I wasn't sure whether to post this shot, or what to call it. I think everyone who visits Amboseli National Park in Kenya hopes to take a photograph of Mount Kilimanjaro, minus the almost constant cloud cover, with a herd of elephants in the foreground. This shot could easily be called 'the one that got away'. Things were not looking good for a shot of the mountain, cloud cover was thick at 6 in the morning but by 8 the cloud had been burnt off by the sun. A few quick point and click shots resulted in this post, not a great shot but better than nothing!
As to the title, The Snows of Kilimanjaro is a well known book by the Author Ernest Hemingway. But, are the snows retreating from the highest mountain in Africa? The following is a report from the Independent Newspaper (UK)
The snows of Mount Kilimanjaro – the highest mountain in Africa – may soon be falling on bare ground following a study showing that its ice cap is destined to disappear entirely within 20 years, due largely to climate change.
The vast ice fields of Kilimanjaro in Tanzania are melting at a faster pace than at any time over the past 100 years and at this rate they will be gone completely within two decades or even earlier according to one of the world's leading glaciologists.
A team led by Professor Lonnie Thompson of Ohio State University said that the latest assessment of Kilimanjaro's famous ice cap has confirmed that 85 per cent of the ice that covered the mountain in 1912 has been lost, and 26 per cent of the ice that was there in 2000 is now gone.
A series of cores drilled through the ice fields at different points on Kilimanjaro has revealed that the melting observed over the past few decades is unprecedented in nearly 12,000 years. The research also shows that that the current thinning of the ice cap is faster than when a devastating 300-year drought occurred 4,200 years ago, a period when very little snow fell on the mountain.
"The dramatic loss of Kilimanjaro's ice cover has attracted global attention. The three remaining ice fields on the plateau and the slopes are both shrinking laterally and rapidly thinning," the scientists write in a study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"We present additional evidence that the combination of processes driving the current shrinking and thinning of Kilimanjaro's ice fields is unique within an 11,700-year perspective. If current climatological conditions are sustained, the ice fields atop Kilimanjaro and on its flanks will likely disappear within several decades," they say.
If conditions persist, and warmer temperatures continue to melt more ice than falls in the form of snow, then there is a "strong likelihood that the ice field will disappear within a decade or two", the authors conclude.
In 2000, Professor Thompson and his colleagues measured a radioactive signal in the ice cap that was left over from the American atomic tests in 1951 and 1952. That signal was at a depth of 1.6 metres (5.25ft) below the surface of the ice. It has now disappeared because the top 2.5 metres of ice have melted away.
Professor Thompson said that the scientists have also detected elongated bubbles in the surface of the ice field, which occur when the ice melts and refreezes. There is no evidence this melting and refreezing has occurred at any other period going back 11,700 years.
"This is the first time researchers have calculated the volume of ice lost from the mountain's ice fields. If you look at the percentage of volumes lost since 2000 versus the percentage of area lost as the ice fields shrink, the numbers are very close," he said.
Data from the ice cores shows that the summits of both the northern and the southern ice fields have thinned by 1.9 metres and 5.1 metres respectively. The smaller Furtwängler Glacier, which was melting and was water-saturated when it was drilled by Professor Thompson in 2000, has thinned by 50 per cent in the past nine years.
Kilimanjaro is just one of many low-latitude mountains around the world that are losing their glaciers. They include the ice fields on Mount Kenya and the Rwenzori Mountains in Africa, as well as glaciers as far apart as the Alps in Europe, the Andes in South America and the Himalayas in Asia.
"The fact that so many glaciers throughout the tropics and subtropics are showing similar responses suggests an underlying common cause," Professor Thompson said.
"The increase of Earth's surface temperatures, couple with even greater increases in the mid- to upper-tropical troposphere as documented in recent decades, would at least partially explain the observed widespread similarity in glacier behaviour," he said.
Changes in the local vegetation around Kilimanjaro, which has lost much of it forests, may have affected the cloudiness and amount of snow that falls on the mountain. However, the scientists believe that warmer global temperatures have had a bigger impact on the rate at which its glaciers are melting.
Critiques | Translate
yquem46 (38750) 2012-04-24 7:33
A classical view of Kili with the herd of elephants at Amboseli, but to me it works each time ! Excellent light and mild colors, as well as the welcome presence of dust
Longing to see those of Chobe !
Have a nice day
notrap (6133) 2012-04-24 7:42
what you call "better than nothing" - I would be glad to have it in my files!
The only thing about it is that the elephants walk out of the picture frame, but nevertheless, most tourists would be more than happy to get such a shot.
dkmurphys (57514) 2012-04-24 7:43
Lovely wildlife scene. That place is amazing, well taken composition.
GREGG (7888) 2012-04-24 8:24
nice photo layout - three plans,
elephants, trees and snow capped peaks of Kilimanjaro
nice light and sharpness
guld (1042) 2012-04-24 9:04
I am surprised you are doubtful of this fantastic photo you created. I think it is wonderful, representative of where you were and rich in subject! I love the mountain even with the cloud cover. That is what nature did and that is what you have captured. I must say II love that elephant in the back of the heard. Also the trees are beautiful. This is going to be one of my favorite photos on TrekEarth. I also want to thank you for not using all that artificial looking editing. Thank you.
bayno (18344) 2012-04-24 9:09
a focal length of only 70 mm for which you were not too far away indeed, perhaps too close, because the elephants are peaceful animals as well as people say, great shot and a beautiful backdrop...very good light too...warm regards,
ManuMay (36097) 2012-04-24 9:10
Your captures always make me dream of new travels, this time of a wild land , with the majestic Kilimanjaro...Very beautiful colour tones and light, the elephants in motion are impressive...Thankls for bring for all of us this fresh breathe!!
Have a nie day...
Vato_Law (12720) 2012-04-24 11:37
now that's a photo with an epic touch on it. I love the presence of Kilimanjaro as a background, it's so beautiful and majestic!
The low light is great here and enhances further more the beauty of the scene with those elephants and the typical african trees.
chrisvek (7001) 2012-04-24 12:11
That's an amazing image with fabulous background.It would easily be an picture for national geographic or for a magazing about nature.Perfect warm colors and great POV.TFS
Have a good night
Royaldevon (37927) 2012-04-24 12:13
I can only imagine what it must feel like to take a shot like this. It must be such a temptation to watch awe struck, as the animals lumber past, and completely forget to set up the camera!
You have managed to give the elephants a real sense of movement and I love the fact that the last one is looking at you! OH!
You have three great horizontal layers, the fact that one is Kilimanjaro is just the icing on the cake!
My warm regards,
golus (2893) 2012-04-24 14:11
I really loved this photo. A great composition with similarities and contrasts in a single frame. We see the majestic Kilimanjaro at the BG whereas and an elephant herd at the FG; one is the highest mountain of Africa and the other one is the biggest animal in the continent. The two tiny white birds in front add another interesting dimension to the shot as well. Thanks for your extensive notes too. Best wishes,
vapours (8264) 2012-04-24 17:48
Amazing wildlife image Rosemary, could easily fit into the pages of Nat Geo. You're extremely lucky to visit such a place, and to also take such a great shot.
tyro (24386) 2012-04-25 1:13
What a wonderful and well researched note you have written for us here and what a beautiful photograph - for which, I might add, you must make no apology whatsoever.
As with all good photographs, it is again the lighting which makes this one so special. The light on the elephants is just magical, "modelling" or "scultping" their forms beautifully. The dust which they are kicking up gives a real sense of the speed at which they are travelling too.
The distant light is superb also: the snow-capped mountain stands proudly through the mist yet is still perfectly seen, underlined by the row of trees and vegetation in the mnid-ground which is perfectly placed at the junction of upper and middle thirds of the composition.
Gorgeous true colours, perfect exposure and exquisite detail and sharpness.
P.S. Another of yours to add to my "favourites"!
jjcordier (79297) 2012-04-25 1:46
Il aurait été dommage de nous priver de cette excellente photo associant ce troupeau d'éléphants et ce majestueux Kilimanjaro aux neiges éternelles.
emad (284) 2012-04-25 3:01
PERFECT SHOT,THE TITLE REMINDS ME OF A BOOK WITH SAME TITLE.
papagolf21 (99726) 2012-04-25 4:21
Une image en relief de ce troupeau d'éléphants du plus grand au plus petit (tout est relatif !).
Très bonne réactivité pour cette composition, qui prend toute sa beauté avec l'arrière-plan.
Cricri (117879) 2012-04-25 5:26
Cela doit être fascinant d'assister a de telle scéne, c'est un très belle image, j'aime la forme des arbres, la montagnes sous la brume qui laisse entrevoir le haut blanc, une scéne qu'il aurait été dommage de ne pas montrer, compliment
delpeoples (57278) 2012-04-25 5:31
All the romance and beauty of Africa has been conveyed in one single photo here. The colours, the movement, these exquisite animals and of course the looming Kilimanjaro are all so characteristic of this wonderful land. In read your comments that you're not completely happy with the composition. I think you're being too hard on yourself: it's exquisite in every way and a photo I would love to have in my Gallery.
Warm regards and thanks for sharing
Nicou (140072) 2012-04-25 5:43
c'est une mervielel quelle compo le Kilmangaro en fond et ce neige éternelles et ces élephant grands et petite un rêve grandiose compo et iamge superbe cpatage félicitation pour cette beuaté.
bravo et amitié
timecapturer (49288) 2012-04-25 5:52
this is wonderful! A superb execution with a real sense of movement captured against a stunning and irresistable background. So glad you decide to post it because it is a sublime and beautiful shot. Magical! Real quality here Rosemary.
Regards - Brian.
MJR (3360) 2012-04-25 6:56
A-ha, the money shot ! Kili and some elephants !
Joking apart, this is a treat, those hot dusty colours coming through a treat. The motion of the elephants off is in inspired composition, all too easy to have them centre stage. The towering mountain is of course familiar to we armchair travellers, but it sits well in your picture. A crouching viewpoint would have really brought the two elements together, ( you would have lost the savannah treescape though ) and given us a fantastic foot's eye view of the proceedings !
Lovely; and as ever, enthuses me to leave my armchair for the real thing. As ever the little boys prevent me, for a year or two.
PecoBud (3824) 2012-04-25 11:17
Very professional capture and presentation Rosemary; don't fool yourself, this photo is excellent. Beautiful POV and wonderful DOF and all with great clarity and detail to surroundings. Love it!!
brianmcc (6219) 2012-04-25 12:34
what a fantastic wildlife, action, landscape picture. three in one. the elephants are placed perfectly across the frame, and all perfectly sharp. the trees in the middle distance help provide contect and scale, while the mountain in the background just completes a wonderful image. the light has been very well controlled with exposure perfect. the colours are also excellent with the darker elephants immediately catching the eye, yet not overpowering the majestic kilimanjaro in the distance.
wolf38 (31296) 2012-04-25 23:18
Hello rosemary. Your photos of African landscapes are really beautiful. The elephant herd in front of Mount Kilimanjaro is of course a special viewing pleasure. Fine composition, very nice light, natural colors. Well done. Rgds, Wolfgang.
eldancer1 (36343) 2012-04-27 10:39
Wow! Yes, I'm glad you posted this image! Awesome capture of the famous Mt. Kilimanjaro and getting the elephants in the photo was a bonus! I can only wish to be taking this picture. And thanks for the info. Excellent lighting and sharp details. Wonderful colors. Very well done, tfs.
adores (45029) 2012-04-27 16:59
I really like it!! The composition, the light, everything seems to work here! I like the composition, with the mountain so visible in background and the elephants in movement with the little ones behind, the dust, the birds around them... Good work!
mafegan (8624) 2012-04-28 0:48
Perhaps the best photo I have ever seen of Mt Kilimanjaro especially because of the herd of elephants which appear to be running across the foreground. A photo of National Geographic quality which could be used to promote travel to Kenya and Tanzania and which deserves to win many travel photography competitions. Mt Kilimanjaro has special significance for me as in August 2006 I trekked to the summit. Thanks for sharing, Marlene
ybx (251) 2012-04-30 1:02
splendid light in this great african landscape. Very lovely the elephants family with the babies. The scenario is strenghtened by the imposing bulk of Kilimanjaro.
Unfortunately, like Kilimanjaro, all the world's glaciers are in danger due of global warming. We hope that one day this phenomenon stops, but for now, we can only remember them stamped in the memories of the photos.
Hello & Warm Regard
batalay (38591) 2012-05-02 20:42
It's a wonderful classic shot that I could never tire of seeing. I'm glad you posted it. The depth of field is good, with the herd, the trees and the majestic mountain all in excellent focus.
The note, however, is alarming.
Didi (60588) 2012-05-03 11:07
Very nice landscape of this magnificient place.
I can smell the dust ambiance.
It's possible to make panoramic view for next time.
jga (1062) 2012-05-05 21:06
Just amazing this shot.
emka (95249) 2012-05-06 23:13
Haha, better than nothing Everyone here on TE would be very happy just to see this view. Wonderful shot, with the herd of elephants with babies just in the right place, majestic mountains and the line of the trees. Just fabulous.
In my youth I was a great fan of Gregory Peck and I was crying when looking at "Snows at the Kilimanjaro". After many years I bought it on DVD - I found it so old and boring, i haven't seen it to the end.
Glint (6171) 2012-05-09 5:05
a wonderful picture with Kilimanjaro rising in the bg. I confess though that my eyes are for the elephants. Beautiful, wonderful creatures. They make me want to cry. Your note is all about the melting ice and as interesting and troubling as that is i worry in the shorter term for the elephants -hoping that the whits of their ivory will always be seen on their head.
best regards and thankyou for browsing through my photos.
korbee (6617) 2012-05-16 5:54
Really good to meet you,Ive seen a little of your gallery and Im amazed by the quality and surprises of it.
This for example is the best African cliche possible
but why is something cliche?;+]]
simple,because it is a beauty,specially the hazy
- Copyright: Rosemary Walden (SnapRJW) (31629)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2012-01-17
- Categories: Nature, Decisive Moment
- Exposure: f/13.0, 1/320 seconds
- More Photo Info: view
- Map: view
- Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
- Theme(s): Your Favorites, Elephants [view contributor(s)]
- Date Submitted: 2012-04-24 7:22
- Favorites: 4 [view]