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The “lure” and knowledge that shortly I’ll be caforting amongst the wildlife of the largest in-land wetland in the world makes the distasteful chore of packing camera gear and luggage and preparing for the journey palatable. Thinking about the possibility of maybe even ‘seeing’ a jaguar (and maybe the young one recently born in the area we will be in) makes the reality of how “un-fun” airline travel has become---it’s not even worth much more thought than that. Guess the old saying “you gotta take the bitter with the sweet” is true, and I’ll be doing it again and again for as long as I’m able because I know I’m going to come back with some memorable experiences and wonderful images to share with you all. Want to mention that I’m planning another “recon” mission to a couple of other areas of the Pantanal (which by the way is ten times the size of the Everglades lending different flora & fauna on all four corners) to scout out other photo opps that are interesting, safe for our equipment and safe for us to travel within, enjoy a few basic luxuries, and all the other aspects of making my tours desirable.
Speaking of safety, I’d like to lightly touch on that topic. Please be advised and thoroughly understand that I, personally, have many reasons to return home safely, in one piece, in tact etc. etc. I take every precaution one possibly can to make sure you, my traveling companions, and I are well taken care of, kept out of harms way, as well as our gear. I don’t get involved with the politics, but I do have the means to check out any situation that might be harmful or detrimental to my tours. Believe me, not for one second do I take any chances. That being said, I also wish to make it clear that I do not want to crawl into bed and spend the rest of my life with the sheets pulled up over my head!!! I do firmly believe that most of the people of this world are good, kind, hard-working & loving. There are nut-cases, bad people and bad situations everywhere. I feel I am in as much danger going to the Miami airport as I am in Kenya, or Heathrow, England, or Sao Paulo in Brazil. I have to journey to those places in order to get to some of the most magnificent scenics and wildlife on this globe. COME JOIN ME!!! It’s fun!!! All of life is a journey---even at the airports. Unfortunately, they are a necessary evil….. “You gotta eat your vegetables before you get to the dessert”.
Want to mention that there still are two spots available on my African Safari Tour. We will be visiting the fabulously photographic Masai Mara shooting herds of elephants with their new babies, cheetahs, prides of lions who, at this time of year, are teaching their young to hunt, and if we are enormously lucky (which I usually am) we will be graced with the presence of a leopard or two. I always include a trip to Lake Nakuru as the panoramic views and reflections of thousands of pink flamingos within a few yards of my camera is a breathtaking experience. Eagles, storks, hippos, crowned cranes, water buffalo, giraffes, baboon families and numerous other species are always part of the landscape. The native people of Kenya are as colorful and photographable as any of the beautiful species of birds we will see along the way. I will be including at least one visit to a Masai village giving a first-hand look at their life-style – though 360 degrees opposite from how we live – it still offers us some insight and perhaps a lesson or two on other worlds. Samburu National Park is full of zebras, the comical-looking wart hog who was blessed with no brain and no common sense---I say blessed as he has no idea the dangers he lives amongst as he innocently forages along the plains and grasslands of this arid land.
My African tours to parts of Kenya (and the most sought after photo experiences) are always a life-altering experience for me as well as any of my tour guests. You’d have to have no soul not to feel you are going back to the beginning of time and the beginning mankind’s entrance to this world.
As most of you are aware, I keep my tours small and intimate allowing me (and my guides) to give the maximum attention to my guests. I’m sorry but the Madagascar Tour is completely full, and has been almost from the beginning of my announcement to travel there. There is no doubt in my mind that, if all goes well, I’ll be booking another tour for next year. So if you want to hang out with a couple of the 80 species of lemurs, or see some of the most exotic bugs, frogs, and birds on earth (AND seen nowhere else on this planet), you better be prepared to sign up. There is more detailed information about the trip, its costs, and pictures of what you could see on next year’s trip on my website www.joannewilliamsphoto.com
Are you really, really, really going to miss this opportunity?? The single biggest disappointment I have ever experienced in my nature and wildlife photographic career occurred one week before I was due to visit the island of Midway located in the Pacific Ocean…it closed down to all visitors, and has remained closed.
The Islands of the Galapagos are so unique and special, and are highly protected by it’s park authorities and all environmental institutions around the world. Tour operators and their various boat captains/owners have to make plans months (often years) in advance to be able to visit them. Restrictions have gotten stiffer and stiffer, and I fear that not in the too distant future the ‘powers that be’ will also shut down these islands. How tragic that would be to the people of the world, but if that is what it takes to preserve it, then I am in full agreement.
As it stands now, all is still well and there is room available aboard my Tour. If you are a all interested, please let me know. I’ll make contact with you upon my return from the Pantanal at the end of June.
Photo Researchers, Editors, and Publishers:
As stated in previous newsletters, at no obligation to you, send me a “want list” of images you are looking for that may coincide with a trip I’m about to take, or have recently taken, and I’ll do my very best to seek out that subject and shoot it with your request in mind. This may save you some expense, give me a specific mission and possibly a sale of that image. It’s a ‘win, win situation’!
A quick reminder that my library of 35mm original slides houses approximately 75,000 images, and my digital library presently holds over 41,000 (and growing-hourly)!