African Worlds Photo show


I know there are so many people watching my work from so far away but if you happen to be in Calgary I'll be putting on my latest photo show, African Worlds. A beautiful presentation of photos and fun stories from my adventures in Kenya and Tanzania. Please help get the word out and share as some of the proceeds for this show goes towards the Calgary Zoo conservation outreach program, benefiting the wildlife and the lives of people who come in contact with them!

When: Tuesday, June 19th 2012 7:00-8:30 PM

Where: Esso Theatre at the Calgary Zoo

Admission: $20   [button size="medium" full="false" link="" bgColor="#ff9900"]Order tickets online[/button]

Portions of the proceeds goes towards the Calgary Zoo Conservation Outreach Program.

Ensure your entry and Order tickets online at now!

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Through the eyes of a chimp


Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary, Kenya The chimpanzee is the closest living relative to humans, capable of using tools, deception, planning ahead and hunting with sophisticated tactics. These chimps however are not native to Kenya, as they have been brought to the sanctuary for refuge as orphans from abusive situations and war torn area from west and central africa. The Sweetwaters Chimpanzee sanctuary allied with the Jane Goodall Institute was thus created as a permanent residence to our expressive and vibrant cousins.

Photographic Details: Humans and chimps are both able to establish a connection visually. I wanted to express this with a detail shot of the chimpanzee’s eyes, since they are such a telling and powerful part of this apes expressions. In addition the chimps were behind a fence, as these are wild chimps who's own private space needs to be respected. The best way to get a shot without having wires in the way was zooming in for detail between gaps in the fence. In addition I only wanted the eyes to be in focus, using an aperture of f2.8 there is no denying the eyes are the focal point of this image. I also waited for this chimp to pose with her arm on her shoulder, as I watched her do this before. This just barely showing her fingers in the background provides a little more visual evidence that these apes are so much like us.

1/160s f/2.8 ISO160 200mm

More on the sanctuary here:


Samburu Dance


Samburu Village, Kenya I’m currently on Safari in Africa, here is my latest story:

The Samburu people of Northern Kenya are the traditionalists of Kenya, one of 42 different tribes or cultures that make up the origins of many people here. This is one of the few tribes that hasn’t adopted a more western lifestyle.

The man depicted here is doing a traditional dance, jumping straight up and down high in the air. One after the other the men display their prowess, impressing the ladies by the heights they can reach.

Photographic Details:Laying on the ground I was able to get low enough to properly show the space between the dancers feet, given that the men do the same thing over and over again, it’s somewhat easy to predict where they are going to be. Instead of using a sepia filter, I simply increased the white balance on my camera to give my photo a warm tone, combining this with decreased colour (saturation) I get a warm old fashioned look the image without losing the colour completely. This look gives an impression the heat and dryness of Samburu and the rich and ancient history of the Samburu people.

Reticulated Giraffe reach


Sweetwaters game reserve, KenyaTaken on safari mere hours ago.

This subspecies of giraffe is known for it’s dark spots separated by cream coloured lines. As we drove up in our safari vehicle this giraffe stared at us blinking with her huge eyelashes then continued browsing on the acacia tree after determining we were of little importance.

Photographic Details: I wanted to get a more unique photo of this giraffe while still expressing the daily life of this graceful animal. I liked the curve of the neck while she reached out parallel to her body on the top of the small tree, the open mouth and purple tongue clearly illustrating she was munching away.

I cropped the bottom of the image and kept the sky in the top third of the image, the giraffe in the middle and the green foliage in the bottom, conforming with the rule of thirds for this composition.

Canon EOS 7D 1/320s f/7.1 ISO100 400mm (35mm eq:640mm)

Timing on Mother Zebra’s milk


Masai Mara, Kenya The zebra mother will generally have 1 foal a year, and can have one at any time. Even though the foal may begin eating grass after a few days it generally takes a year to wean them off of mothers milk. Given the similar size of these two and the rarity of twins my local guide said it’s likely this foal is from another mother.

Photographic details: I took many photos of this because I wanted to capture a few things and needed the right timing for everything to line up. The constant swish of the mothers tail often had it flying out of the frame; instead of the tail being flat and facing down I waited for it to swish up to the left to capture that interesting curl. At the same time photographers always want the eyes, here I have not only the mothers eye, but that of both the foals as well. Many photos were taken, but this is the only one that made the cut. I often pay attention to the rule of thirds, but this time with the way the mother and the foal fit in a ying and yang kind of way I have a fair bit of symmetry. Artistically speaking, when you have symmetry like this you have licence to start centering your subjects and you get to throw the rule of thirds away.

If you like this please share!

Related: I've got 8 people signed on for my Kenya & Tanzania Photo Safari in January, there is guaranteed window room for everyone and I've got a few spots left!

Prints are available at smugmug:

Giraffe Silhouette


Masai Mara, Kenya, Africa The dramatic skies of the Masai Mara were surrounding us towards the sunset hours in Kenya. After a day of seeking out cheetahs, elephants and leopards we had time to observe this giraffe browsing along the hilltop amongst the iconic shape of the Euphobia tree.

Photographic Details: Silhouettes are some of the most illustrative and powerful compositional elements in a photographers repertoire. Throwing away the distraction of colour texture and exposure you are simply left with a figure that forces the viewer to concentrate on body language, posture, and shape. With the lack of detail the viewer’s imagination is put to work perhaps causing them to linger a little longer. In addition a silhouette photo like this provides a stark contrast in detail with the perfectly exposed sky (underexposed by two stops) all the textures and beauty in the cloud formation is preserved in a hyper real fashion.

There wasn’t as much colour as I liked so I employed some colour graduated filters. I think of these as “sunglasses for my camera” that provide a colourful gradient that can enhance or even introduce colours much like putting on a pair of rose coloured sunglasses.

If you like this please share!

This is also available on my smugmug for print:

Gazelle Portrait, Laying low


Masai Mara, Kenya, Africa It was an extremely hot day in the Masai Mara of Kenya in early march. This being the dry season the temperature was reaching 35 degrees Celsius, and it was getting close to lunch. We pulled our packed lunches out under the only tree nearby. Standing alone in the plains its sparse shade was still a welcome retreat. Around noon most wildlife seeks the shade and I was surprised we didn’t find anything resting under this tree.

Click for Larger image

We reminisced about how the behaviour of the herd of Zebras earlier that day tipped us off that there was a lion kill nearby, and the incredible sunrise we were witness to. That’s when a Thompson’s gazelle appeared walking purposefully towards us. Oooh we stole his shade! It wasn’t long before he realized his spot was occupied and he just stood a good distance away, stomping every so often to ward off flies. The whole time we were there he just stared at us in hopes that we would disappear and he could get the only shade in sight.

Click for Larger image

Photographic details: This was the perfect opportunity to get a good portrait. There was nothing distracting in the background and this gazelle was practically posing. Usually it’s not safe to be outside the vehicle so I also had a rare chance to shoot this guy from a low angle. I laid flat on my belly with the camera touching the ground and my 400mm lens trained on him. I chose to compose him in the centre of the image because of the symmetry of his figure. This angle allowed me to shoot up at him and causes the ground to become mostly blurred. This creates a simpler image that focuses entirely on the animal itself.

Camera settings: Canon EOS 7D, 100-400mm L IS lens, ISO 100, 400mm, f5.6 1/400sec.

This is also available for print on my smugmug at:

For more on my photographic safaris see here!

The Monochrome Jackal


On Safari in Africa The jackal is a spritely figure in the Masai Mara of Kenya. Trotting along the game trail this guy was fortunate enough to come across some scraps. Paying little attention to us he kept working away at his prize of the day. Jackals are primarily active at dawn and dusk, a lot like most of the animals we like to see in Africa. Not only is the light fantastic when the sun is close to the horizon, we get the double effect of all the wildlife activity. This is why on safari one often has their down time during mid day. I don’t think one would ever have to be afraid of a jackal in any circumstance as they tend to feed on anything much smaller than them including small reptiles, birds and mammals.

Click for Larger image 

Photographic details: I wanted an interesting shot with a lot of the usual things a photographer is interested in, waiting for him to open his eyes, making sure his face wasn’t in shadow. This little expression he gave was somewhat sinister, even though it’s a brief moment taken while he was putting a lot of effort of gnawing the flesh off the bone.

For this portrait I wanted to reach back into my darkroom days and process this like a black and white negative. Spending hours dodging and burning in the lab I always felt such a connection with my photos. Dodging and burning is the process of selectively darkening and brightening certain areas of the image, it’s a practice that has been used in necessity since the dawn of film. Taking a photo is one thing, but preparing a print is another. By brightening my subject I bring more focus to him, and allow him to pop out of the uniform background instead of blending in.

This was taken on my photographic Safari this year, I have two more next year find out more at:

Thirsty baby elephant orphans


Hooray it’s #thirstythursdayDavid Sheldrick Animal Orphanage in Nairobi, Kenya, Africa

Many animals including Rhinoceros and Elephants may become orphaned by poachers or loss of habitat. People have tried to raise elephant orphans and in doing so become a mother figure to the elephants. Some of the first attempts at raising these extremely social animals ended in tragedy as the need for love from a family had not been accounted for. This was unfortunately discovered when one of the pioneers of raising these animals Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick left for a week for wedding arrangements, only to return to baby “Aisha” in such a state of despair that she died in her arms.

Click for Larger image 

The Sheldrick animal orphanage now employs a large “family” of caretakers, each one loving and caring but the elephants are discouraged from becoming too attached to any single person. Instead the elephant is attached to the family as a whole to replace the orphans lost mother, which prevents any grief that the elephant may feel should a single caretaker be absent. This among other discoveries has led the orphanage to successfully raise over 80 elephants and return them to their community in Tsavo National park.

All these growing elephants are very hungry and require a lot of nourishment, the thirst for milk is palpable when caretakers bring out the jugs. The cows milk is not enough, and additional supplements of coconut is given to them to provide them with the correct fats that they need.


I took two photos of this, once with the bottle full and the other with it empty. My camera records the time each photo is taken, I want you to guess how many seconds it takes for this guy to chug the milk down and write your response in the comments. The answer the question is at the bottom of this post in white text, highlight the bottom of this post to see.

I will be returning here again on my next photo safaris in february and september next year!


See also my african gallery here.

Please check out the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust website to find out more about what they are doing, and share this to get the word out! It’s my hope that I have inspired you a little bit!


Highlight between here for the answer: [ This guy drank 5 litres in 9 seconds! What a machine!]

Kenya & Tanzania Photography Safari Sept 2012


Kyle Marquardt in collaboration with Civilized Adventures would like to invite you to join

“Kenya & Tanzania Photography Safari”

Sept. 7 - 23, 2012

My photographic safaris are filling up, thus we have an additional safari on for 2012!

Wake up early with the golden african sunrise to capture wildlife at it's best at the Masai Mara game reserve during the great wildebeest and zebra migrations. Journey down to the world famous Ngorongoro crater, a refuge for 30,000+ animals amidst a stunning backdrop, all while receiving personal photographic tutorials on how to get the best out of all of this from me!

Book at Civilized Adventures Download full itinerary Check out my Africa gallery

Kenya & Tanzania Photography Safari Jan 2012


Kyle Marquardt in collaboration with Civilized Adventures would like to invite you to join

Update: Dates changed “Kenya & Tanzania Photography Safari”

Jan  19 - Feb 5th, 2012

Last year's photographic safari was a huge success. Africa presented us with some incredible photo opportunities and we were there to take them. And so we are going to do it again, please join me in world famous parks and reserves as we venture on twice daily game drives amongst the african wild. As always I'm there to inspire you and make sure you get the best out of your camera. For more information check out the links, itinerary and galleries below!

Book at Civilized Adventures Download full itinerary Check out my Africa gallery

Update: We're always striving to improve our trips and scouting the best locations, thus we have made some improvements on the itinerary, check out the addition of Ol Tukai Lodge here.

Kenya & Tanzania Safari Workshop 2011 gallery!


New Gallery "Africa"

I had the incredible pleasure of hosting a Photographic Safari in Kenya and Tanzania this year surrounded by wide eyed enthusiastic photographers and adventurers.

A full day in Africa is so jam packed with incredible sightings, engaging wildlife, stunning sights sounds and smells that at the end of the day you sit back in reflection like you've just experienced a week.

I look forward to sharing some exciting stories and more sights from this safari, so in the mean time please take a look at my new gallery "Africa" here.

Africa Gallery