So in the last post i gave you lots and lots of lions which are renowned in Kidepo and fitting of the attention.
But actually I was desperate to get to Kidepo, not for the animals, but for the landscapes and to try out my new 17-40mm lens which should have been wide enough to fit in the huge vistas you seem to only get in Kidepo.
Well it kinda worked out!!! I ended up using my 70-200mm more than the 17-40mm which is an awesome lens, just very specific. And regardless of what lens i did use i got some of my favourite and most breathtaking landscape images yet.
For those who are interested, the top row features images taken with my 17-40mm and the bottom row features images taken with my 70-200mm. The 17-40mm is a spectacular lens and the sharpest i have ever worked with. The last image on the top row, when zoomed in to 100%, is so sharp that it shows a vehicle and six giraffes at about five kilometres away. The panaroma on the bottom row is a composite of six individual images stitched together and measures about 3 metres long by half a metre tall. It is obscenely big and will hopefully fit on a wall one day in its full size and with all its detail.
Now, landscape photographers are a funny old bunch, never satisfied with what they have got. Sunny days are bad and just too bland. Cloudy days are equally dull and boring. What we really want is something in between. The sun after the rain or vice versa.
I expected Kidepo to be dry but it wasn’t, it was wet with rainy almost everyday. And glorious rain, the kind that comes in an isolated cloud that you can watch move across the sky and wait for it to appear in your shot. And blue skies behind these dark clouds highlighting the passage of rain. Huge skies filled with colour, contrast, and such wild drama.
As usual i tried to get the big pictures, the leopard and cheetah shots, and every game drive i regretted not spending more time sitting on a hill with a beer in my hand and watching time pass in one of the most spectacular locations the earth has to offer (my love for Kidepo grew with every beer i drank).
I always wish i had taken the pictures i forgot to or were to late to get. I always try and see how i could have done things differently. If i had the time again, i would have stopped chasing the animals and spent a moment in my life which i will never get again and just enjoy the widest, biggest, most dramatic landscape in Uganda.
Not to say that i didn’t! I love these images. I just didn’t get enough of Kidepo’s big dramatic skies. I dont think you ever can.
Now there are a few lucky people who get to live in Kidepo but for the rest of us it is just a holiday romance. But as the roads and accommodation get better that romance gets easier and easier to sustain, on a regular basis. If you haven’t been go, and if you have been, go again. I spent all these years complaining that Kidepo was just to far away. How petty that will sound when i am living in a different continent!
And with the Gulu/Kitgum route becoming old hand we decided to return to Kampala via the treacherous/dangerous Karamoja route!!! A route which turned out to be the most exhilarating drive of my life, through some of the most spectacular scenery in Uganda and amongst some of the nicest people i have met. I thought Kidepo would be our last big hurrah in Africa but as it turns out Karamoja had a few things to teach me yet.
All that in the next post.