"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Kenya Journals, Ch. 25: Tech Woes on the Masai Mara

Chapter Twenty-Five:
Technology Woes on the Masai Mara

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Marg is frustrated with my Brownie Starflash-like cameras and my Fisher Price laptop.   So am I.  But, they serve their intended purpose and they’re light-weight, so I’m fine with them.

The little travel laptop is not a Fisher Price toy but a Lenovo, and it is a bit slow but it was the fastest I could find at the last minute.  It’s also small and light, and that is really important.  I don’t plan to do any editing of photos while I’m traveling; I just need something to facilitate the download of photos to external hard drives.

My tent at Governor's Camp.  Transferring photos from SD card to hard drive.

I’m now shooting in RAW+jpeg, and that makes for big files, so copying to external hard drives prevents the laptop from getting clogged up with thousands of photos.  One problem with technology on the Mara is the occasionally unreliable electricity, all supplied by camp generators.

As for my cameras, when Marg found out my entry-level DSLR cameras didn’t have histograms, I thought I was going to have to search for smelling salts to revive her.   Histograms are a very esoteric feature on some cameras that show in graph form how the camera is handling exposure   You are supposed to be able to look at the histogram and make exposure adjustments accordingly.

Lion love.

Why you can’t just look at the photo and tell is beyond me.  That’s what I do.   So, I’m guessing that amateurs who buy entry-level digital cameras aren’t allowed the secret key to interpreting histograms and therefore histograms are not part of those cameras.

Masai giraffes sparring.

Cub at play.

My theory goes to heck, however, when I turn on my little point and shoot camera and find a histogram.

Marg didn’t faint after all, but she did offer to let me use one of her professional-level cameras so I could see the difference.  I politely declined.   There is no way I will let someone put a borrowed $3000 camera in MY hands.  

Photographers never carry just one camera on a photo trip.  I didn’t ask, but if Marg had a camera to loan, that meant she had multiple cameras with her.   Stuff happens and cameras fail or get broken.   You don’t want to be without a camera.

I have two entry level Nikon cameras and two point and shoot cameras.  I have my big 150-600mm zoom lens on one and a 75-300mm zoom lens on the other.   One of our group was carrying a lens that cost $14,000!  

“When you’re ready to move to the next level…” Marg began, and finished by recommending the Nikon D7200 model.

Red-billed oxpeckers on back of Cape buffalo.

“I’m wondering if there needs to be a ‘next level’,” I said.   I’m not going to sell my photos.  I use them for my blog and Facebook.   For those purposes, the cameras I have are just fine.
I will, however, let you in on a secret.  When I got back to Anchorage, I stopped at Costco to pick up some groceries before driving the hundred miles to home.  Somehow, when I wasn’t looking, a Nikon D7200 jumped into my shopping cart and hid under the asparagus.

I suspect Marg had a lot to do with that.   It has a histogram.


Elephant dousing itself with dirt.

Lion cubs

This hippo is not smiling.   This is a threatening show.

A red-billed oxpecker has a symbiotic relationship with Cape buffalo. 

Zebra in marsh.

A topi on guard duty atop a termite mound.

Lioness and cubs


Serval cat.


Lioness charging wildebeest just visible at bottom of photo.


  1. Beautiful photos, even without the Nikon D7200. Now that you have one, can we expect super high quality photos? I don't think you can get much better than what you are doing. I hope your lenses are interchangeable.

    1. Yes, all interchangable. I did use the Tamron lens (150-600mm)on this trip. So lucky that Costco had the 7200 on sale when I returned.

  2. We are in awe and amazed at your photos WITHOUT a histogram ... cannot imagine enjoying them any more than I do already! Hugs. Patti and Cap

  3. What is a histogram. What am I missing. I am already loaded down with necessities. I would be afraid of having an attractive nuisance with me (attracting thieves). I will have to google histogram. Smiling .. Cap I just did exactly that. I am still mystified.