Footnotes Blog

How I Got the Shot – Painted Reed Frog at Rest

With no travel planned over December, and the Mashonaland Photographic Society deadline looming, I realised I needed to get out and about and make a concerted effort to take some sort of photograph to submit.

I wandered around the garden for hours, looking for insects and bugs. I managed to find a couple of possible entries but nothing that really felt like it would catch the judges’ attention. I also used this time to get to know the Nikon D4 as opposed to the Nikon D7100 I normally use.

Close Encounters of the Gorilla Kind (2)

“Stand your ground. Stand tall and don’t look him directly in the eyes,” said the guide, calmly.

That’s all very well, but when standing in front of a six foot 500 pound silverback gorilla it was difficult to compose myself and follow his instructions. One minute I had been observing the silverback sitting quietly in a glade; the next minute he stood up, ran over and mock-charged me. He let out a deep, grumbling rumbling sound from deep in his belly: a silverback warning intended to intimidate without becoming physical.

Close Encounters of the Gorilla Kind (1)

I was instructed to leave everything behind except my camera. I left my rucksack on the dense forest floor and followed my guide, my excitement building. A variety of birds were perched on high singing. I spotted a fabulous looking Blue-headed coucal, its deep and resonant song calling through the forest. The air was heavy with a heady mix of heat and humidity.
A clearing in the dense forest afforded a unique view: Rwanda to the south and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to the west. I was in Mgahinga National Park, a least known about gem in south western Uganda.

Pilgrim’s Rest: A Living Museum

Pilgrim's Rest is a quaint living museum of a mining town which experienced a gold rush in 1873 when the South African government declared it a gold field. This well-preserved little town is the setting for the book about the famous dog "Jock of the Bush Veld" by Percy FitzPatrick. His writings are preserved in a building in Pilgrim’s Rest, which served as the location for the 1988 motion picture of the book. The tarmac road in front of the Royal Hotel was covered with gravel for the movie.

Wonders Never Cease.

When travelling, which is something I love to do, I try to be a good “Tommy” tourist but also a good traveller. New places and new experiences are a must for me as travelling from Zimbabwe is so expensive. While I love to see the sights that people write about and recommend I also love to find a local person from that area and ask his/her to take me to where they socialise, where they eat and so on during their everyday life. It gives one more of a feel about how they really live, survive and entertain.

For Molly.

Molly was an African elephant calf. She was born in the south of Zimbabwe – the Lowveld. In September 2017 she lost her mother when she was just six months old; not to poachers, but in a hunting “accident”. Her mother apparently charged a hunting party to protect her calf. The “professional hunter” (PH), who was tracking a wounded wildebeest, believing his group to be in danger, shot Molly’s mother. As he was not hunting elephant he did not have the correct weapon, so one can only imagine how long it took him to kill her.

Harare’s Fiery Flamboyants

The image of the flamboyant trees (Delonix regia) in full bloom was taken in November 2005 on Harare’s Blakiston Street. Flamboyant trees abound in Blakiston Street and Lawson Avenue in Milton Park. They are between fifty to sixty years old. Regrettably, old age and termites have taken their toll. The trees grow to heights of about thirty to forty feet. Some branches grow heavier and thicker than others and are a threat to durawalls and traffic.