Thursday, July 16, 2009

Our visit to Jordan

Hi, In late October and early November of 2008 my wife Ruthe and I took a trip to Jordan and Egypt. This entry will cover only the Jordan part of our trip. We spent 5 nights in Jordan, 3 in Amman, the capital, and 2 in Petra. I have used both my wife's and my photography in this post to provide the best possible idea of what we saw and did.

Our first day in Amman we visited the Citadel, a Roman ruin. The view of the city is from the Citadel as is the structure. From the Citadel we went to the Roman Theater (no photo).

Our next stop was the market. There was a large variety of merchandise for sale in the shops, including these dresses, hookahs (water pipes), and sweets.

Our second day was spent visiting the Roman ruins at Jeresh. This one of the largest Roman ruins in the world.

As I was walking to lunch I spotted this gentlemen. I had promised myself to try for more people photos so I asked him if I could photograph him. He wanted to know why I wanted his photo and I told him he had a very interesting face. It was my first person shot.

My second occurred right after lunch when I encountered a school group on a field trip. These three charmers asked to have the photo taken.

While at lunch Ruthe photographed this gentlemen making Pita Bread.

The next day we visited Mount Nebo, the supposed burial place for Moses. This gentlemen, taken candidly, has walked out to the edge of the cliff to look out to the promised land and is now heading back.

We also visited the town of Malaba this day. It had some shops with interesting items on display.

The highlight of this part of the trip had to be our visit to the ruins at Petra. The structures here are thought to have been built by the Nabataeans. These facades now front empty caves. No one knows why the facades were carved or how the caves were used. This structure, arguably the most famous, is called The Treasury because of its appearance.

People still live in Petra and some serve as performers, such as these guards at the Treasury,

and this gentlemen demonstrating a game.

The last morning of our visit to Jordan I took an optional trip to Wadi Rum. We visited with some Bedouins where these camels were resting.

I hope you enjoy the photos. I'll do Egypt in a subsequent post. Bob Kaplan

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Southern Africa - 3

Hi, This is the last installment of photos from Africa and will be devoted entirely to our last wilderness camp, in Hawange NP, Zimbabwe. Our transportation from Victoria Fall was a 5 passenger plane, an experience in itself. After we settled in we went out on our evening game drive. The other truck radioed that they had found 2 female lions, so there ensued another hair raising race, this time to get there before dark. While en route we learned that a Rhino also was in the immediate vicinity of the lions. The next 3 photos are of the White Rhino and the 2 lions.

The next day we went looking for lions again. We headed for a broad savanna where we hoped to find a kill with lions. Our first encounter was with a pair of Black Back Jackals.

Eventually we found a male and female in some nearby woods.

Hwange NP was unique as it has a number of these wide open savanna areas. Here Zebras are passing a dead tree probably killed by Elephants rubbing against it. We saw lots of dead trees during our travels in Africa. Elephants also uproot trees so they can ge to more leaves to browse.

Another colorful bird we encountered all over southern Africa was the Lilac Breasted Roller.

Hwange also was the location where we encountered large numbers of Wildebeest.

On our game drive the second evening we encountered a herd of female Elephants with this Bull in attendance. He was not happy with us and demonstrated this by picking up dirt with his trunk and spraying it on himself. Also, there was lots of snorting, trunk waving and ear flapping.

Later that evening we photographed this Red Hartebeest, the only one, we were told, in this section of the park.

Hwange also was a good place to photograph Giraffes.

On our final evening game drive of the trip we were taken to a new savanna area, again looking for lions. While there were no lions there were about 150 to 200 Cape Buffalo in 3 herds coming in to a water hole. This old bull was enjoying a roll in the dirt to remove insects before drinking.

On our final drive of the trip we found a pair of Grey Crowned Cranes. After awhile they tired of us and took flight.

Later I was able to photograph this Red Hornbill and

a group of Zebras.

This concludes the photography from southern Africa. As I said at the outset, it was a great trip! I hope the photos were enjoyable. Bob

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Southern Africa - 2

Hi, I'll pick up this report as our cruise on the Chobe River continued. We encountered a herd of elephants bathing.

Later there was a large pod of Hippos. Most were at least partially submerged, however, this animal was out of the water.

Further along another large Croc basked in the sun and

a Kudu came down to the shore to get a drink.

After 3 nights in Chobe we moved to our next destination, a wilderness camp in the Caprivi Strip of Namibia. Because the rainy season had just ended the area was still flooded and the only access to our camp was by boat. However, along the river we frequently encountered animals such as this elephant drinking,

this bull elephant somewhat upset with us intruders, and

this baboon, part of a troop sitting and playing in some trees.

Also, we observed some of the best sunsets of the trip here.

Our next destination was the Okavango Delta. The Starlings were beautiful birds, unlike the ones we see here at home.

Our first of many opportunities to photograph Giraffes and Zebras with good light finally occurred here.

However, the highlight of our visit to the Delta was an opportunity to photograph a male (with the collar) and female Leopard. The other truck from our group encountered them first and it required a high speed run(20 to 30 mph) on dirt tracks to reach them but we got there in time.

While photographing the Leopards this Eagle passed overhead.

Shortly thereafter a group of male and female Ostriches appeared with the males, one of which is shown here, displaying for the females.

Later in our stay we encountered a group of Tsessebes, 2 of which are shown below. They are very rare and this was the only time we saw them.

We were surprised by the lack of Vultures up until now. However, we saw dozens of them at a kill here. We never did find the kill but something sure smelled. We scared this Vulture off but it didn't go far and is perched nearby on small termite mound.

I hope you are enjoying the photos. There will be one more installment in a day or 2. Bob