Monthly Archives: October 2010

What happens when you drop your 500 ?

by Piper & filed under Blog.

What happens when you drop your 500……? keep Shooting, unless of coarse the glass shattered or it fails completely.

I had spent 8 great days in the mara, so I decided to head to Amboselli. I had not been there and I was hoping to find big herds of elephants creating dust walking through the desolate plains. It was a long day and a rough drive. Tired, I grabbed too much stuff,  my 500 with my 7D body attached slipped from my grip, and crashed down on the beautiful stone pathway. I reached down, picked it up, everything was in tack, no sounds of broke parts; I hoped for the best. I got to my room, raised the camera, pushed the shutter button…nothing. Did the initial trouble shooting, turned it off, took out the battery, played with the buttons several times…nothing. That was ok, I was having trouble with the body and it was my third back up.

I put the 500 on my 5D Mark II focused on a textured tree trunk, and it focused beautifully, fabulous. HOWEVER, there was that little voice nagging at me that I should download it and take a look on the computer. Blurry, more like a soft focus. Keeping the faith I mounted it on my Geizo tripod, and took the same shoot using both auto focus and then manual focus. Downloaded it…blurry.  I still had my 70-200 and my 1-4 extender, but most of the animals are quite far from the roads, in Amboselli.

Since my goals was to shoot animals in the dust for a moody artistic look, and generally with mist, dust, or fog, your are not going to get a sharp focus, I decided to shoot anyways.

Using my laptop, I just took one of the images and did some quick processing using NIK filters. With more time, and working on my desk top, I am inspired to create an unique moody series with a lot of the images.

Things like this happen all the time in the field. Don’t let it ruin your trip. Regroup and think out side of the box.

For %15 off NIK software, click the link at the bottom of my blog.

See my gallery Wild on Earth to see more examples of what can be done using this software.

The color and texture of life, makes it interesting

by Piper & filed under Blog.

The color and texture of life, makes it interesting. Seldom is the path as straight as we planned, and this is especially true in a creative life.We have a vision, we follow our hearts, and a lot of the time that means learning the hard way, pushing through the disappointment, and following the winding road.You have to smell the Manure to smell the roses, see the ugliness to enjoy the beauty and travel on rugged dirt roads to appreciate the tarmac! This journey has been one of extreme challenges and vast learning experiences. Rarely when you have the courage to jump into the unknown and untried do you have a smooth ride. It was all the previous photographic work I have done in Wildlife and Cultures that inspired me to spend 6 months in East Africa working on the project: Local Efforts, Global Results; A photographic documentary on the global benefits of improving life in an African village, which results in protecting the wildlife and environment. Prior to my journey in photography, I worked in the fashion industry for 20 years, designing both garments and textiles. It was my creative work in color and pattern and working in developing countries that also inspired my photographic work in vanishing cultures; it was Africa that renewed my passion for wildlife. Sharing my struggles of this journey, and the creative process as a photographer, is to inspire you to not give up on your vision when the obstacles just bring you to your knees and you feel you have failed. You only fail if you do not try, learn, and create a better bridge to the end goal.  How can you discover if you like doing something if you never try doing it? Although there are many, the most valuable lesson I have learnt is this is not a race, there is no deadline, and there is no finish line, only an amazing journey. One of my dearest friends presented me with a necklace prior to my departure. On it is written; a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. I have worn it everyday as a reminder. I took my first step several years ago when I picked up a camera, and I will only reach the thousandth mile when I no longer have the ability to create. I thought is was important to share this with those of you that have been following this project, know of the challenges, and that I have not been able to make the regular post that I had planned. But, first I thought you needed a splash of color, I know I did.

As a side note, Have you noticed when people are leaving comments, their picture also appears? I think this is great, and it is easy. Here is the link to create an aviator (a small pic or logo, just like you have in facebook) and it will appear when you leave comments.

Rescuing an Elephant

by Piper & filed under Africa, Blog, Wild life.

I actually wrote this about a week ago, but I am just able to get proper internet to upload it.

I am so glad to finally be in the Mara, sitting in front of my beautiful Safari tent, taking a mid day break, just relaxing and listening to the beautiful sounds of Africa. This is an experience everyone should have, at least once in life. I have been fortunate to experience this many times in the past 6 years and it is still just as fantastic as the first.

It has been hard to post from the field, but hope to have more ready soon, so when I get back into Nairobi, I can just upload them.

After about 2 weeks, I was finally able to get out of Nairobi. The team headed to East Tsavo to meet with the senior warden. From there we headed to Salt Lick, a private reserve, for some fieldwork, mainly desnaring. When we arrived, we were notified of a buffalo with a snare around its leg and waited for the vet to arrive. However, when the vet arrived from the David Sheldrick Wildlife trust (the organization that runs the elephant orphanage) we discovered it was actually an Elephant with a wounded leg.

I was put into the vehicle with the rangers and raced out for a briefing, before they proceeded with darting the elephant.  It was one of the most thrilling experiences; one of the many I have had through the lens of my camera. Even with the debriefing, it was a challenge to photograph. It was the perfect time of day, the beautiful golden light was lurking, but the elephant went down in the wrong direction, and I thought it best not to ask if we had time to shift him.

I have included a few graphic images, but thought it was important to the story and the dedication of the team in helping this amazing free roaming animal.

Darting an Elephant

The dart is on the left side.

Getting ready to pull the elephant to it’s side







Falling to it’s side


Keeping him cool


Cleaning the wound




Spraying antiseptic


Preparing to revive him














Since my arrival in Africa I have witnessed  the great work David Sheldrick Wildlife trust organization.  The work they do is amazing and I can stand behind telling you that the funds they receive are used for the purpose in which they are donated. To learn more, visit their website,