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11 tips for a successful photo safari September 30, 2009

Posted by tracybarnett in Adventure, Africa, Biking.
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Giraffe, Crescent Island, Lake Naivasha, Kenya (Fred Tooley)

Giraffe, Crescent Island, Lake Naivasha, Kenya (Fred Tooley)

Good nature photography takes years of painstaking study and practice, first-rate equipment and a great deal of patience. But as Houston architect Fred Tooley discovered, spectacular shots are there for the taking on safari, and you don’t have to be a professional photographer to get them.

I asked him to share his top ten photo tips, and he was generous – he even gave us an extra. For a more extensive collection of his photos, and other Houston safari travelers, see African Adventures, and keep an eye out for their story in Buzz Magazines.

1. If this is the trip of a lifetime (like it was for us) it is not the time to get by with a point-and-shoot camera. Use a good quality SLR with interchangeable lenses, You can rent them online or from a camera shop if you do not want to buy. You wouldn’t take a cheap gun on an African hunt, so why take a cheap camera for this other kind of shooting?

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African adventures September 22, 2009

Posted by tracybarnett in Adventure, Africa.
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This week I am living vicariously through the adventures of three Houston couples who experienced three very different safari adventures. The article, which will appear in the November edition of The Buzz Magazines, will detail the highlights of each adventure and some tips for traveling to Africa.

Three of the travelers shared some spectacular photography, which I’ve put together in a slide show for you here. The first two photographers, Fred Tooley and Patti Allender, went on photo safaris in East Africa; the third, Suzanne Shelby, went on a big game hunt on the South African border with Botswana.

Sharon Tooley and Suzanne Shelby shared some tips, lessons learned from their travels, which I am including below; they’re an excellent resource for those who might be contemplating a trip to Africa. Meanwhile, sit back and enjoy the splendid photo tour that their labors yielded.

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Cultural Safari in Tanzania July 1, 2009

Posted by tracybarnett in Africa, Food, Sustainability.
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When I told people I was planning a trip to Tanzania, the first question was: “Are you going on safari?”

Well, I didn’t see giraffes and elephants and lions. But since “safari” is the Swahili word for “journey,” I can honestly say I did!

Look for the full story in the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News travel section, or just click here to read it online. Meanwhile, njema safari (happy travels)!

TANZANIAFor more stories from this incredible journey through the real Africa, from celebrating the election of Obama in hubub of Dar es Salaam to making new friends in the Bukoba countryside, see Tracy’s blog, Postcards from Tanzania.

BUWEA women thumbnailFor a story about the amazing group of women who drew me to this remote region, and how they are changing it, see From Texas to Tanzania: San Antonio network changes African lives.

Zanzibar thumbnailAnd for story and videos from an exotic little side trip to the legendary Spice Islands — a land of Omani towers, red colobus monkeys, sparkling white beaches and mahogany forests — see Hakuna Matata in Zanzibar.

From prayers to profits in Tanzania May 12, 2009

Posted by tracybarnett in Africa.
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ITHAWA VILLAGE, Lake Victoria Region, Tanzania — It was during a brief respite in a drenching downpour that Jonia Pastori greeted us, huddled under our umbrellas in the schoolyard. She beamed with pride, seemingly oblivious to the rivulets streaming down her face.

For the children who clustered around her, on break from classes, it was time for tea – the only sustenance that most of them would have until they went home. For Jonia, it was time to do business.

The children lingered as long as they could, taking in the spectacle of two blonde-haired mzungus, or white people, taking pictures and speaking in a strange language. Finally their teacher appeared to usher them back to the classroom, leaving Jonia to tell her story – a story that winds its way back to San Antonio, Texas, and an extraordinary network of women created there.

Keep an eye on the San Antonio Express-News SA Life section for the full story. For those readers who don’t have access to the print edition, I’ll post the link here.