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About IamFisheye

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  1. Ben Fogle did one of his New Lives in the Wild programs for Channel 5 (UK)N with Moli & Noelle. Not sure how you would find a recording in India but worth watching if you can.
  2. Long story but I've found that I have some holiday to use up at the start of March. I'm currently looking at Asilia deals, core of the trip would be 3 nights Tarangire, Olivers Camp 4 Nights Namiri Plains Camp, Serengeti 2 questions 1. What's the game viewing like this time of year? 2. How is the Visas experience at Arusha/Kilimanjaro? We have a 2 hour window between arrival and our internal flight, I get twitchy when I'm stuck in a queue. Should we buy on arrival or get in advance (there's someone in the UK charges around £125 per passport to turn them around in 5 days).
  3. I traveled a fair bit (Laos, Oman, Russia, Galapagos) with an Olympus Pen EP-2 & the 14-150mm V1 (plus 9-18mm & 20mm f1.7 prime). Quite a nice combo for general travel photography, light and unobtrusive, but not really suited for wildlife, anything that moves or low light). The OM-D is a far better option than the older pen series and both the EM-5 & 14-150mm V2 are weather sealed and I think Olympus weather sealing is in a world of it's own and the only brand I trust (I used to run my old E-3 & 50-200mm under a tap to clean it!) for a UK summer. I currently have an EM-1 with a bag load of lenses. Another positive for the mirror less system over the bridge camera is it's an interchangeable lens system. For discreet city (street) work you could add a 17mm or 25mm F1.8 prime lens to your bag they only weigh around 100g a pop. For night drives I'd recommend the 40-150mm F2.8 but then you start to head into heavy, expensive-ish lenses. If I was looking for a bridge camera I'd consider the Sony RX 10 (III or IV).
  4. As @Sangeeta says Annabelle commented on a FB group 'The African Wild Dog' thread sharing this article " But they are not all dead, not every dog in every pack, this is misleading and makes the story stronger. There are still sightings reports coming in but as explained to the writer they are not all dead. Distemper wiped out the dog population in 2006 and by 2008 there were substantial packs in laikipia growing again. They need protection that is for sure and canine distemper is devastating but keep it in perspective."
  5. I'm another owner and fan of the 70-200 F4. It was the first Nikon lens I bought (even before I had a Nikon camera). I use it on a D7100 (when I'm not using my 300mm F4 PF). It was a great combo for my 1st trip to Laikipia photographing the wild dogs.
  6. @Atravelynn, @michael-ibk wow didn't you have a great trip (so far). Your fantastic report has reminded me that I am still 6 days away from the end of my own Ethiopian TR and the 2 year anniversary from the start of that is not too far away either. I should really get my head down and get it finished. It will include the 2 nights we had at Bishangari Lodge.
  7. Day 14 Thu 15 Oct Bale Mountains pt 2 We drove to the far side of the plateau and turned around. No wolf sightings only brds for the return journey. In my notes I have jotted down “Poor pics of golden eagle”. Which must be these pictures which were just grab shots that I’ve done my best with in Lightroom to recover some detail. We stopped for our picnic lunch around 12. Getting out of the car at the top of the plateau to stretch our legs at the same time. It was bleak, windy and cold. Some of the fauna reminded me of home. After lunch we continued our drive. All was qute as we headed back towards BML, we didn’t see any more wolves but we did stop for a few landscape shots. On the way back towards BML and just past the village we spotted a troop of Bale Monkeys attempting to cross the road. They seemed very nervous and we very cautious as the took it in turns to leap down from the cover of a fallen tree and run across the open road. Under the watchful eye of an older male. This one made a full page spread in the winter 2017 edition of Wildlife Photography World A little further down the road our guide spotted a couple of colobus monkeys sitting in a tree. The view was pretty poor so we got out of the car to take a closer look. It was still difficult to get a clear shot the trees were so green and lush. Trees on the opposite side of the road We overshot the lodge entrance and continued along down the road. We were getting fleeting glimpses of bushbucks and a few different types of birds but nothing too exciting. Then we hit an Olive Baboon roadblock I got out of the car and took a slow solo stroll towards the troup. They started to move into the forest and up into the trees The last defiant male The drive was starting to get a little tedious and Angela was starting to get some nasty stomach pains. So we headed back to the lodge. Angela took to her bed for the remains of the day. Yvonne sorted her out with a flask of ginger tea and later on some soup for dinner. I spent the remains of the afternoon taking snaps from the balcony And trying to get a half decent shot of one of these splendid looking birds The evening at the lodge was a complete contrast to the previous night as they had a visit from their co-funders the African Wildlife Foundation and every room was full. There was a talk in the bar from a couple of people from the Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Project. Followed by a group dinner which I was invited to join as I would have otherwise dined on my own. It was a good evening.
  8. Day 14 Thu 15 Oct Bale Mountains Today we could have a lie in, the wolves generally don’t start to show themselves up on the plateau until around 10am which meant we didn’t have to leave BML until around 9:30. We were still up at a reasonable time to get ourselves sorted and work out what we needed laundered to get us through the remains of the trip. We had a wonderful night's sleep in a warm comfortable bed with the added luxury of heating provided by the room’s wood burner, lit for us while we were still enjoying dinner. Tea facilities were in the room which meant we could also make ourselves a nice cup of tea before venturing up to the main lodge for a lovely slow breakfast at 8:15. Pre breakfast views from our balcony Bale Mountain Lodge is co owned and run by Guy & Yvonne Levene. Guy was away on business in Addis and had Yvonne to manage things and what a wonderful host she was. We had plenty to chat about over our stay and found we had a few things in common including coming from the same corner of Essex. We left at 9:40 and spotted our 1st Wolf as we hit the plateau. It was a fair distance away from us so we just sat and watched it disappear further into the hillside as it pursued a hare. We were too far away to find out if the hunt was a success. Spotting wolves up here, even on a lovely clear day like this is no easy task. They are coloured the same colour as the lichen which can play tricks with your eyes. Our second sighting was not much later when a wolf popped out from behind some rocks and ran across the road. This one was a little nervous and hid behind some rocks. Further along the road we found a youngster lying by the road until we disturbed it and it shot off. Then the highlight of the day as we came over the crest of a hill. A pack of six wolves ran across the hill side. We stayed with them for as long as we could until the eventually slid over a ridge. Five of the pack of six A few closer encounters and a Full house
  9. I'm pleased with this one from the Mara in 2016 (Feb). Malika's son trying to figure out if he can take down a zebra.
  10. Mara, Feb 2016
  11. Day 13 Wed 14 Oct Lake Awassa - Bale Mountains Today we were excited, it was the leg of our journey we had waited so long for. Heading towards the Bale Mountains to finally see the wolves. We were up again before first light in order to get ourselves organised before breakfast. There was a power cut mid wash and we had to wash by torch light. The sun was up by the time we came to pack our bags so we opened the door to let some extra light in. More or less packed, we headed across the gardens to the restaurant for breakfast. The Garden attracted plenty of Egyptian Geese and was really noisy. There were also lots of Marabou Storks sat in the tall trees. Breakfast was slow and service comical at times. There was no power so there was no fresh juice or coffee until the power was restored. Toast was delivered but no plates, I asked for plates and was bought one so I had to ask for a second one. We were serenaded by the clacking sound of storks bills watching us from the trees and we ate in fear of losing our breakfast to something swooping in from above. The guide and car arrived at 8am, we loaded our gear into the car, checked out, then set off on a mornings walk around the lake. I’d switched my lens for the 300mm F4 by now. We saw plenty of bird and human activity around the lake. Vultures scavenging around a discarded carcass Once we felt that we had walked far enough the car met us and we drove out to the Amora Gedel NP and Fish market. It wasn’t touristy at all. Most of the fishermen wore UK soccer shirts which amused me as there only seems to be around 4 teams in the UK according to the Ethiopians, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United. At 10am we hit the road again anxious to start heading towards Bale . We stopped off at the Haile Hotel, Shashemene Hotel to order a packed lunch as apparently the eateries further on were not suitable for westerners. We each ordered a simple sandwich which seemed to take an age to make. While we waited Angela had spied an ice cream kiosk so we went and ordered ourselves one each. I asked the guide and driver if they wanted one but after some deliberation they declined as it was a fasting day and they can not eat dairy on these days. Back on the road again, by 12pm the guide and driver wanted to stop for lunch. We were eager to push on so they agreed to wait until the next town before we stopped, there was a ‘last resort’ option for their lunch. We reached the next town and the ‘last resort’ was closed. We found an alternative across the main street where the guide and driver ordered lunch. We ate our sandwiches at the same table. After lunch we pressed on for Bale and hit the 1st gate, Gaysay Grasslands, at around 2pm. There was plenty to see on the approach road, Olive Baboons, Mountain Nyala, Warthogs and Bushbuck. I didn’t take too many pictures as we were going inside the park and not just passing through. Sign at the main gate We were then handed over to a local guide and driven a few Km into the park for the start of a walk back to the gatehouse. It was a great walk with plenty of opportunities to get up close to the wildlife. View from the hillside Bushbuck General scenery, some wonderful trees in this area There was plenty of mountain Nyala Reedbuck Warthogs More Nyala Splendid Bull Some Flora One of the disadvantages of only having a 300mm lens to hand. We were back on the road by 4pm but the light was already failing and the clouds closing in. It took another hour possibly more to get to the final gate that would take us up onto the Saneti Plateau. It didn’t take long to spot our 1st wolf foraging not too far from the road. The light was very poor, hindered further by the descending mist. I got a few shots from the car then ventured out into the bitterly cold wind and walked up the road to get closer (I would definitely be wearing more layers tomorrow). It really was starting to get dark by now and beyond the limit of my camera’s low light capabilities. We watched the wolf for a little longer then it was time to move on. The light was all but gone by now and the mist was getting heavier. The pass on the far side of the plateau that descends down into the Harena forest is a treacherous winding narrow road. I would not want to drive it during the day but we were in the dark and had very little visibility as we continued down and towards Bale Mountain Lodge (BML). The journey was made even more treacherous by the occasional lorry trying to overtake us as we slowly groped our way along. We made BML by 6:45, dinner was at 7:30 so we were offered a welcome drink opted for a G&T which was brought to the room while we made ourselves comfortable and got cleaned up ready for dinner. Room at BML We were the only guests tonight and we were given a table in a snug next to the blazing fire. Dinner was by far the best meal we had had in Ethiopia so far and was accompanied by plenty of local wine. We are really looking forward to the next few days here.
  12. Day 12 Tue 13 Oct Bahir Dar - Addis - Lake Awassa An early start again for our final internal flight back to Addis. We were up before sunrise and here are a few shots of the sun coming up through the mists on Lake Tana as we made our way to breakfast. Taken with my little P&S camera. The stillness of the lake after breakfast Front of the ‘Dungeon’ Apt security for a dungeon, the door lock! Our flight to Addis was early, baggage reclaim simple and our final ‘Naturalist’ guide was waiting for us outside at the domestic terminal exit with a sign with our names on. It took us sometime to get out of Addis as the traffic was overwhelming. Eventually we did, got to the new toll roads and managed to make good progress on the freeway towards Lake Awassa. We stopped for a late lunch at a place called ‘Dreamland’ next to a small crater Bishoftu Lake. It had nothing to do with the Margate theme park of the same name or MIchael Jackson’s ranch. Lunch was good, a nice Burger and chips and a cold beer. Then it was back on the road to continue our drive to Awassa. We stopped to stretch our legs at a lake called which I now know is called Ziway. If I had been aware of the stop and what to expect I may have chosen a different camera and/or lens. Fortunately I had the all rounder, lazy, tourist lens 18-300mm on the Nikon in my hand so nothing but a spot of quality was lost. We got out the car at the start of a bumpy dusty road. To the right there was a dirty looking pasture with a few grazing goats and sheep and a huge flock of pelicans and storks. A boy on a wooden cart was feeding the birds discarded fish heads from today’s catch. The birds were going mad. The cart was moved and we followed it down towards the lake/pond Angela was trying to sort here binoculars out and was lagging behind. I turned around to see where she was and if I had been quicker I would have grabbed a good shot of this creature just clearing her head as it cumbersomely left the ground. Some more shots of the birds on the water’s edge. According to Philip Briggs Ethiopia guidebook Ziway is a birders paradise. You can tick off a long list of birds in a couple of hours. Unfortunately we only had something like 20-30 minutes to take in the scene. Names I wrote down in my note book were forest kingfisher, pygmy kingfisher, flamingo, jakana, hammerkopf and herons. I got few reasonable shots of what we saw If you carry on walking to meet the the shores of Lake Ziway you encounter this bizarre fenced off area, I have no idea why but we didn't venture any further. One last Marabou stork shot. Then we were back on the road again and conversation with the ‘Naturalist’ guide started to reveal that he was more of a birding guide than a Naturalist guide. Conversation kept swinging towards what birds we would see at certain lakes and other areas. Our stock response was always ‘We are not birders!’. Somewhere along the way we came across a Black Fronted Snake Eagle sat on a tree at the side of the road. We stopped and I back tracked with the guide for a better look. Angela whispered, ‘don’t encourage him’ to me as I got out the car. Black Fronted Snake Eagle using the full 300mm of my 18-300mm super zoom. On the way back to the car some farm workers came down the track behind the fence on the other side of the road and gave us a wave. A shelter on the side of the road We had originally opted to stay overnight at the Haile Hawassa Resort tonight but there was no room at the inn and our agent had booked us in at the United African Hotel on the edge of Lake Awassa which they use on a regular basis. It was getting dark as we arrived, the room was poorly lit and a little cramped. At least we had a mosquito net. The plumbing was a disaster and we had more suspect electrics to contend with, this is the power to the hot water boiler in the shower. At least we were only here for the night. We hadn’t had time to really get orientated when we arrived and we fumbled our way over to the bar and restaurant across the unlit gardens. It was the only lit building in the complex so it wasn’t difficult to find. We were the only guests. Dinner was a disaster, zero service and some pretty ropey chicken and rice, so we had a couple of beers and took an early night.
  13. Day 11 Mon 12 Oct Bahir Dar pt 2 On our return we decided to have lunch out so we went to a local’s lakeside restaurant, ‘Desset Lodge’, in a beautiful location along the shore not too far from where we were staying. Again food was good even if we were a little conservative by having pizza. Back at the hotel we had an ice cream with the guide (still number 2) before we set off for the Donkey Sanctuary Amhara headquarters, about 5 minutes from the hotel, to meet the local vet, Dr Twedros, and hear about what they are doing in Ethiopia. The Donkey Sanctuary in Ethiopia is nothing like the sanctuaries we have in England where old Donkeys and mules are left to graze in pastures and cared for until their final days. They are funded by the same organisation but the mission is to transform the quality of life for the animals by educating their owners and providing better veterinary care. We were given a brief talk as Dr Twedros went through the various apparatus on display in the small room in their office block. The charity visit communities show them how to make things that would give the donkeys and mules a better quality of life. Things like better fitting harnesses out of more suitable materials. They train people in the village how to do this and help them set up businesses. They also teach the owners about road safety and how best to make themselves their donkeys and their carts more visible to traffic, especially at night. They also teach them about seeking out professional veterinary care instead of using old primitive DIY methods that generally make the animals sicker. This education isn’t always direct it typically comes through the children who are taught about better animal care at participating schools. After our talk we then drove out to an outlying village to visit a vet first hand and a school where they were educating the children to respect the working animals. There were no children around as it was way past school hours by now. School’s chemistry block Murals around the school painted by the children School buildings Then we took a walk across the road to find the vet and his clinic Clinic Model Donkey Shelter Back outside the school Angela and Dr Twedros We got back to the hotel later than I would have liked so I missed the opportunity to photograph the Ibis as the came in to roost at sunset. Dinner was as good as the night before, very attentive service
  14. Day 11 Mon 12 Oct Bahir Dar pt 1 A late start today with ample time for some sleep and an enjoyable breakfast. Morning on Lake Tana and the birdlife around Kuriftu Resort Cormorant on the tree to the left of the terrace, the Ibis had already flown earlier in the morning We were met at the resort's Jetty at 9am for a cruise around the lake and a visit to a couple of monasteries which I thought were out on the islands. It turned out that they were both on the Zege peninsular. On the way out across the lake we encountered a fisherman on a traditional reed boat. He was keen to show us his catch and twice as keen to ask for a tip for the photographs I was taking. Boat transporting firewood The monasteries were more of the same as what we had seen in Lalibela and Gonder. The 1st site, Ura Kidane Mihret, was a long trek up a muddy path lined with tourist stalls. The religious artwork was very similar to what we had seen elsewhere. In hindsight I think we would have been far better off with a simple cruise around the lake and spending a bit more time lying by the pool. But we were here to take in some of the country's cultural sights and that’s what we did. Doorway detail Some of the imagery gets a little lost in translation and some is just extreme It was still an active church The first monastery also had a museum which held even more aartefactsand artworks Elaborate cross of the region, the eggs are Ostrich eggs Pilgrims outside Monks quarters People at the Jetty as we left The second Monastery, Bet Maryam, was on the same peninsular and about 2km if you walked, it was easier to reach by boat. The setup was the same, a muddy path through the forest lined with stalls with people trying to sell the same sort of touristy tat. As the monastery was smaller it was far quieter. Prayer drums Artwork We asked our guide why this guy riding a chicken, apparently it’s an eagle or lammergeier Prayer sticks The Reading Room! Second tour complete it was now time for a casual cruise back to the hotel via the mouth of the Blue Nile. We were lucky and spotted one of the very shy hippos. It wasn't worth getting a shot, glimpses were fleeting and the distance too far to get anything worth keeping. Traditional reed boats being made Kids having fun Locals bathing and doing laundry just outside the resort Resort Jetty
  15. Day 10 Sun 11 Oct Gonder - Bahir Dar Another early start for our drive to Bahir Dar, the plan being to reach Kuriftu Resort on the edge of lake Tana before lunch time. We were accompanied by guide number two and a fresh driver with a white mini van, somewhat of overkill for a driver and three passengers. Gonder at sunrise Leaving Gonder on a Sunday had it’s distractions. I had to ask the driver to stop and jog back down the road to get these shots of these women waiting for the church to open. The drive was another interesting trip plenty of curvy mountainous roads to start that eventually turned into one long straight road. We stopped about mid way at a place known as God’s tomb for a comfort break and a photo opportunity where we attracted the attention of some local boys tending to their cows, goats and sheep as they came around the bend in the road. The road was quite busy with lorries and buses whizzing past. We were taken by surprise by a group of cyclists racing around the bend. We even saw one cheat hanging onto the back of a truck as he went by (another missed photo opportunity) We arrived at Kuriftu earlier than planned, our room wasn’t ready so we had a beer outside the restaurant at the side of the lake and an ice cream. Our room was huge, we had booked a suite as it was the only thing available at the time of booking. It was on the ground floor and had glass along all sides as a consequence and to maintain privacy trees and bushes had been grown outside and inside the curtains were kept closed. Giving the room the allure of a dark dungeon. There was a reception area with a bar and two very uncomfortable chairs, a bedroom with a four poster and a bathroom with questionable plumbing and electrics. This is the most luxurious resort in the area and the place we had chosen for a couple of days R&R mid trip. Bar area inside the ‘dungeon’ Questionable plumbing and electrics, loose light bulb next to the shower head The lunch menu was very good and the food excellent. Lots of local options with Pita bread offered as an alternative to injera. It rained after lunch fortunately we had booked in for our complimentary spa treatment when we arrived so the afternoon was not lost. It stopped raining by the time we were through with our massages. We took complimentary pre-dinner cocktails on the terrace overlooking the lake where we were encouraged to make conversation with the hosting team that could not speak English and just nodded with agreement with anything we said or asked. I was trying to find out what the hugh flock of birds were that came in to roost on the tree just to the left of the terrace and outside of our room. Our host had us convinced that they were endemic to the area, guide number two told me in the morning they were just your standard sacred ibis. We were eaten alive by the midges during our drinks. As it was the weekend and this was the place that the locals go the restaurant was busy. The food was excellent and accompanied by another bottle of tasty local wine.

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