I love Baobab Trees. Their bulbous trunks and gnarled, clawing limbs make such a stark profile in a landscape often dominated by low scrub and dry grasses. They have an odd, distorted sort of form, and even the way their name comes off the lips- round and taut and satisfying- seems to reflect their tub-like demeanour. They’re such a feature of so many African landscapes, they’re deeply evocative to me.
I took this little series that follows out of a moving car window in southern Kenya. It’s a general no-no for me in photography, but sometimes, especially on field visits where you spend so much time in running up and down the countryside in a vehicle, you don’t have much option.
We were lucky enough to have a moody skyscape to provide as a backdrop, so I exposed for the sky and let the trees stand in silhouette. This had the added advantage of requiring a faster shutter-speed, reducing the foreground blur. Two rules of thumb, if you have to take pictures from a car window: First, the faster the shutter speed, obviously, the lower the blur- so try and maximise this. Second, due to the relative motion of the landscape past the car, objects nearest the car (e.g. pedestrians) will blur more than those further away (e.g. mountains), so try and ensure that the object you’re shooting at isn’t right outside the car window, and if possible cut out the objects closer to the car in favour of those further away.
As the sun went behind the clouds towards the end of the afternoon, the effect was beautiful, with beams of light breaking out across the sky. It was a memorable drive, and while I would much have preferred to stop every few minutes to take proper photos of the glorious landscape, at least I have a few visual mementos of a trip across one of my favourite countries in the world.
The trees are, to the best of my knowledge, Adansonia Digitata.