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Fall 2018 Photo Safaris

The Most Productive
Photo Safari Possible

Our 32th Year doing Kenya Safaris

An East African Photo Safari is the experience of a lifetime, but one that often becomes a nearly annual experience for many. We’ve been doing photo safaris for thirty years, and we not only know
what we’re doing photographically to deliver the best possible images you can make, but we also offer something few others can. We also provide the story, the natural history, the reasons why something happened, or why it may happen as we wait. We are photographers, of course, but we are also naturalists, biologists by training, and we take enormous pleasure in interpreting and making sense
of the behaviors you will see.

You can go on a safari with a photo leader and take pictures, but there is no other photo safari that will provide you with the information that explains what you are seeing, that gives meaning to
your photographs and to your experience. As our participants say, it is what truly
sets us apart from all the rest.

The complete brochure has ALL the details. But here's a quick summation.

Why we are unique

30 years leading safaris.
We know the wildlife and how best to utilize your time.
Our rotation system insures you will have the best experience possible.
You are getting two very experienced leaders for the price most tours have for only one leader, experienced or not.

Why we offer trips in the Fall
The short rainy season has fewer people.
The skies are the most varied, offering the best light for AM and PM shooting.
Predatory babies are usually present at this time.
The unpredictable gnu migration is still likely to be present.

Featuring the Best Photographic Locations
We visit five different shooting locations.
Samburu has several unique endemics found nowhere else (easily) in Kenya.
One night in Lake Nakuru since water levels have risen
and flamingos are no longer the main attraction.
We target the most interesting species in Nakuru.
We are the only operators to visit three different locations in the Masai Mara.
Transit days in the Mara are game drives- no lost shooting opportunities.

Who is this safari for
Serious photographers and naturalists.
Folks willing to spend time waiting if it is required.
Patient photographers and naturalists.
This safari is not for 'see it and go' tourists!

Our Unique Rotation System
We rotate participants through vehicles, guides, and us.
We avoid cliques.
Participants get maximum time with us as your guides.

What you can expect from us
The most productive safari possible.
Accurate, informative natural history information.
Professional help in your photography - compositions, positioning, exposure.

Tourists are understandably concerned about their safety.
On safari you are as safe as you would be in Miami or New York,
and probably safer! We would not travel to
Kenya if we did not feel it was safe to do so

Our Photo Safari Highlights

Three Photographers per vehicle maximum - everyone has a full row, with roof or window shooting
Photo Instruction and Guidance in the Field
Fair and Equal Rotation of Photographers - insuring equal time with Joe and Mary Ann and the Driver-Guides
Quality Time at the Two Best Game Areas - Samburu and the Masai Mara
Quality Time and Patience - You will see all the species but you will see and photograph behavior too.
Three Locations in the Masai Mara - The ONLY safaris covering the entire area
The Short Rainy Season - Great skies, fewer tourists, sunny mornings, soft light in the PM
Participant Photo Show - Portfolio of our participants' work on our last evening
Photo CD - The Portfolio and more on a CD after the trip
Our Interpretation and Expertise - You can rely on our knowledge and experience to help predict
behaviors and photo opportunities

Informal Lunch and Dinner Discussions on What You Saw and what it means
Driver-Guide Tip in included in the tour price

You can buy my how-to book on safari photography here. The book was written during the film days, but all of the information is still applicable, it simply does not cover workflow, histograms, and other aspects of the digital age. The photography skills, the natural history tips, and the vital information on enjoying a safari still apply.

If this interests you, please read on!

No American Photographers have more field experience
leading photo safaris to East Africa.

cheetahlion sunset
rhinoele skyamur falcon-

Trip #1: October 29 - November 12, 2016 Price: $10295.00
(single supplement $ 1332.00)

Trip #2: November 20 - 27, 2016 Price: $6295.00
Masai Mara Mini Safari

(single supplement $ 686.00)
Note: There is a Rwandan Gorilla trek before Kenya #1
and another Rwandan Gorilla in between our two Kenya photo safaris.
You may wish to combine this
breath-taking experience with your photo safari.

To get the absolute most out of these safaris, consider taking one of our
Complete Digital Nature Photo Courses
next summer!

PLEASE NOTE - Prices listed are based upon 10 participants.
There will be a small surcharge if the safari has fewer participants.
See below (What's Included) for the rationale and advantages.
If you're interested in one of our safaris, contact our office ASAP!
We are offering trips based on the land cost only.
We've done this to allow our participants to either utilize air miles,
or to amass air miles with their favorite airline.
Our travel agent can also book flight arrangements for you.
Simply inquire at our office for further details.


For even more information, please read any of our TRIP REPORTS which detail, day-by-day, the safaris
from that year. This will give you an excellent idea of what our trips are all about, what we see,
and perhaps most importantly, how successful these trips are!

2015: Trip 1 or Trip 2

You can read all of our Kenya Trip Reports for even more information.
Click here if you'd like to
order our Photographing on Safari video,
or to read general photo safaris information.



We have 30 years experience in East Africa, we visit the best and most diverse locations for photographers,
and we tailor these trips for photographers. We discourage casual tourists from joining us unless
they know what they're getting into (so continue reading the brochure). We strive for quality photography that
not only includes great portraits but, more importantly, great behavior, too, and to photograph action or behavior
one must have patience. You will shoot a complete portfolio of African wildlife, but hopefully your images
will be a cut above the rest in also including images of wildlife in action, actually doing something!
We are the only operators who visit three different locations in the Masai Mara,
which provides far more chances for encountering more species, and the cubs of the predators.

What we have to offer that is so Unique

30 years of leading safaris.
We know the wildlife and how best to use your time.
Our rotation system insures you will have the best experience possible.

My wife, Mary Ann, and I have been leading Photo Safaris to Kenya
and to many other locations in Africa for over thirty years. We were the first to:
institute using radios for vehicle-to-vehicle communication,
the first to offer just three photographers per vehicle,
and the first to fine-tune an itinerary that is now copied by most photo safaris.
More importantly, WE KNOW EAST AFRICA, we know how to photograph it,
what to look for, and how to get the best a situation has to offer for the participants that travel with us.

If you look at any of the Trip Reports, you'll get a great idea about our safaris, perhaps even more than what is
in this brochure. I cannot stress enough how important experience is when leading a photo safari. We know what
to look for, what to listen for, and what to expect, and this translates into imagery that is not simply a
matter of luck.

The topics addressed below should answer virtually all of your questions,
and I hope you'll take the time to read them.

baboon babyI'd like to stress again here that our trips may not be for everyone. They are not 'tourist safaris'
where the goal is to simply have you check off the different animals. We invest quality time
with our subjects, we don't just see and go. Although we might spend hours with some subjects,
when the potential warrants it, our participants still end up seeing everything, but they will
be seeing wildlife with absolute quality. The Trip Reports will prove those points.

I do not believe anyone can offer you a better safari.
We know Africa, we know how to make a safari run smoothly, and we know the wildlife.
If you are interested in obtaining quality photographs, in seeing wildlife in-depth, in watching
behavior, and witnessing truly once-in-a-lifetime wildlife opportunities, then our safaris are for you.



Why do we offer trips in the Fall?

gnu xingSummary:
The short rainy season has fewer people.
The skies are the most varied, offering the best light for AM and PM shooting.
Predatory babies are usually present at this time.
The unpredictable gnu migration is still likely to be present.


October through early December is one of the slower seasons for tourism in Kenya,
except for our safaris and other canny photographers who follow our lead.
It is still a most spectacular time of year to visit Kenya, for during this time
the wildebeest migration may be 'in', and the short rainy season usually develops
sometime during this period, giving us great cloudscapes and skies for some
of our shooting. If the migration arrives, the bountiful supply of food often
stimulates the predators into initiating a mating. Not being far-sighted, lions
revel in the abundance of food present at the time, even though the herd may be
gone by the time any young are born. Typically, the months following the
migration is the time of lion babies, even though this season can be one of
extreme stress, as the huge herds of easy game are gone.

gTraditionally, in the 'old days,' the wildebeest migration arrived in the Masai Mara
in July, and remained only until September. Whether it is global warming and a
disruption in the normal rain cycle or factors we cannot understand or predict,
the migration can occur at any time, and over the last several years nearly all
of our safaris has experienced at least one river crossing. One should
certainly not base their taking a trip on the 'migration' alone, for a river crossing,
while dramatic and exciting, may not yield the types of photography one might
expect from seeing nature films. Crocodile kills are indeed rare, as the crocs
feed most heavily when the first herds cross the Mara River. Later in the season
kills are sporadic. Of course, other predators often lurk in the riverside
vegetation to make kills, and it's possible to see, and film, both leopards
and lions taking down wildebeest as they make a crossing.

One thinks of the migration in terms of these river crossings, but the migration
phenomenon encompasses the entire spectacle - herds grazing across the
plains in huge scattered groups, moving in long lines that may extend
for miles, and, of course, crossing the rivers too. Herds do not have to cross
a dangerous river to enter into the Masai Mara from Tanzania, and many come up and return south without
ever having done so. So the migration is just one aspect of the trip.

Our autumn trips usually coincide with the short rainy season - either in the middle of it, or catching either the front
or back end. Why travel to Kenya if it's raining? gWell, for one, the rains are short - typically they occur in the late afternoon, and they are scattered. It's entirely possible to do a game drive
and have rain clouds visible at all four compass points, and yet be rainless.
Rains are usually short, too, and rarely compromise a game drive.
However, rains generate action! The skies in the afternoon are often
magnificent, as thunderheads build up into dramatic skyscapes.
Landscape images are far more interesting with a great sky. Rain induces
bird nesting activity, and weavers, social weavers, and hornbills actively
nest when mud or new grasses are available.

Typically, mornings begin cloud free and brilliant, with clouds building during the day. This provides photographers
with the opportunity to shoot subjects in two lighting conditions - in bright light in the AM, and, perhaps, overcast conditions in the afternoon. As one would expect, along the equator the heat builds up through the day and, on a cloudless day, it can get rather warm by late afternoon. Clouds cool things off, so nocturnal animals, like leopards,
are much more likely to be active on a cool day than on a hot, sunny afternoon. Another perk for this season!
starlingWe'll be visiting three locations on this safari. Samburu, in the arid, semi-desert area of north central Kenya, Lake Nakuru, mid-way on our journey from one
reserve to the other, and the Masai Mara along Kenya's southwestern border.

Samburu at this time of year should be filled with bird life. The short rains
should have some influence on the landscape and with luck the vegetation
will be morphing from dry season brown to verdant short-rain green.
Bird activity can be one of your trip highlights here! Of course, the usual
wildlife - elephants, the herd animals and ungulates, and the predators will
be in their normal numbers, but the bird life can be outstanding.
It is too long a drive to travel from Samburu to the Mara in a single day.
We'll be overnighting at Lake Nakuru, arriving in time for a late lunch. After
lunch we'll do an afternoon game drive, and another all-morning game drive
where we'll concentrate on the incredible flamingos.

Once in the Mara we will spend several days at Sarova Lodge, Mara Serena, and at Mara Intrepids, traveling to
each new camp as part of our morning game drives. By basing ourselves at several different locations in the Mara,
we will enjoy the maximum amount of time at all three of the hottest areas
for lion, leopard, cheetah and hyena activity, as well as plenty of time in prime areas for elephants, antelope and the resident ungulates. Unlike any
other safari, you will see all three main parts of the Mara and experience the magic that each area provides to photographers and naturalists alike. Of course, while our trips are timed to coincide with the short rainy season, the rains, like anything in nature, are never guaranteed. Regardless, however, the fall and the lack of crowds makes this season our absolute favorite for photographing in Kenya.

To sum up, our focus of this trip will include the following:
Bird life in Samburu
- One of the most surprising aspects to many safari photographers is the amount and variety
of bird life available, and how much fun photographing the birds can be. Samburu is the premiere bird location,
with a large variety of birds of prey, as well as diverse other birds, including owls, ground-dwelling birds, colorful
bee-eaters and kingfishers. Many of the tracks run through vegetation that is no higher than our vehicles' roofs,
so eye-level shooting is easy.


kite comp


Mammals in Samburu - The elephant action in Samburu can be outstanding.
Several endemic mammals are found nowhere else (see our itenerary), including the upright-standing gerenuk,
the tiny dik-dik, the unicorn-like oryx, and the reticulated giraffe.
We'll have one of our best chances of photographing a leopard here.

Wildlife in Nakuru - although we'll only be spending a short period of time here,
we'll have ample opportunity for photographing the species we normally encounter here.
Those species include flamingos (water levels permitting), White Rhinos, Black Rhinos,
Rothschild Giraffes, and the 'normal' plains animals, including Buffalo, Common Zebra,
Thompson's Gazelle, Warthog, Impala, and many bird species.

Predatory Action in the Mara - Lions and Cheetahs are likely to be hunting, and if there is any
possibility of photographing incredible action, we will do it.

Baby Predators in the Mara - We usually get lion cubs and cheetah cubs.
One of the true advantages to our safaris, and this is truly unique, is our staying
at three different, widely spaced lodges in the Masai Mara. By doing so,
we can cover virtually the entire area, which is simply not possible if you are based at
only one location, as most safaris are. In this way, we have the best chance of
finding and photographing these appealing babies!

The Usual Stars - of course, we'll also be photographing all the mammals we normally encounter,
which include leopards, cheetahs, elephants, hyenas, the hoofed animals,
and the birds in Nakuru, the Mara, and Samburu.

serval be foxgiraffe baby

Featuring the Best Photographic Locations in Kenya

We visit five different shooting locations.
Samburu has several unique endemics found nowhere else (easily) in Kenya.
One night in Lake Nakuru since water levels have risen and flamingos are no longer the main attraction.
We target the most interesting species in Nakuru.
We are the only operators to visit three different locations in the Masai Mara.
Game drives are transit days in the Mara - so no lost shooting opportunities.

There is no place in the world like Kenya. A country about the size of Texas it preserves some of the
greatest wildlife concentrations in the world. Just as importantly, however, Kenya is probably
the best African country for affordable game viewing and wildlife photography.
Kenya is a comfortable, safe country, where the wildlife is accustomed to people
and to a close approach by vehicles.
Many safaris attempt to see too much in a very limited period of time.
Consider this: If you've ever driven through Texas you know how large a state it is.
Could you imagine trying to cover that state, photographically, in just 14 days afield? It couldn't be done, unless you limited yourself to just a few key representative locales.
The same holds true for Kenya. It's impossible to do a quality shoot where five to seven
different parks are visited on a two or three week trip. Doing so would limit you to only a
day or two per park, and most of your time would be spent in traveling. WE WON'T BE DOING THAT!
Instead, we'll concentrate our time at the two best national parks and reserves for photography,
which represents two very diverse regions. Doing so we'll have the luxury of time, being able
to spend a number of days at each location, and of seeking out specific subjects, rather than
simply contenting ourselves with what luck may provide.


Samburu Game Reserve's semi-desert habitat hosts unique species to the country, including reticulated giraffe, distinguished by a net-like pattern; gerenuk, giraffe-like antelope that feed while standing on their hind legs; Grevy's zebra, with thin stripes and a white belly; Beisa oryx, huge antelopes with long, straight horns that may have
originated the unicorn legend; and a variety of birds. Samburu affords the best chances at filming pale-chanting
goshawks, hornbills, vulturine guineafowl, yellow-throated spurfowl, and dozens of other species. Samburu is also
an excellent location for leopard: we don't always get them there (5 of 6 safaris we lead usually do) but the
leopards we get are usually excellent for filming .

flamingoLake Nakuru
has, in the past, supported one of the largest populations of lesser flamingos in the world, and in good years there are, quite literally, millions of
birds along the shorelines. For the last few years the water levels of the lake
have risen and the flamingos have declined in number. This may change at
some future time.
Our target species here are White Rhinos and Rothschild Giraffes.
Nakuru offers other great subjects that you are quite likely to film very well, including African buffalo, DeFassa waterbuck, impala, warthog, reedbuck,
Rothschild giraffe, and olive baboon.
If our trip ended after Samburu and Nakuru you'd have had a fantastic
experience. However, the Masai Mara Game Reserve is the 'dessert,' and
is viewed by many as the premier wildlife photography location in Africa.
This great game location will be our last stop on our photographic adventure.

leopardThe Masai Mara is considered part of the famous Serengeti ecosystem, but
differs in offering a variety of habitats. Within a morning's game drive one
can film short grass high country, tall grass prairie, riverine forests and
thickets, and acacia thorn scrubland. Elephants, hippos, Masai giraffe,
common zebra, gnu, impala, Thompson's and Grant's gazelles, topi,
hartebeest, hyrax, black-backed jackal, spotted hyena, cheetah, leopard,
and lion are permanent, and fairly common, residents within the park.
There's also several less common species of antelope, including reedbuck, bushbuck, steinbuck, oribi, and duiker, that we normally encounter.
The very endangered black rhino has made its last stand in the Mara here.
We've had luck on many of our trips finding rhinos with calves, and we'll hope
to do so again this year. Additionally, serval (a small spotted cat) are most
easily found here, and in the scattered acacia trees leopards hang their
giraffe baby kisscarcasses out of reach of the many lions. Consequently, it's easiest to find tree-climbing leopards here. The Mara, however, is diverse, and it is impossible to do the Park justice by basing out of only one lodge. To cover the park thoroughly we'll be based out of three different lodges. In the extreme south we'll stay at Mara Sarova, covering the area from the Talek and Sekanani gates southward to the border of Tanzania and the Serengeti National Park. We'll stay at Mara Serena Lodge, covering the Mara Triangle and southwestern corner; and in the northern section we'll stay at Mara Intrepids, covering the area from the Musiara Marsh to the Talek River including Rhino Ridge and Paradise Plains. The very endangered black rhino has made its last stand in the Mara here and we have a great chance of photographing one amidst the croton bush thickets. In the absence of Maasai persecution, the lions and hyenas are active during the day.

lion w gnu lion drinkjackal
Who Is This Safari For?

zebra riverSummary:
Serious photographers and naturalists.
Folks willing to spend time waiting if it is required.
Patient photographers and naturalists.
This safari is not for 'see it and let's go' tourists!

This safari is really for anyone who is serious, either about wildlife and
nature photography, or about in-depth, intense, and patient animal
viewing. The two, for a photographer, are the same, for patience, time,
and luck are required in order to obtain great wildlife images. Please
read the following section carefully. While almost everyone who travels
with us are like-minded, there are, on occasion, one or two people who are not. This is not a safari for tourists. This is a safari for photographers - serious amateurs or photo enthusiasts or pros, and for those who really want to do a safari right.

You will see all the wildlife that you would, or could, on any safari
but on our safaris you will also see interesting behaviors, and probably
have experiences that even our driver/guides have not had before. Why? We have the patience to let things develop,
and we have the expertise to know when to stay and when to go so we will not be wasting your time unnecessarily but
instead maximizing your valuable field time in the most efficient and productive ways.

jIt really doesn't matter to us if you bring a camera or not,
or if you do not have long telephoto lenses or professional gear.
That is, provided you are patient, willing to wait, and, above all, considerate to those photographers who do have gear that requires a
rock-steady vehicle when they're about to shoot. Patience, to a wildlife photographer, is NOT a relative term. Patience may not be a
five-minute wait. It may mean waiting an hour before a cheetah
and her cubs decide to move from a croton thicket, or before a den
full of hyena cubs wake up and begin to play. We have literally
waited for four or five hours for a wildebeest river crossing.
Photographers, avid naturalists, artists, and others who are serious
about wildlife have no problem with this. You might.

lWe want to make this clear. Great shots often require patience.
If you simply want to see animals, click off a few pictures,
and move on to another subject, then our safari is not for you.
You might worry that 'spending time' waiting is wasteful, and
that your time would be better spent roaming and looking for
new subjects. Let me assure you that in the course of a
two-week trip you will indeed see everything, but some
subjects, that require waiting will reward you with
extraordinary images for your patience. In other words,
you'll see everything the normal tourist sees (or the
impatient photographer), but you'll also see, with quality,
other subjects, events, or activities that most simply do
not see because they do not have the patience to wait. We do.

lFor example, even our extremely experienced Kenya safari driver/guides have seen things
with us that they have never seen before - and these are guides who, collectively, have
over forty years driving experience. This has included such experiences as a zebra stallion killing a foal; a zebra giving birth; lions killing a bull buffalo; elephants, en masse,
wrestling in the river; a leopard killing a wildebeest, or a warthog; ostriches hatching
from eggs; lions pulling a warthog from its den; and much, much more. Why? I asked our driver/guides this, and they said, 'because your groups stay and watch. Most groups
do not, and only spend enough time to make some pictures.' They miss these
unique events, and so, obviously, had the driver/guides.

That said, we are not tyrants. We realize everyone has their own patience and frustration
level, and perhaps their own desire to shoot particular subjects. One of the values of
traveling with us is we can guide you, by stating our belief whether we feel something
is worth waiting for, or not. Our rule is this: If you don't wish to stay when we have
a subject we feel that is worth waiting for, you can leave, provided everyone in
your vehicle agrees on this, or if at least three in total from all of the vehicles agree to leave, whereupon
we'll rearrange seating to allow those people to return to camp or continue on their way. We have, on many
occasions, put three or four people into a van to head back to camp for lunch while the die-hards stayed
behind, waiting for the cheetah to make its kill or for the wildebeest to cross the Mara river.

Non-Photographers, Artists, and Videographers - Please Note

treefrogAs I've already stated, photographers will get the most out of this trip, rather than the average tourist. Non-photographers might feel frustrated in not being able to produce images that others can and that thought alone may be motivation for you to buy a telephoto lens and camera before doing the trip. I'd recommend doing so. Artists can benefit from our type of safari as well. If we're waiting for cheetahs to hunt, or for lions to resume mating, there's usually time to do field sketches or character studies. However, if you are an artist, don't be upset if your vehicle moves while you're still drawing! This is, FIRST AND FOREMOST, a photography trip, and the photographers have the final say. This also applies to people doing video. Still photography is all about 'the shot' and not screen continuity where an animal walks off to finish a video sequence. While that's happening, for a video shooter, a still photographer might be missing dozens of great shots if the vehicle had only followed. Consequently, our driver/guides and our photographers know that we will move to get the shots. Some video photographers may be frustrated by this, but the goals of a serious video photographer and a serious still photographer may be at odds, and this is a photography trip.

Our Unique and Fair Rotation System

We rotate participants through vehicles, guides, and us.
We avoid cliques.
Participants get maximum time with us as your guides.

We do not assign people to one vehicle for the entire trip. Instead, we rotate everyone through our vehicles
so that everyone has a chance to shoot with each other (avoiding trip-damaging cliques) and to shoot with both
Mary and me.Our rotation system gives everyone equal time with Mary and with me, and as we 'captain' our
respective vans you can be assured that we'll do our best to put you in the best shooting situation as we read
the light, determine animal behavior, or just simply look after you for the shots you're seeking
but have not yet achieved.

Make no mistake: Mary and I are here to work for you. I joke that when you're with me you'll get the best photos,
and Mary says the same thing. But the fact is, you will probably get your best shots on those occasions
with either of us. We're not going through the motions here. We're out to make the best photographs we can, and you'll get those same images when you're with us. That's not to say that when you're not with us you won't do well -- this isn't a zoo, and you might see something that we don't, but what we are saying is we're always trying to make the best images possible.

gnu xgnu x2gnu skeleton

gnu rungnu migrationzebra river

Consider this, too. Mary and I have seen scores of wildebeest river crossings, and dozens of cheetah kills,
but you probably have not, and we know that! That is why we often urge our participants to be patient when
some people get antsy, because we know that every crossing, every hunt is different, and that each has
the potential of being the greatest spectacle ever. Remember, when you are in our care we are looking out
for you, and we are willing and eager to put in the time to insure that you will get the best shots possible.

Ask yourself, are you willing to eat a modest picnic breakfast afield rather than return to camp for a fancy
cooked breakfast? If you answer this question with a Yes, then this trip will be for you and you'll fit in with the
type of gung-ho photographer we attract. Are you willing to eat the leftovers from breakfast, or your 'emergency'
Granola bars, for lunch instead of returning to camp to eat a cooked lunch if the shooting requires this?
Occasionally we have missed a lunch because of a hunting cheetah. If we did, it was certainly worth it!

Regarding breakfasts, we always eat a picnic breakfast in Samburu and the Masai Mara. It doesn't make sense
to return from the field while the light is still great just to eat. Instead, whenever we have a lull in activity,
we park our vehicles and grab breakfast then. As stated above, normally we do not stay out all day, although
if something is very good, or promising, we will. That means that sometimes we'll miss lunch or come in for a very
late lunch, and for that reason we advise people to pack candy or granola bars for a quick snack. We usually
return for lunch since at high noon the light is high and extremely contrasty and almost all animal activity ceases
in the hottest hours. However, if you're concerned about eating the meals you paid for, and of sleeping in when
you wish, then I don't think our trips will be for you. With us, photography comes first. Especially with the
heat of Samburu, we're usually in by noon, although on cloudy days, or when there was extraordinary action,
we've come in closer to 1PM.

Our personal safaris with three per nine passenger vehicle are radically different from the typical 15-20 person
safari crammed with five to nine passengers to a van or a tour 'limited' to twenty or more people. For that reason
this safari is naturally more expensive, but in reality it's not that much more. Please, just ask yourself what
your objective is:

Is it to see Kenya and to take snapshots, or to be on a special photo safari designed to provide the best
shooting opportunities possible. If your answer is the latter, then this safari is for you.

What You Can Expect from Us

me and cheetahSummary:
The most productive safari possible.
Accurate, informative natural history information.
Professional help in your photography - compositions, positioning, exposure.

From Kenya you can expect the best, most exciting wildlife photography possible on this planet. We will prepare you photographically.
I've written a shooting guide to Kenya that you can use as a handbook
or reference when considering composition and exposure for most of
your shooting subjects. Prior to the trip we'll provide you with our own recommendations on the gear to bring and, on safari, we'll provide
thorough briefings on the subjects we expect to film and how to do so.
In the field you'll be with either Mary or myself on an average of two
out of every three game drives. That means you'll be under the guidance
of two experts here, as opposed to a tour with only one leader,
who may be a photographer and not a naturalist as well.
As I mentioned earlier, we'll do our best to get you the best shots possible, and we'll be able to provide you with our suggestions on composition and exposure and, perhaps most importantly, on what we expect to happen and where we should be. Knowing animal behavior is a real plus, if not a key to successful wildlife shooting, and our experience, and that of our fantastic Kenyandriver/guides, will insure we have the best chance at obtaining great images.

Hopefully, you can expect great images of:

The Leopard:
Leopards are elusive, solitary creatures. Surprisingly common, they are difficult to see,
well-camouflaged, shy, and retiring. They are the trophy of any safari, and the hardest cat to film. I've never
missed with leopard, in all of our trips over thirty years, but I'm always worried, and we work hard to get this cat!
The Cheetah: Spotted, elegant, and surprisingly tame, this cat of the open grasslands is the easiest to film,
once encountered. We'll spend approximately half the trip in the best locale in Kenya (the Masai Mara) for
cheetahs, and we'll have an excellent chance of filming this, the fastest land animal in the world. Filming
the cheetah hunting, however, will require luck and patience, although we should have the opportunity
to do exactly that. Hunting cheetahs require patience, and this is the day we often miss lunch.
The Lion: The king of beasts appears to be anything but as it sleeps beneath an acacia. Stare into a male's
eyes, or watch one snarl, or half-rise as if to charge, and you'll quickly understand how and why the lion
got its title. Lions are easy to see, and in the Mara they can be surprisingly common. Photographing lions
in action, however, is quite different from the sleepy views most tourists see. We'll be out early to catch
any dawn hunts, and staying with a pride if hunting activity looks promising.
Black Rhinos: We may have an opportunity to photograph this endangered species in the Mara, and at
two of our lodges we'll be in prime rhino country. We're usually very successful! We'll also have a good
chance for black rhinos, and an excellent chance for white rhinos, when we are at Lake Nakuru

Leopard snarl

lion cub playrhino babyrhino blk

Elephants: Both Samburu and the Masai Mara have very healthy elephant populations. Depending upon the rains, elephants may put on a great show in Samburu, or be absent. In the Mara, elephants are common and easy to
find; and make for wonderful, animated subjects.
Lesser Predators and the Herbivores: Typically, we also have great luck with hyenas, black-backed jackals,
side-striped jackals, serval cats, and bat-eared foxes. We usually photograph three different primates - olive
baboons, vervet monkeys, and colobus monkeys, and virtually all the herbivores - elephants, buffalo, zebras,
antelope, hippos, warthog, etc. We typically have luck with some of the less common species, too, like
greater kudu, steinbok, oribi, and klipspringer, but these, among the antelopes, are the real trophies
and are not a 'given.'

Why we have such great success...

lioness charge

We'll have a wide variety of animals and birds available at our three destinations. With radios in each of the
vehicles our groups can game drive independently, but can meet whenever a great subject is spotted. Unlike
many other tours our vehicles often game drive separately, fanning out to cover the largest area possible.
In this way, when one of our vehicles spots a leopard, or cheetah, or baby elephant, or similarly great subject,
everyone has the opportunity to photograph that subject, too.

We are also the only safari operators who rotate our participants in a fair basis throughout all the vehicles so
that you see and work with all the driver/guides, the other participants, and with Mary and I. Our rotation --
done for both morning and afternoon game drives -- insures that you see Mary and I an equal number of times
(you will get your best shots when you are with us, because we know what we're doing!), an equal number
of times with the various driver/guides, and as diverse a rotation as can be accomplished in being
with the other participants on the trip. In this way our groups become tightly knit into one big happy family.

pelican glilde

Our Itinerary

As this itinerary is planned nearly a year in advance, there's always the possibility of slight changes -- in day rooms,
flight times, etc. However, the actual field time is almost never affected by last-minute airline or hotel changes.

Day 1, Arrive in Nairobi in the late evening or early hours of Day 2.
Overnight: Nairobi Serena Hotel, Nairobi

Day 2, We'll depart around 9:30AM for our drive to Samburu Game Reserve, arriving in time for a very short
(non-photographic) game drive as we drive to our lodge.
ight: Elephant Bedroom Camp.

Elephant Bedroom Camp is a beautiful introduction to our safari experience, with only 12 luxury tents situated
in the heart of elephant country. The staff and the food and the accommodations are incredible, and we couldn't
imagine a better place to start our photo safari.

Day 3-5, Samburu Game Reserve. Over the next three days we'll concentrate upon the wildlife, birds, and
scenery that characterize one of Kenya's prettiest parks. Along the river we'll seek elephants coming to drink
and play, crocodiles lying in wait for prey, and monkeys using the riverine forest for shelter. Samburu may offer
us leopard (it usually does), our best close-up opportunities for bird photography, and unusual endemic
mammals, including oryx, gerenuk, dik-dik, reticulated giraffe, and Grevy's zebra. By the end of our third day
we should have everything captured on film, ready to press on to our next destination.
Overnights, Elephant Bedroom Camp

Day 6, Samburu to Lake Nakuru. We'll leave Samburu, early, for our next destination, Lake Nakuru. We'll arrive
in time for a late lunch. After lunch we will do a late afternoon game drive where we may film African white
pelicans, flamingos, and White Rhinos, the only location where we will have this species.

Overnight, Lion Hill Lodge.

Day 7, Lake Nakuru to the Mara Triangle. We'll leave our southern base and do a morning game drive to
our second great destination in the Masai Mara, Mara Serena Lodge. And I mean great! Mara Serena is
probably the most beautiful lodge in all of Kenya, and the gardens have great songbirds and an exceptionally
tame population of bush hyrax. But we're not there for the lodge's beauty! During the fall migration,
Mara Serena is located almost directly above one of the premier river-crossing areas for wildebeest and zebras.
The area can be extremely productive for lion, cheetah, serval, and black rhino, as well as giant Nile crocodiles,
hippos, and elephants.
One more word, though, about the lodge. It is beautiful, and the food is outstanding.
There are more lights in your room than there probably are in your bedroom at home, so Serena lends itself
wonderfully for catching up on battery charging, doing laptop stuff, etc. It's a great place at a great location.
Overnights, Mara Serena Lodge

Day 8-9, Mara Triangle. We'll continue to game drive around the Serena area, working on lions, cheetahs,
servals, and everything else. From Serena, we'll have the only opportunity available to game drive through the southwestern corner, often called the Mara Triangle, where, someday, I'm sure African hunting dogs will return.
Overnight, Mara Serena.

Day 10, Mara Triangle to Upper Mara. We'll leave Serena for our morning game drive, visiting the
northwestern section of the Mara Triangle (also known as the Trans Mara Conservation Area). This is a great
spot for virtually all of the Mara's species, although one, the side-striped jackal, is most commonly seen in
this area. At the conclusion of our morning game drive we'll leave the Park, cross the Mara River and travel
through what is now Maasai country .
We'll re-enter the Park near the Musiara Gate and continue to our
final, EXTREMELY PRODUCTIVE, destination. That's the upper middle section of the Mara where we'll base
out of Mara Intrepids Camp. After a late lunch and a short break, we'll do our first afternoon game drive in
an area that has become our favorite part of the park.

If Mary and I had only place to visit in Kenya it would be to the Upper Mara and the Mara Intrepids Camp.
It is our favorite lodge and our favorite location. This tented camp is probably the least fancy of all the places
we visit, but for a variety of reasons, including the fact that it 'feels' most like Africa, we love it.
Overnight, Mara Intrepids Camp.

Day 11-12, Upper Mara. Although all of the Mara is rich, and the Mara Intrepids area is truly exceptional.
Leopards are particularly common here. There's a great lion pride here as well, with 3 males that must rank
among the most spectacular in the entire Mara. Intrepids is situated along the Talek River, and many of our
game drives follow the serpentine route of the often-dry river.
Because of the frequency of game drives along
the river wildlife is exceptionally tame, and we've had some of our best bird of prey photography along this
river including good opportunities for African fish eagles, Bateleur eagles, and kites. Intrepids' wonderful
assortment of spectacular game is a fitting ending to our safari - offering the potential of some truly
exciting photography.
Overnights, Intrepids

Day 13, Upper Mara to Nairobi to home. We'll have a cooked breakfast before boarding our Air Kenya flight
to return to Nairobi. On your flight you'll be passing over some of the country we game drove across,
providing a new perspective to your trip.
You'll have the afternoon free to pack and rest, before enjoying
your final, farewell dinner . The tour formally ends at the conclusion of this evening meal, with most
participants taking that evening's flight home (most international departures are at night), with arrival in
the US sometime on the following day after a change of planes in Europe.
Day room, the Nairobi Serena Hotel.

leopard 3
What's Included

The photo safari prices for our trips is based on land costs from Nairobi and includes all accommodations
(double occupancy), all meals except lunch in Nairobi, park entrance fees, and ground transportation,
including our exclusive three photographers per vehicles. A single rooming supplement is available.
See prices above.
Surcharge for less than 10 Participants
Our safari price is based upon 10 photography participants, filling the vehicles with three photographers per vehicle.
While there is a surcharge if the trip doesn't fill, there is a tremendous advantage for YOU, the participant, as
there will only be two photographers in these vehicles. You'll still have the benefits of our expertise when you
rotate into our vehicle, but on game drives that you're not with Mary or me you have a good chance of having
almost a private vehicle!
Our lodging varies from permanent tented camps to normal tourist lodges. Tented camps are permanent
structures, more like a hotel room under canvas, with flush toilet, running water, and shower inside each tent.
Most meals have a European/British influence. Drinks are not included, but they are inexpensive.
Our price also includes the driver/guide's tip and I know that we provide our guides with one of the very best
tips they receive each year. Our driver/guides are the best, experts at animal behavior and, from working
with me for years, quite adept at putting us into the best spots for great pictures. I use the same guides
each year and they know how I work and what's expected of them. They're great, and we love to reward them
well for their efforts.

Special non-photographic Spouse Offer

We'll be offering two spots at a discounted price for a spouse to accompany the photographer. The spouse will
be seated in the front seat, next to the driver, for all game-drives. This is a comfortable riding position, and
will afford great game-watching views and opportunities for all but those times when game is on the right
hand side behind the driver. The non-photo spouse is a non-photography position, and the driver/guides
will not be positioning a vehicle to accommodate the non-photo spouse, but to work for the photographers.
The non-photo spouse will need to sit still during shooting times, and will not be able or allowed to climb
into the back with the photographers, regardless of viewing opportunities or lack thereof.

This offer is meant to provide couples an opportunity to travel together and to enjoy Kenya, but with the very
real proviso that this does not impact upon the photography or opportunities for the 'shooters.' This is a
photography trip and, spouses or not, will remain so. If interested, please inquire for the special discounted price.
Further, the non-photographic spouse is a 'non-voter' in terms of whether a vehicle stays or goes, should it occur
that some photographers wish to remain with a subject and others do not.
In other words, if your spouse and
you (the photographer) wish to leave, but the other two photographers (three photographers per van, remember)
do not, it is two for, one against, and the vehicle remains.

With this in mind, we always suggest that spouses fill a photography spot even if they do not plan on shooting.
Doing so allows that person more freedom of movement -- they can stand or sit, and they will have a better
view of game. Non-photo spouses will be required to sign an agreement stating their knowledge of these facts,
because a few spouses have, in the past, signed their non-photo spouses up without telling them any of
these details, and the non-photo spouses were not happy with that arrangement!

Many non-photographic spouses have spent their time viewing game, sketching, or simply reading when the
photographers were poised and waiting for activity. Some non-photo spouses elect to sit out some game drives,
and have spent their time walking the grounds or writing, or going on nature walks with lodge personnel.

My Objective

You should return with the best photographs of wildlife you've ever taken. This doesn't come easily; it requires
early starts, patience, and a degree of luck. I believe any photographer traveling to Kenya wants this, and that
they're more interested in filming game than they are in lounging at a pool or in having a leisurely cooked breakfast
during the best shooting time of the day!

fowlOur field days start before dawn so that we can greet the sunrise with our lenses.
We'll have modest boxed picnic breakfasts on most field days, since this saves time
and allows us to travel anywhere without having to worry about returning for a
breakfast. Lunches and dinners are at camp, and, with the quantity of food available,
I doubt if you'll miss the cooked breakfast. We may, however, occasionally miss lunch
if a subject is so good that to leave it would be silly. That doesn't happen often, and
if we decide to do so, we do it by group consensus. I'll tell you, when the vote comes
up, when such a situation arises, people always look at me as if I'm crazy for even asking
them if they wish to leave! Nonetheless, if at least three people wish to leave at any
time, they are welcome to do so. We will not do so for only two, however.
Our rule is three photographers per van, so three is the magic number.

We will stay with a subject as long as it's necessary to get great photos, provided
the goal is realistic. Some animals require only a minute of work for a snap-shot like
opportunity that still provides a great image. Others require work, and we've stayed
with some subjects for hours (or for an entire day). Don't be afraid that by doing this
you'll miss other shots. I've done enough of these (this will be my 28th year of
doing Kenya safaris) that I know what's good, what's worth our time, and where
our priorities should lie and also provide full coverage of everything you wanted to film

You will amass a wonderful portfolio of all your Kenyan wildlife, but you won't be producing traditional
boring tourist shots. We'll try to get you great images -- magic material! Although we won't be consciously
amassing a species list, you'll undoubtedly see as many, if not even more, species of wildlife by doing it this
way than you would by being a 'tourist,' since we'll be in the field longer, looking, watching, and photographing.

Our Roles as Leaders and Your Role

agamaMary and I know Kenya, its wildlife, and how to photograph it. I want everyone
to obtain great photographs, and to enjoy himself or herself while doing so. Great photography requires patience, luck, and time, plus a degree of skill that my drivers/guides and Mary and I can provide. You can trust us that everything we
do as your trip leaders will have those priorities - your photos and well-being
as an individual in our group -- in mind.

Foreign travel is exciting, but it can be exhausting for some. You very
well may need to sit out a game drive and relax one day, and if you feel
this way, please do so. We press fairly hard, but we do so because we
know that many in the group have high-energy reserves, limited
elebudgets, and inexhaustible enthusiasm, and these folks want as much
out of the experience as they can get. We aim to deliver that.

While your photography and enjoyment is always uppermost in our minds
and in our concerns for you, the welfare of our wildlife subjects still
comes first. There are no exceptions to this. We do not purposely flush
a bird to get a flight shot and we won't tolerate a guide or a participant
doing so. If we feel an animal is stressed, we leave.

Our safaris are true wildlife experiences and are not visits to a zoo, and some photographers will see things,
while others may miss things, as we travel about. Still, all of our vehicles have radios to inform everyone when
there is a great sighting and most of the time everyone gets great shots of whatever subject we're shooting.

About Your Leaders

jMy wife Mary Ann and I strive to provide the most comfortable and
thorough safari you will experience. Both Mary and I are professional photographers, and I'd hope you've seen our credits. These included
National Geographic, National Wildlife, Ranger Rick, Natural History,
Living Bird, Birder's World, and most nature/wildlife calendars.

As a husband/wife team, Mary Ann and I have won more times in the
prestigious BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition than any
one. To date we have had 15 firsts, seconds, or thirds -- and we have
not entered every year. Our trips are not about us, however, they are all
for you, but credentials seem to matter, and we have them.

Mary has written twenty-nine (29) children's books, including Leopards, Grizzly Bears, Woodpeckers,
Flying Squirrels, Sunflowers, Cobras, Jupiter, Boas, Garter Snakes, Pythons, Rattlesnakes, Ducks, Chickens, Horses, and Cows, and a coffee table book, Out of the Past, Amish Tradition and Faith.

I've written several how-to wildlife photography books -- A Practical Guide to Photographing American Wildlife,
The Wildlife Photographer's Field Manual, The Complete Guide to Wildlife Photography, Designing Wildlife
Photographs, Photographing on Safari, A Field Guide to Photographing in East Africa, and the New Complete
Guide to Wildlife Photography, African Wildlife, Creatures of the Night, The World's Deadliest, and several
ebooks. We have produced an instructional video, A Video Guide to Photographing on Safari with
Joe and Mary Ann McDonald.

We are both editors for Nature Photographer magazine.

In addition to leading our trips to Tanzania, Mary and I personally lead photo safaris to Kenya,
Brazil's Pantanal, Chile, Galapagos, Svalbard, India, Alaska, Rwanda, Yellowstone, Ecuador, Costa Rica,
the Falklands, Antarctica, South Texas, Arizona, and some other spots, too!

For some real insight into all aspects of a photo safari,
order our DVD Photographing on Safari
which covers and illustrates various camps,
how to shoot from the vehicles, what to pack,
and most importantly, what you'll photograph
and how you'll do so.
The video does not address digital workflow or digital shooting.

Scroll through a Kenya Portfolio

Contact us by e-mail. at:
Or Call (717) 543-6423 or FAX us at: (717) 543-6423