Tag Archives: travel photography

The April 2017 Show And Tell

It is virtually impossible to not be greatly affected by your surroundings and culture in your worldview. It’s also virtually impossible to understand other cultures without a frame of reference. It’s hard to obtain a frame of reference without actually going, but the next best thing is pictures and video. So consider this blog to be my best attempt to provide a frame of reference. I’ve been back from Ethiopia for about three weeks now. Frequently after a trip, I pause my pontificating for a bit and just post pictures. There are unfortunately a lot of pictures I can’t show. However, here are a number of pictures from places we went and the people we met on the street. More later. Enjoy.

Our frequent server of coffee and good food.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A camel train going down the road.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aerial shot of farms and villages East of Addis Ababa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Communion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Woman in the butcher shop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A man in thought on the street.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A night scene in Dire Dawa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An immense tree in the ancient city of Harar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vegetable sellers in Harar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kids outside the hotel in Dire Dawa. Most, I believe, were professional beggars sent out by their parents.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The mountains of eastern Ethiopia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even the goats chew Qat here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The desert between Harar and Dire Dawa.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Four Continents In 24 Hours

I am now back from Ethiopia. My plan was to write at least a post or two from in the field. Unfortunately, a few days before I left, electronic devices in carry-on bags were restricted on flights from a number of middle-east airports including one I would be traveling through. This meant that I was going to have to check my iPad in my luggage. Due to experiences some of my fellow travelers have had with airport workers with sticky fingers, I opted not to bring any more expensive gear than was absolutely necessary.

Though I would have liked to have been able to write from the field, by best thoughts on the things I’ve seen and experienced when I travel often come not during, but weeks or even months afterward. I need time to process and ruminate on things. I took a couple thousand pictures and hours of video on this trip, and looking at those will also help me to put things together.

If my writing seems a bit off, it’s because I’m still jet lagged. I was up for almost 48 hours straight this time coming home, due to the schedule and some very uncomfortable flights. (I truly hate middle seats). I traveled a different airline this time than I have before, Turkish Air to be specific. I had some initial trepidation about flying this airline, but after the experience I can honestly say I would do it again. The food, by airline food standards, was actually pretty good. Furthermore, I had an eight hour layover in Istanbul on the way home. Turkish Air, though they don’t seem to advertise it, will give you a free tour of the city with a guide on a nice bus if you have a long layover. We opted to do this, and I’ve got to say that Istanbul is a fantastic city to visit. At least the parts that I visited were modern and clean, but full of ancient historic sights everywhere.

So the long and the short of it is this. I had lunch in Eastern Ethiopia, dinner in Addis Ababa, Turkish coffee in Istanbul, then I flew to New York where I had pizza in Brooklyn with a very old friend. In Istanbul I was able to see Asia across the water as I drank my coffee. All told it took about thirty six hours, but from leaving Africa to landing in New York was about 24 hours. It was not the most relaxing way to travel, but it was an adventure, and I was able to add Turkey to the list of countries I’ve been to.

Soon I will start writing about Ethiopia, but I need to get some rest first so I can put two words together and have them make sense.

The Blue Mosque in Istanbul.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Morning in Istanbul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pizza in New York

Ersatz Misir Wot

Tonight I’m writing this blog because in less than 60 days, I leave for Ethiopia. It doesn’t seem like it, but it will be two years since my last trip to Ethiopia. I was supposed to be going in November, but the security situation on the ground wouldn’t allow it. Last year I had work to do in Kenya and couldn’t go. Now the time is coming. 

One of my favorite foods in Ethiopia, and a taste that I miss is misir wot, a dish made from red lentils, garlic, onions, and the ubiquitous berbere spice, which is in nearly all Ethiopian food. This week I was excited to have found some locally; excited until I made misir wot with it, and found out that it was nothing like the authentic spice I knew so well. Nevertheless it was better than nothing, and I was able to give my friends an ersatz taste of Ethiopia.

I’m also writing this blog today to get any kinks out of the system I’ll be writing from. I normally write on a computer, but I will only have an iPad with me, so I’m writing from that. I’m also testing out transferring files over wifi from my camera to the iPad, then editing a picture with Snapseed. So far, so good, though with the snags I’ve run into, I’m glad I’m practicing at home first. 

I will be writing my normal blog as I get thoughts worth writing, but I’ll also be writing more about the preparation for the upcoming trip as it gets closer. Until next time…

A Year In Photographs.

Each year, I try to publish some of my favorite photos of the year. This year, as I went through my files for the various things I took pictures of this year, it became apparent to my the vast diversity of things I shot this year. Up until this point, I hadn’t realized this year was different from any other. Sure, I take pictures in Africa every year, but this year there was so much more than that. From Eastern Ethiopia to shooting a wedding in the Bahamas to documenting life on a fishing boat, I truly have a lot that I’m happy to have captured this year. I’m posting quite a few photos in this blog, and there are many more I could have posted. Some made it in for the technical quality of the photo, some for the backstory or the story the picture tells. Hopefully the latter two will represent well. Please enjoy. I look forward to the adventures that 2016 brings. All photos can be clicked on for a larger view.

Men working on a shrimping boat off the coast of South Carolina.
Men working on a shrimping boat off the coast of South Carolina.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

wide panorama of the Kibera slum, largest urban slum in Africa
wide panorama of the Kibera slum, largest urban slum in Africa

 

 

 

 

 

 

A patchwork of farms surround a small village in Ethiopia.
A patchwork of farms surround a small village in Ethiopia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time goes by around a bride and groom in downtown Charleston, South Carolina.
Time goes by around a bride and groom in downtown Charleston, South Carolina.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Environmental portrait of Sarah Sanford-Rausch.
Environmental portrait of Sarah Sanford-Rausch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

People watch as a whale shark and manta ray swim past at the Georgia Aquarium.
People watch as a whale shark and manta ray swim past at the Georgia Aquarium.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of my favorite wedding shots of the year.
One of my favorite wedding shots of the year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How can you not love this elderly man from Ethiopia?
How can you not love this elderly man from Ethiopia?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The gratitude of a woman saved from starvation.
The gratitude of a woman saved from starvation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A portrait I did this fall on Daufuskie Island, South Carolina.
A portrait I did this fall on Daufuskie Island, South Carolina.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This picture for me sums up what Harar, Ethiopia looks and feels like.
This picture for me sums up what Harar, Ethiopia looks and feels like.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A shot at sunset as the storm rolled in near my home.
A shot at sunset as the storm rolled in near my home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My favorite of the wedding I shot in Hopetown, The Bahamas this year.
My favorite of the wedding I shot in Hopetown, The Bahamas this year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The captain of the fishing vessel I was shooting on this fall.
The captain of the fishing vessel I was shooting on this fall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time lapse of the waves rolling in past the bride and groom.
Time lapse of the waves rolling in past the bride and groom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Candid portrait of a girl in Kibera, Kenya.
Candid portrait of a girl in Kibera, Kenya.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Action portrait of dancers for a Beaufort Lifestyles Magazine.
Action portrait of dancers for a Beaufort Lifestyles Magazine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

time exposure of young man standing in flowing water looking at dead flooded trees
time exposure of young man standing in flowing water looking at dead flooded trees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Woman walking with a donkey in the highlands of Ethiopia.
Woman walking with a donkey in the highlands of Ethiopia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author Pat Conroy in this environmental portrait in his home.
Author Pat Conroy in this environmental portrait in his home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of my favorite Ethiopia shots ever, taken in Dire Dawa.
One of my favorite Ethiopia shots ever, taken in Dire Dawa.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Portrait taken for Beaufort Lifestyles Magazine.
Portrait taken for Beaufort Lifestyles Magazine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pastors totally lost in prayer in Ethiopia.
Pastors totally lost in prayer in Ethiopia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time exposure of waves and driftwood in the ocean at sunset
Time exposure of waves and driftwood in the ocean at sunset

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A wedding portrait I shot on Fripp Island.
A wedding portrait I shot on Fripp Island.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ethiopian athletes playing football (soccer) at dawn.
Ethiopian athletes playing football (soccer) at dawn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Short time exposure of traffic in downtown Nairobi, Kenya.
Short time exposure of traffic in downtown Nairobi, Kenya.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I photo I did for a couple's engagement this fall.
I photo I did for a couple’s engagement this fall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kids hamming it up for the camera in Kibera, Kenya.
Kids hamming it up for the camera in Kibera, Kenya.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoying a "Stoney" with my wife in Kibera.
Enjoying a “Stoney” with my wife in Kibera.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of my couples in an avenue of oaks.
One of my couples in an avenue of oaks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Athletes receiving new shoes donated from Nike in Ethiopia.
Athletes receiving new shoes donated from Nike in Ethiopia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A couple watching the storm roll past just after their wedding.
A couple watching the storm roll past just after their wedding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back From Kibera

Less than forty eight hours ago, we got back from Kibera. All in all, I’d say the trip was a success. We were able to build good relationships with the people in the church and help out in the daycare. We were also able to help in some financial ways, but I see these as secondary to the job we came to do, which was build understanding of the issues and the people so we can partner for the long term. None of that can be done if we go with blinders on and a singular goal to build something or feed somebody. We are broken in certain ways, some of us financially, some of us spiritually, some of us in other ways. The goal of missions is to help each other overcome these various forms of brokenness. As I think over the issues I saw and more is revealed to me over time, I will write about these more in depth.

The trip home was an ordeal. My wife got sick to her stomach half way through the first flight, and is still a bit uneasy two days later. It was to the point where she came that close (you can’t see me thumb and forefingers about half an inch apart) to not getting on the plane from Zurich back to the United States. A couple missionaries saw what was going on and came to pray for Lynn. She met someone in the last five minutes before boarding who had some prescription nausea medication, and she was able to settle her stomach enough to board. God truly puts the right people in the right place.  My friends wife also got sick to her stomach on the plane, but not to that extent. Then we had to get through the nightmare that is customs in Dulles (very close to dullard), where everything is done in the least efficient manner possible. Our plane was boarding by the time we got through that, but we still needed to get to a different section of the airport entirely. As I rounded the corner I saw the sign that said the next train would be coming in 23 seconds. I shouted back the information to everybody else, and we managed to get onto that train. After getting off, I ran ahead to the gate and found they were about to close it. I told them my group was right behind me, and they let us on. I can feel my blood pressure rising even as I write about it. Nonetheless, we made it on our last plane and back home.

I have been going through the pictures from the trip. I have far fewer this time. As I mentioned in a previous blog, my role was very different for this trip, and I was watching out for three other people rather than focusing all my attention on taking pictures. Nevertheless I have some that give what I feel is a good representation of our trip, and I will post more later as I have something to write about. Enjoy.

child in Obedis' daycare in Kibera.
child in Obedis’ daycare in Kibera.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Children on the outskirts of Kibera. They were there as I shot video interviews.
Children on the outskirts of Kibera. They were there as I shot video interviews.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taking dinner together
Taking dinner together

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carl having a good time with the kids.
Carl having a good time with the kids.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lynn in her element, teaching the kids, and trying to learn some Swahili.
Lynn in her element, teaching the kids, and trying to learn some Swahili.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kibera right after a heavy rainstorm.
Kibera right after a heavy rainstorm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A child looking in the window of the daycare.
One of Obeid’s daughters looking in the window of the daycare.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Obedi making ugali.
Obedi making ugali.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nairobi shortly after dark.
Nairobi shortly after dark.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beauty in the little things.
Beauty in the little things.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bunny and Obedi walking through Kibera.
Bunny and Obedi walking through Kibera.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The market on the railroad tracks.
The market on the railroad tracks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An overview of Kibera.
An overview of Kibera.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Masha and Gaz, great guys.
Masha and Gaz, great guys.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the daycare kids.
One of the daycare kids.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Week In Kibera

I’ve been in Kibera for about a week now, and honestly have been too busy to write up to this point. I was terribly sick yesterday, but fortunately had a lot of people praying for me, and I recovered very quickly. Thanks to everyone who was praying. The trip is still ongoing, so there will not be much in the way of reflection. That will undoubtedly come later. I can say that I have learned a lot this week, and have more questions than I started with. They are not bad questions though, and I’m sure they will lead to growth and a bettering of my understanding about how to partner with the church in Africa. For now then, here are some pictures from the trip. When I get home and I have had time to ponder, I will write more.
For those of you following this blog for the photography aspect, all of these pictures were shot with my small Canon G1X. The large SLR frankly was just too conspicuous and risky to pull out. U til next time.

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Tent Making

In the book of acts, Paul is described as a tentmaker. “Then Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. There he became acquainted with a Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently arrived from Italy with his wife, Priscilla. They had left Italy when Claudius Caesar deported all Jews from Rome. Paul lived and worked with them, for they were tentmakers just as he was.”   Paul didn’t simply live and travel through the generosity of others, he worked as he went. He had a trade.

I have to be honest. Fundraising is my least favorite part of missions and traveling for the church. It takes a huge amount of time and effort, and I don’t really like asking people for money. Fortunately, I have a trade that helps. Whereas Paul made tents, I take pictures. The blessing for me is that I can take pictures anywhere I go, and when I come home, they become art that helps fund my next trip. It’s at least partially self-sustaining. Today I sold two art pieces, the proceeds from which will probably fund about ten percent of our upcoming trip to Kenya. It truly is a blessing to be able to do this.  So with that thought, I just wanted to post the two pictures that sold, and put up a few others that I’m thinking of replacing them with on the Thibault Gallery wall in Beaufort, South Carolina. I’d actually like feedback on what people would like to see as art, so opinions are welcome. What I like is frequently not what other people like, and vice versa.

A widow in Ethiopia surveys the small field where she grows wheat for her family.
A widow in Ethiopia surveys the small field where she grows wheat for her family.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baskets of fresh tea leaves sit under a tree in Kimunye, Kenya
Baskets of fresh tea leaves sit under a tree in Kimunye, Kenya

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A waterfall flows through the lush rainforest on the slopes of Mt Kenya. This is a possible art piece.
A waterfall flows through the lush rainforest on the slopes of Mt Kenya. This is a possible art piece.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Athletes train in the early morning dust of the Ethiopian highlands. Possible art piece.
Athletes train in the early morning dust of the Ethiopian highlands. Possible art piece.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A man drives his horse and wagon over the cobblestones in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia. Possible art piece.
A man drives his horse and wagon over the cobblestones in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia. Possible art piece.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

wide panorama of mount Kenya at dawn. Possible art piece.
wide panorama of mount Kenya at dawn. Possible art piece.

 

Revisiting The Woman Who Had Never Seen Her Face.

The woman who had not seen her face.
The woman who had not seen her face.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back in November of 2014, on my first trip to Ethiopia, I met a woman who had either never seen her face or had not seen it in a very long time. I had gone out walking through the countryside one evening and came across a woman with incredible character in her face. She was standing in front of a simple hut that was no more than ten feet by ten feet, made out of sticks with mud packed between them to keep the breeze out on the cold nights up in the mountains. She smiled at me as walked past, and I simply had to get a picture of her. As a courtesy, I showed the image to her on the back of the camera. When I did, the reaction was not what I had expected. Usually it’s either joy or embarrassment, but in this case, she just looked at the image and began to touch the parts of her face. Evidently what was on the screen was not how she pictured herself. I also found this to be the case with some other people I have taken pictures of since then. I took pictures of a pastor on my most recent trip in April of this year, and after seeing it, he indicated that he had not known that his hair was gray. I think there are just not very many mirrors around, and not a lot of standing water for people to see their reflections.

When I come back to an area in Africa that I’ve been to before, I try to bring pictures back of the people I’ve either stayed with or who I plan to visit again. I simply had to give this woman a picture of herself. On the last evening I was in the village, I went out walking again, hoping to find her. Just as before, she was sitting outside her simple home, looking out over the beautiful view of the farm-covered mountains of Ethiopia, making a grass basket. I greeted her, and even though I had a heavy beard this time, she recognized me. I have her the picture, and here are the results.

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Here’s a reference to my previous blog post about my first experience with the woman who had not seen her face. https://southsudantraveler.wordpress.com/2014/11/18/not-seeing-yourself-for-a-very-long-time/

 

Show And Tell

So I’m back in the land of the Internet now, Addis Ababa to be specific. I had intended to post something thoughtful about something that happened in this trip, but unfortunately it didn’t save, for some reason or another. Consequently I’ve shown up unprepared. The alternative then is a sort of show and tell about a few of my favorite unedited photos from this trip to Ethiopia. I’m sure I will do some cropping and editing later, but I have some shots that I’m very happy with even as they are.

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