqui de
Mere khuda mujhe tu
Ek aur zindagi de

And that still holds true!

Ironically 7 years ago I did write Till boredom do us apart… and I have titled this as anniversary of blah simply because the 16th anniversary has no traditional gifts associated with it – so don’t try to read too much into it :-)

Among more mundane things – no special plans for the day we may go out for dinner but the excitement is about getting everything ready for our Friday departure to Tanzania for 9 days!!

Rikki Tikki Tavi – Indian Gray Mongoose

Lip smacking good!!!
Lip smacking good!!

While the Indian folklore is full of tales about how the mongoose is the fiercest enemy of the snake and is generally looked upon as the good guy, the tale which really endeared me to the mongoose was Rudyard Kipling’s short story Rikki Tikki TaviĀ  in his novel Jungle Book. Continue reading Rikki Tikki Tavi – Indian Gray Mongoose