Library Gallery: Safari Photos of Rare African Animals

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(Jeffrey Halliday, Photographer)
Jeffrey Halliday snapped this African Darter (Anhinga rufa) photo while it was drying its 47” wingspan; it usually swims underwater with only its head and neck visible.

    The Lamorinda Arts Council presents photographs of rare and protected animals taken on safaris in Africa, mostly in national parks, to welcome the New Year. The Council has created a virtual Art Gallery on its website. It includes still photographs and a video of this exciting exhibit. See www.lamorindaarts.org/online-galleries. All Council art exhibits will stay virtual until COVID-19 restrictions change.
    Maggie Boscoe, David Fleisig, Pam Hall, Jeffrey Halliday and Maureen Rosati-Wee, local photographers, roamed far from home to capture these images. Boscoe agrees with Karen Blixen, author of Out of Africa, who said, “There is something about safari life that makes you forget all your sorrows and feel as if you have drunk half a bottle of champagne – bubbling over with heartfelt gratitude for being alive.” The five-person exhibit includes exotic animals, birds and landscapes the photographers encountered on their travels.
    Boscoe, of Orinda, organizer of the show, has also served as a volunteer curator of the Art Gallery of the Orinda Library for 13 years. “So many people I met had such enthusiasm for their trips to national parks in Africa that I had to see the beautiful vistas and precious wildlife for myself,” she said. She named her photograph I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar because it recalls an unforgettable moment filled with sounds from a lion.
    Fleisig, who lives in Berkeley, has experienced three African safaris. He said each time he stays enthralled by traveling off road to view the abundant wildlife in its natural environment. He shot his Serengeti Cheetah (Acinonyx jubutas) photograph in the vast savanna of Serengeti National Park, which spans 12,000 square miles. This large cat has the capability to run up to 80 mph because of its light build, long thin legs and long tail.
    Hall, also of Orinda, said, “I traveled with Maggie, who insisted we needed another adventure. Even though I have Parkinson’s, I agree with her that it was the trip of a lifetime, and I’m glad I went.” Her photos captured things she knew would hold her interest upon returning home, such as the rarely seen Golden Cat (Caracal aurata). The only forest-dependent wild cat in Africa, measuring about twice the size of a domestic cat, this sturdy, powerful animal has stout short legs and large paws.
    They visited Hwange, Zambia, Kafue, Botswana and Okavango Delta National Parks. According to Hall, “It was very easy taking photos because our excellent guides knew how to find the animals; so, we stopped at particular places. We got used to taking our cues from the animals which would indicate when our time was up, doing things such as sticking their head in the jeep. That was the signal to move on.”
    Hall and Briscoe also visited Victoria Falls, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the world’s largest waterfalls at 1,708 meters (5,604 ft.) wide, in a helicopter. The falls form a natural border between Zambia and Zimbabwe.
    Halliday’s photos focus on African bird life. When you view his African Darter photograph showing the water bird drying its 47-inch wingspan, you’ll understand why. People dub this species “snakebird” (slanghals in Afrikaans) because it typically swims underwater with only its neck and head sticking out. This gives the bird the appearance of a swimming snake.
    Rosati-Wee of Orinda visited Africa because of her admiration for what the people of Botswana have done for their country as far as preserving wildlife. She returned with her entire family so they could share the experience. “I love the Okavango Delta in Botswana because of the care its people have put into their natural resources, wildlife and endangered species,” said Rosati-Wee. She took her panoramic photo Zambesi River near one of her favorite camps because of its unexpected beauty. “The colors on the river change constantly throughout the day,” she said.
    To learn more about the Lamorinda Arts Council, go to www.lamorindaarts.org.

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