Unbelievable trip!

Old Nov 24th, 2008, 10:06 AM
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Unbelievable trip!


It's been several months since I've returned from Tanzania. I booked my trip through an American company called Born Free Safari's. Alana Hayden was my primary contact and she walked me through every step of the trip ensuring I got exactly what I wanted. This was a good thing for me as I had never been and frankly, I didn't know what I wanted. My primary focus was on photography. I went by myself and had a fairly limited budget. It was important to me that I had my own car as I didn't want anyone else to get the same photographs I had. It wasn't important to me that I be comfortable the entire time so I opted to camp in a tent which saved me some money.

This made it quite an adventure and I wouldn't have traded it for anything. I had my own driver/guide named Nickson who was (and still is) a wonderful man fluent in English with an incredible amount of knowledge on the local wildlife..especially birds. We were up and out before sunrise every day which I wanted. Back about 4 to 6 hours later for lunch prepared by an awesome cook named Swalehh and a quick nap then out for sunset every night.

We went to several parks including Serengeti, Lake Manyara, Lake Ndutu, Ngorongoro Crater but I must say my favorite by far was Tarangire. The wildlife was incredible and there were hardly any other people there which made it truly special.

Something else you must do if you are going is to visit the market in Arusha. Bring plenty of $1 bills as everyone wants cash to have their photo taken. It can get a bit crazy and overwhelming though so you would be well advised to have a local guide to walk with you through the market to help push back the crowd that will inevitably form.

Thanks again to Alana at Born Free Safari's for a dream trip come true.

You can view some of my photographs at www.MHwildlife.com

I kept a daily journal recounting the nitty gritty details of the trip and posted the journal word for word on my blog also should you be interested... www.haywardphoto.blogspot.com

You will need to visit the archives from July and August for the trip journal.

Mat Hayward
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Old Nov 24th, 2008, 04:31 PM
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with some unbelievably wonderful photos.

I've never seen such artistic mud, really.

I always like lions in the grass. You got my favorite--the cheetah--and even found a serval.

How long were you gone?
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Old Nov 24th, 2008, 07:50 PM
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Thanks Mat for the very beautiful portfolio of photographs. I have only had time to look at the cats and the birds so far, had to find a way to turn off Jambo Bwana as enough is enough!!! Now that I have found that little off switch I'm good to look at the rest.
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Old Nov 24th, 2008, 08:28 PM
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Welcome to Fodors forum and thanks for some interesting images. FWIW, my preference for web viewing photos is to not have music and not an automatic flash slideshow. I much prefer the self paced pbase type viewing. Also, when I tried to quit the slideshow and return to "home" to check out your other things, it did not work for me. Just kept doing slideshow, even if I stopped it. You may want to check that. I'm using browser Firefox 2.0.

And yes, a safari is an "Unbelievable trip!"!!!!

regards - tom
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Old Nov 25th, 2008, 05:32 AM
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great website, thanks! also, a terrific article from the seattle times. i've copied the link, below, for anyone wishing to read a beautiful description of tanzanian loveliness.

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Old Nov 25th, 2008, 05:41 AM
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I think after all my safaris that these photographs represent one important idea, light and composition is the all important part of photography. One can have the most amazing sights, as I have had, but if the light is bad no amount of photoshop can change it. I cannot tell you folks how many amazing experiences I have had, and then I see the pictures and realize the light was bad or the angle of the truck not quite right. But that is why I am a doctor and Mat earns his keep doing these beautiful photographs. I think out of the literally thousands of pictures I have taken, maybe 10 are worth showing!

Good work to a true professional!

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Old Nov 25th, 2008, 08:17 AM
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Wow! Thanks for all of your responses!

Atravelynn-yes, I loved the hippos in the mud. There were quite a few basking in it in a dried up lake bed near Lake Ndutu. Which by the way has a great lodge off the beaten path well worth staying at. Not the best wildlife viewing in July though I hear it is intense when the migration is passing through.

The Serval cat was hunting so close to where I was. I saw one wayyyy off in the distance earlier in the day and was excited about that, then on the way out of Ngorongoro Crater this one was just in the perfect spot! So exciting!

Twaffle..sorry about the tunes I'm glad you found the off switch. It's in the bottom right hand corner for those of you looking.

Tom, thanks for the input on the site...I will check out that glitch you mentioned.

Kim...Thanks so much! The trick for me to find good light consistently was to go out very early in the morning and late in the evening. The only time I was on safari in the middle of the day was in Ngorongoro crater because that was the only time I could be there. Coincidentally, that was also where I missed the most shots. One of my biggest bummers of the trip was shooting the Black Rhino's in the crater only to find the shots were a bit hazy because of the intense heat of the day. I couldn't believe when the locals would complain it was cool or even cold out there. I was sweating constantly! I can only imagine what it's like in the hot season!

Thanks again everyone so much for the feedback!

All the best,

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Old Nov 25th, 2008, 05:03 PM
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Not only are the complaints about cold weather strange to me, but the winter coats with fur hoods when it is 60 F are hilarious. It's all what you're used to.

Your hippos are up close and personal. The sunrise giraffes are unique. I liked that confrontation between the fish eagle and plover. You have to be happy with your overall shots, even if the rhinos were in harsh light.
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