Lois Hild Photography

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About Lois Hild Photography

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    Wildlife Photographer/Artist
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    United States
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    Wildlife photography, conservation, ecotourism

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  1. I advise my safari guests on their camera options, but the questions you really need to ask yourself are: What is your budget? Will this camera be primarily used for wildlife photography, or is that just for this trip. If only this trip, what would the primary use be at other times? Do you have any interest in becoming more involved in photography in the future, or is point and shoot all you ever really want? (And that's OK) If you won't need the super telephoto at other times, then you might not want to pay for it. Basic DSLRs can be set on a fully automatic mode and not be complicated. I have a source in Nairobi for renting a Nikon 200-500mm lens, which on a crop sensor DSLR would give you a 300-750mm equivalent with better image quality than the superzooms which are optical and have a shutter lag which can be very annoying when shooting wildlife. And their electronic viewfinders can be less than optimal. Feel free to message me if you want.
  2. @@COSMIC RHINO Will be waiting to hear about your 2017 trip. It seems there is enough interest for the DSWT trip that I will probably be doing one a year at least, maybe two, so if you are interested in the future, just contact me. We plan it so that you can add on more safari, or do just the DSWT with us. I'm usually there for a month at a time going to different locations, but always include some time in the Mara. Love Lewa too. I will be back there in Jan. 2018 with a group of veterinarians.
  3. @@optig Thanks for the compliment. I have a great time with my guests. It was really something seeing the mating hyenas. We saw this pair mate twice and the next day we saw a different pair mate. I decided I must be the fertility Goddess of hyenas. I talked to people who had lived in Kenya all their lives and spent significant time in the bush and had never seen hyenas mating.
  4. My apologies for the long pause in this trip report. I've been feverishly busy answering people's questions about the June/July 2017 safari as the deposit deadline the end of this month draws nearer. I believe I left off as we arrived in Olare Motorogi and headed for Kicheche Bush Camp. As we were there for seven days and took two game drives a day with a picnic breakfast on every morning, I will spare you a blow by blow and hit the highlights, which might turn into a blow by blow as it was almost non-stop. This first morning game drive with Kicheche we scored a "Cat Trick"- lions, cheetah, and leopard all in one game drive. All before breakfast in fact. The Enkoyanai Pride Mohican, pride male Olare, the son of the infamous Fig Nolari's half grown son was still having trouble getting serious about hunting. Cheetah mothers have the patience of Job. We were to see all these characters repeatedly during our seven days in Olare Motorogi. Nelson seemed to be able to conjure up whatever or whoever we requested each drive. One rather unusual thing to note is that on two different occasions we saw two different pairs of hyenas mating. As most of you are probably aware, the female hyena produces so much testosterone that she developes a phallus. This makes copulation a rather delicate procedure. Unlike almost everything else hyenas do, the mating process is rather quiet and gentle. This seems like a good place to pause again. More soon...
  5. @@COSMIC RHINO - There are two options for staying at Ithumba. One is Ithumba Camp. It accommodates a maximum of eight in four tents and you must book the entire camp which does make it expensive if you don't have seven friends you want to spend a few days with. It is self-catering in that you must supply food and beverages. They supply all staff including the cook and all utensils, bedding, towels, etc. There is also the posher Ithumba Hill Camp. You don't have to hire the entire camp, but you must have at least four people. I'm not clear if it is self-catering or not. It is fairly new. As far as getting there, you may drive or take a charter flight. With eight a charter with Safarilink Cessna 208 isn't much more than a comparable scheduled flight AND they serve you a little brown bag snack on the 45 minute flight from Wilson! Since it's a charter you could fly direct from wherever you are, say Lewa. If going through Nairobi there are companies that will do the shopping for you and meal planning so that you would just have to pick up what you need already packaged up for you. The easiest would be to just join us July 2017 and let us make all the arrangements for you!
  6. @@pault Nelson was with two other regular Kicheche guests, they have over 160 Kicheche nights under their belts, when we got there and they always request Nelson. We had Charles for the first two days and then Nelson. You really can't get a bad guide at Kicheche. The other members of my group had Patrick and they enjoyed him immensely. June 23, 2016 was the first day of the safari and it ran continuously.
  7. Trip Report continued- We left off leaving Ithumba on our charter flight back to Nairobi to catch our scheduled flight to the new Olare airstrip in the Mara. This time, I assume because it was not a charter flight, I was not allowed to keep my checked luggage camera gear in my possession until boarding, but a small tip did get it put in a secure area and watched over by the head of baggage handling. Flying into the Mara was a sight as the migration had reached the Mara, though had yet to start crossing the Mara River. The guides were busy driving the airstrip to keep it clear of wildebeest. By this time the guests that had been a little nervous about the bush flights were enjoying the adventure and videoing landing "selfies" starring themselves as "Bad Asses." LOL As usual the drive to camp was a game drive in of itself. Kicheche guide Charles Wandero displayed great patience and persistence in helping me get these shots of a bee eater that had not read the behavior sections of the book that state that they return to the same branch. Soon we came upon members of the Enkoyanai pride with a fresh wildebeest kill. This was the first lion sighting for the newbies, and it was a good one. A few more giraffe and some zebra and it was off to Kicheche Bush Camp for lunch.
  8. @@pault - yes, the Wild Dog sighting was special, though at a bit of a distance. I've seen them much close, and later in the trip (stay tuned) saw them much closer. The first time I saw them was in the Tsavo regions, so they are definitely there. Thanks for the info about the green cast. I'm working off my laptop. I'll have to check my desktop monitor when I get back to work. It's just so odd that it only shows up once I post and changing color space has no effect.
  9. @ Imonmm- I so agree. A safari is a journey of the soul.
  10. First, if anyone can tell me what's going on with the green cast to my images, I would be deeply grateful. My monitor is calibrated and this site is the only place they look sickly. I've tried changing my color space. It looks the same in sRGB, ProPhotoRGB, and AdobeRGB. So if anyone has any ideas, I'm all ears. Now on with the report. I left off as we were packing up to leave Umani Springs, where I managed to leave my Bushnell binoculars. I hope people have been using and enjoying them, but leaving them there. I'll be back in June again! We took the obligatory group photo: and head to Ithumba by way of Kwibezi town. We met up with Jambi and Peter who brought restocked us with food and Amarula on their way to check out Tawi Conservancy and Lodge in the Amboseli region. Ask me about that if interested. Don't go without asking. We stopped in Kibwezi for a short walk through the market. It was eye-opening for the less traveled members of the group, but I got two marriage proposals. Not bad for a 59 year-old woman. The road to Ithumba Camp in the northern most part of Tsavo East is the typical rough, dusty African road, but better than the road into the Mara. We had a brief stop in a very small village to pick up our camp cook and headed to the park. We accessed the park through a ranger station that is not usually used for park access, but as guests of DSWT you can enter here. Camp is not far at this point. The stockades are a little farther from the camp here and are definitely driving distance for safety and comfort. Here the accommodations are Meru style tents with attached bathrooms- outside surrounded by rock wall. Water is solar heated. Ok, not my best Milk Way image, but how often do you get to take a Milky Way shot from your commode? Camp consists of eight tents, a large lounge area with an upstairs viewing area over looking a couple of small watering holes. The staff spreads seed daily to attract a variety of bird life and ground squirrel. The at the watering hole we saw the typical baboons, warthogs, various antelope, Greater Kudu. The camp is littered with Kirk's Dik Dik that you almost fall over going to and from your tent. There was great debate over whether we had a leopard in camp one night. Genet come each evening and try and steal food off the buffet table. This area of Tsavo is very remote and brushy. The best wildlife viewing is really from camp itself. We heard lions every night, but didn't see any. Wild dogs are in the area, more about that later. Tent at night. Again not my best night work. I was a little hurried being concerned about the possible leopard sighting the night before I wasn't feeling too comfortable in the dark. Interesting standoff at the watering hole between a juvenile Tawny Eagle and a Vulterine Guinea Fowl. The schedule at the stockades here is the same as at Umani Springs. The big difference here is that this unit has been long established and has a history of orphans having been successfully reintroduced into the wild. Many return to the stockades and mud bath/watering hole to visit on an almost daily basis. Additionally, many wild elephants have found safety, water, and the ability to sneak some food from the orphans at the stockades, so you may see as many as 50 elephants at a time, so of them magnificent bulls. Because of this, mingling with the orphans can be more limited if the wild elephants ar]e around, but you are still VERY close for some unbelievable photo opportunities, both at the stockade and the mud bath. Wendy is an ex-orphan who successfully reintegrated and successfully bred to produce a female calf who is being called Wiva. She is being looked after by a group of nannies who she keeps very busy. She had them in a panic the afternoon that African Wild Dogs showed up at the stockades. She wanted to lead the charge against the dogs even though it didn't appear she knew what she was charging. She just wanted to join in the excitement. Four more calves to ex-orphans are expected at Ithumba over the next 18 months. One of the most incredible things I witnessed there I didn't photograph. Benjamin, a soft-spoken man, is the head keeper at Ithumba, One day at the mud bath and water trough several massive wild bulls had finished drinking but were not moving away and allowing the younger elephants to come and get a drink. Benjamin watched this for a few minutes, then walked over to these wild bulls, dwarfed by them and spoke softy to them. We couldn't hear what he said. They listened, and turned and walked away. Benjamin returned to us and our dumbstruck faces. We asked him what he said. He told us he just told them that they had had their turn and they were being bullies. It was time to let the little ones have their turn. We also witnessed wild bulls obviously interacting with the young orphans and teaching them the proper mud bathing technique, encouraging them to come into the mud bath when they were a little hesitant. It's an amazing experience watching all the interactions. One morning after visiting the stockades we took a picnic breakfast and drove to the Tiva River which was not more than a few connected collections of water due to the recent dry conditions in the Tsavo region, but very pretty anyway. Good for bird life. We also saw some Lesser Kuda, and just to add some adventure, one of the guides got one of the Land Cruisers stuck in the sand. Now we've got ourselves a safari! Everyone accepted my explanation that this is just part of the adventure of traveling in Africa and took in stride as 11 of us (8 + driver + cook and assistant) piled into the remaining Land Cruiser and headed back to camp and sent help. After four nights at Ithumba our charter flight came into the airstrip which is next to camp to return us to Nairobi to catch our flight to the Mara.
  11. @@COSMIC RHINO LaBan left Lewa in May and is now somewhere in the Mara. I'm trying to locate him.
  12. @@SafariChick I put the trip together primarily through Facebook groups. Most no one except the married couple knew each other. In spite of this the group blended wonderfully. Perhaps not having safaried before and with me being the designated leader and setting the schedule did not leave room for discord between members. When a group of friends travel together often there is no designated decision maker. I have another group going in June 2017. If you are interested I can send you info.
  13. Nolari's single male cub. Entertaining for us, a bit exasperating for Nolari.
  14. Amani's cubs in Mara North Consevancy Early July 2016
  15. Back from my most recent safari. Still think sundowners have their place, Kicheche guides will position you for great sunset shots, then whip out the sundowners. You get the best of both worlds.

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