Hitching a Ride

A Red-billed Oxpecker hitches a ride on a willing Water Buffalo. The Oxpecker lives in a symbiotic relationship with the Water Buffalo. It eats the bugs off the back of the large beast for food. The Water Buffalo benefits from a good cleaning.

Water Buffalo and Oxpecker
A Red-billed Oxpecker eats bugs off the top of the Water Buffalo.

Wild Leopard

We came upon this Leopard eating the hind quarter of an Impala at the base of a tree. Up in the tree, twenty-five feet above us, the gutted and thrashed Impala was still starring at us. The Leopard killed the Impala, gutted it and hauled it up the tree. The Impala weighed almost as much as the Leopard.

He didn’t like us watching him eat so he took his dinner and sauntered into the bush. We followed. He decided to ignore us and sat down to finish his meal. When he was done, he just sat there, resting.

Leopard Resting
Leopard finishing a meal of Impala at the Mala Mala Game Reserve, South Africa.

Valley of 1,000 Hills, Durban, South Africa

The locals say the weather in Durban is the best in the world. I believe they believe it. But, when the storm brewing over the Valley of 1,000 Hills finally broke, it was like the Heavens turned over the oceans and dumped them on this valley. I can’t remember rain, no, you can’t really call it rain, maybe solid sheets of water, falling from the sky.

Valley of 1,000 Hills
Storm brewing over the Valley of 1,000 Hills.

Places in Rome, Volume 2

The Eternal City, Rome’s history spans more than 2,500 years. Founded in 753 BC., legend suggest that Romulus and Remus weren’t content to remain with the wolves, but instead founded the world’s oldest continually occupied city. When Romulus killed his brother Remus in a dispute over where the city should be, the Roman Empire was born.

I spent a day in Rome. We didn’t have a plan. We thought we didn’t need one. Everywhere you turn there is something ancient and interesting. With a church on nearly every corner, we lost track of which was which. We couldn’t go in them all. We couldn’t see them all. We could have spent weeks, months studying, learning, enjoying and capturing the beauty of this ancient city with a modern vibe. I will go back.

Places in Rome, Volume 1

I had one day to shoot B-Roll in Rome. And, it was my birthday. My wife surprised me by flying to Rome and meeting me at my hotel. It was a great birthday present. I still had to film but we saw the sights of Rome together.

Rome has this interesting vibe of Ancient Rome overlaid with Catholic Religiosity. The people are friendly. The city is dirty. The food is good. And the places–unbelievable–almost as unbelievable as the legend of Romulus and Remus being raised by a She-wolf. Still, it is a good story–and, a great city.

Versailles, what’s it like inside?

I think you could spend days inside. We rented an audio device with a recorded digital audio tour. Each room had a number. The number corresponded to the program on the audio device. It was interesting and fascinating. I felt compelled to move on after the short room history ended. I finished my tour of the Palace in an hour. I could have, and should have taken longer.

Château de Versailles, A View from the Palace Grounds

Whether or not Marie Antoinette actually said, “Let them eat cake,” is up for debate. What isn’t up for debate is the fact that the French Aristocracy of the 17th century had lost touch with the plight of the common folk. In 1682 King Louis XIV moved the center of political power in France from Paris to Versailles. His heir, Louis the XV and his heir, Louis the XVI, expanded the elaborate and exquisite palace in a decadent game of one-upmanship, each seeking to outdo the extravagance of the last. The Château, or Castle, or Palace of Versailles represented the system of absolute monarchy in the divine right of kingship.

The people had no bread. Yet the Kings inlaid gold throughout their palace and threw elaborately expensive balls. For this very reason, it may be possible to understand why, on October 6, 1789 the Royal Family was forced to leave Versailles for the Tuileries Palace in Paris as a result of the Women’s March on Versailles and the erupting revolution. Not long after, in spite of lofty ideals, the people’s French Revolution removed the heads of those who ignored the basic humanity of their subjects instead choosing art and architecture over liberty and life.

As I visited the marvelously decadent and brilliantly ostentatious palace, now a historical museum, I felt that traditional photographic images did not rise to the same level of ornate excess demanded by the creators of Versailles or by the palace itself. So, I look through the lens wishing it were canvas and brush, hoping that the images could transcend the common and rise, with the ghosts of Versailles, to the courts of Art.

Things in Paris

People, places, things–I think I’ve pretty much covered it. This will be my last post from Paris–a collection of random stuff–shapes, lines, designs, stuff–much of it transportation related–since we were running, literally, around the city. The city of lights, the city of love, good food, great architecture, interesting people–Paris has it all. Some may wonder, then, why shoot this–stuff? Storytelling, for me, begins with the wide shot and gets more specific. I am fascinated by shapes, lines, interesting stuff. It is so easy to miss the interesting stuff. It is even more difficult to see the interesting stuff, in interesting ways. The story of my visit to Paris–a story I will never forget–and, one I hope to visit again–concludes with the specific, yet random–from my treasure box of stuff.

Places of Paris, Volume 2

So much to see, so little time. With so many sites, the challenge was to really see, to look for the commonplace and see the unique vibrance hidden beneath the rush. Judge for yourself. I was inadequate, overwhelmed, rushed. A feast before me, I had little time to decide of what to partake. Yet, I came away filled.

The Metro was our friend and we walked, and walked, and walked…and the sun went down.

Places of Paris, Volume 1

Paris is a vibrant city,rich in tradition, culture and history. As I spent time, not nearly enough, in the city, I felt the stories, written in the walls, stones and walkways. I couldn’t help looking through my lens to capture, not what I saw, but what I felt. High dynamic range photography seemed to be the only way I could bridge the gap between my dreams and my abilities. HDR images provided some relief from the need to capture the singular light of this marvelous city on canvas. I have no skill with the brush. I must rely on pixels to form the images I can only imagine amidst the landmarks which call to me in my sleep.