California Dreamin’

February 03, 2017

Originally posted Jan10, 2012

I'm not sure what big trip Cindy and I should take next summer, if we should take one at all. Since my mid-twenties, I've wanted to visit Africa - which to me has always pretty much meant Kenya. But I've never been in a position to do it, or at least that's what I've thought. We were going to do it last summer, but what with marrying Cindy - something way, way more important than a trip to anywhere - and the inherent selling and buying of houses and re-configuring of living arrangements, etc. - it just wasn't the year.

And this is not the year for Kenya in that it's election year there, and to celebrate elections, they usually come close to an all-out civil war. It's a country still pretty much ruled by tribal politics, and the tribe that loses the elections takes up arms, or at least they did for the last election, killing thousands of innocent citizens.

That being the case, we have more-or-less decided this is the year for Alaska, where in addition to just seeing and experiencing the place, I want to photograph the Alaskan Coastal Brown Bear. But lately it's dawned on me that the expected unpleasantness in Kenya does not have to preclude travel in Tanzania to observe and photograph the great East African game migrations. Or at least I don't think so without checking the State Department travel advisories.

So that's where I am, but it occurs to me that Michael Forsberg and Moose Peterson - my two greatest photographer heroes - have spent careers making stunning photos without ever having gone to Africa. They've mostly shot what they've found around them, in various parts of the West, bringing a kind of focus to their work that eludes many other photographers. Heck, Cindy and I love travel by auto, and I know we'd be as happy as clams to load up the Pilot and take a couple of weeks to roam around the Western U.S., heading out to the Tetons, up through Yellowstone, on to Glacier, maybe even Banff, and then over to the west coast and down to Yosemite, before turning for home through Bryce or Moab.

Even though summer is a ways off, and I've got a session of the Legislature to get through, trips to Alaska and Africa have to be reserved well in advance to get to where you want to go and do what you want to do.

I'd better talk this over with Cindy, and fairly soon.

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