Travel Preparations

My plane leaves for Kenya three weeks from today. The spare bedroom at my home is currently strewn with cameras, lenses, batteries, chargers, flashlights, pelican cases and backpacks. The hopes are to (a) accurately judge equipment requirements, (b) safely pack all the gear into a very finite amount of space, and (c) minimize the risk with baggage handlers by lugging the most critical items into the passenger compartment. For the first time I’ll take a fully paid for, brand new, Nikon 600mm lens. It will not fit in the carry on, so it must be secured and turned over to the airline. This is a horrifying proposition indeed. Checking that lens will certainly be one of the most traumatic events of my life. But there’s no choice. In my backpack I’ll have a brand new, never used, Nikon 200-400mm lens, which was about half the expense of the 600mm but an extravagant piece of glass nonetheless. It barely fits into my pack, but having it close guarantees that I’ll be able to photograph even if tragedy strikes the checked lens.

On to more pleasant thoughts. As I write this, I’m acutely aware that the wildebeest have already begun to descend on the Maasai Mara in monstrous numbers, and, if they’re on schedule, they’ll still be arriving when I touch down in late August. It’s been eight months since I last set foot on the African continent, which is about as long as I can tolerate being away.

Mara Wildebeest

Mara Wildebeest

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