Again, I think I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. This is for Photography 101: Double.
In addition to writing, photography and art have always been my passions. I use all three to capture the essence of the places I’ve been in my life. Travel, by the way, is another passion, which makes a great quartet.
I’d like to share here some of the images I’ve captured with my camera over the past several years – just a few of the thousands of images I’ve snapped across the globe. Missing from my collection are photos taken during my visits to South and Central America – I was unable to take a camera on those trips, so I’m limited to describing them in writing.
The different faces of Africa
The people and places of the continent are a lot more varied than most foreigners think.
And, of course, one mustn’t forget the animals
Just a few shots of Cambodian scenes, one of the ten countries in East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and Pacifica I’ve visited.
Just a few snaps of western Europe.
Finally, I’ve done thousands of photos of various regions right here in the good old USA – animals, people, and places of interest – some quite literally in my back yard.
Just a sampling which I sincerely hope you’ve enjoyed.
Highway Queen is Zimbabwean author Virginia Phiri’s third novel, and although it’s fiction, it reads as if it was ripped from the headlines during Ziombabwe’s torturous era of hyperinflation and political madness – it has the resounding ring of truth that will reverberate in your mind long after you stop reading.
Phiri plunges the reader into the life of Sophie Mumba after her husband Steven is retrenched (a euphemism for all the workers who were permanently laid off when the country’s economy went into an uncontrolled free fall), succumbs to depression, and takes to drink. Sophie, like millions of African women before and since, is left to support her two children and ailing mother-in-law.
In unadorned prose, replete with richly textured descriptions of the people and environment during a time of madness, it chronicles Sophie’s own fall from grace, as she finds herself forced into prostitution in her desperate attempt to keep her family together. She faces violence, indifference, and the specter of HIV/AIDS with a sense of futility leavened by an innate sense of dignity and responsibility not shared by many of the men in her life.
Highway Queen is a continuation of her previous works, Desperate and Destiny, and is dedicated to ‘the women who have sacrificed their lives, health and happiness in order to fend for their families and at times communities.’
To most Westerners, and not a few Africans, the scenes in this book will be disturbing. They paint a picture of the continent that is often overlooked. But, for those who want a better understanding of the travails of a continent that has more than its share of the world’s problems, and a look at how some cope with those travails, this is recommended reading.
Abasi lives in the Rustlands, an area of Takataka Dumps, one of the largest landfills in Tanzania. He lives alone in a part of the dump avoided by others who inhabit The Filth, that area of the dump with newer trash, but more danger. Abasi lives alone, partly by choice, and partly because he is zeru, or albino. His lack of pigmentation makes him a target of ridicule, abuse and fear from others who do not understand his condition, or the target of death and mutilation from those who think the zeru is a source of some magical power.
When a marauding witch doctor and his gang, looking for slave laborers, invade the dump and spot Abasi, his life, already miserable since his family was slaughtered by drunken fellow villagers, takes a decided turn for the worse. His only hope is the troop of baboons who occupy Baboon Hill, on the border of the Rustlands.
In Zeru by Philip Vargas, we see a world that few people are even aware of; a world of intense poverty, and the violence it breeds; a world of superstition; and as world of survival and hope. Though a fictional account, Vargas’s tale is an authentic rendering of life in Africa for those who are different, especially people suffering from albinism, who are brutalized in even some of the more developed countries of the continent.
Zeru is not a book for the faint hearted. It has vividly painted scenes of violence and bloodshed that will sicken many. But, in this case, Vargas has merely done what a good writer must, he has held up a mirror to life as it is, and in so doing, hopefully, made us more aware of what needs to be fixed.
This is an easy five star book, which I received a free review copy of, and I look forward to the promised sequel.
I love taking photos of all kinds of wildlife. One usually thinks of wandering far afield when doing this, and in truth I have done that, with photo safaris in Africa, Europe, Asia, and many parts of the United States. On July 4, 2013, though, I fell and hurt my hip, and since then I’ve been pretty much confined to my house or hobbling around with the aid of a cane, which you might think would inhibit my ability to get good wildlife photos. Not so. My deck looks out on a wilderness park, and my neighbor has a profusion of flowering plants in his back yard. Butterflies, birds, squirrels, and many other small creatures can frequently be seen hopping, perching, or flying around in both places, as well as my small back lawn.
For the past thirteen days, I’ve spent many hours sitting under an umbrella on my deck, camera in hand. I’ve documented an interesting array of nature’s creatures who’ve come to visit, all without having to move more than ten feet – to the rail of the deck for a clearer shot in some cases. More often than not, I’m able to just sit in my chair and by using my telephoto lens, get some pretty good shots of my visitors. Here is a small offering of what I’ve been able to get. I’d be interested in how many readers have also documented the wildlife around their homes. If you do a post of your photos, please link them to this post so that I and other readers can also enjoy them. Happy shooting.
Located in West-Central Africa on the Atlantic coast, Cameroon has Nigeria to the north, Chad to the northeast, Central African Republic to the east, and the countries of Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and Republic of the Congo to the south. Its location makes it easy to see why many consider it the ‘crossroads of Africa;’ a place where many tribes and cultures meet. A francophone country, with both French and English as the official languages (although French predominates), it has more than 50 tribes, each with its own language.
I had a chance to visit Cameroon in May as part of a Canadian-US media delegation invited to participate in the country’s 38th Unity Day celebration. After the Unity Day parade, my delegation toured Yaoundé and its environs, including a visit to a primate sanctuary, the tourist village of Ebogo, and along the coast, from Batanga Beach in the south to the sprawling port city of Douala (the country’s largest city).
During our tours, we encountered the exotic cuisine, a fusion of France and West Africa, and saw a lot of what the country has to offer in friendly people and magnificent scenery. The visit was all too short, but nonetheless interesting, and I hope one day to return to explore those regions that I didn’t have time for on this short one-week visit.
Following are some of the photos of this memorable journey.
Okay, this week’s photo challenge is Signs. I hesitated, but as I was going over photos I took recently in Cameroon, I came across this sign for a restaurant I stopped at after visiting the tourist village, Ebogo. Yes, by the way, the sign is accurate – they had serpent on the menu; boa to be exact.
And, there’s this banner from the Unity Day Parade the day before in Yaounde. I wonder if they realize the implications of this sign? There were dozens of slogans – typical of autocratic, regimented societies, and this is one – but, this one really caught my eye.
Finally, I couldn’t resist this sign – it’s a Francophone country, but they’ve coined this ‘English’ word – ‘Blackitude.’
I’m participating in the online<a href=”http://www.LetsBeWild.com” target=”_blank”>adventure travel and photography magazine</a> LetsBeWild.com’s <a href=”http://www.letsbewild.com/photo-challenge/” target=”_blank”> Wild Weekly Photo Challenge for bloggers</a>This week’s Challenge is: <a href=”http://www.letsbewild.com/photo-challenge/wild-weekly-photo-challenge-20-sunrise/” target=”_blank”>Sunrise, so get up early this week and take some shots of the sky!