Twice-Told Tale

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Twice-Told Tale

Mr. Alley Summers on Safari

Mr. Greg Alley.
(Above) Mr. Alley, third person in from the right, overlooks the scenic landscapes that Africa is known for alongside his family. Decked out in safari gear, the hike to the top was well worth it. When reflecting on his trip, he said, “I came. I saw. I got good shots. If I go again, I’ll get different shots, but at this point it’s like, “‘I did that.’” He wishes that he could have seen African painted dogs, but comments that, “The world is a big place.”

Mr. Gregory Alley, AP Physics I and II teacher, decided that last summer was the perfect time to carry out a family trip to Africa that had been planned since the start of the pandemic. He had always wanted to discover what the local safaris had to offer. Accompanied by his aunts, his father, his brother, and his cousin and her husband, most of whom have their Ph.D.s in geology, he set out to see the Rift Valley, extinct volcanoes, and obviously, the unique animals in Kenya and Tanzania.

To make his long-awaited trip worthwhile, Mr. Alley bought a new Nikon Z7 camera with an 800-millimeter lens and decided to put his photography skills to good use. With respect to photography, he comments that, “It is an easy art form” and that it, “Captures different perspectives.” Throughout the vacation, he estimated that he, “Took around 3,000 pictures,” and lightheartedly claimed, “They would look just fine and not out of place in the National Geographic.” Mr. Alley argued that, “Widdling [them] down to the best was really hard.” With herds of animals all around them, his photographs featured the breathtaking scenery of Lake Naivasha, Masai Mara, Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, and the Karura Forest.

For Mr. Alley’s tour group of ten people, six Maasai guards (each with spears, clubs, and machetes) accompanied them on their walking safari, along with a ranger armed with a rifle. One of the most interesting experiences of Mr. Alley’s trip was exploring the Olduvai Gorge. Because his cousin was a geology professor, one of her colleagues was working on a dig there, so the group was able to discover evidence of human and fossil remains from two million years ago up close. He comments that another interesting fact about his trip was the, “Fancy campsites” in which he stayed. The spot that he stayed in Masai Mara was the same place that the Obamas stayed when the former President was still a senator. However, sometimes there was running water, and sometimes there wasn’t. Mr. Alley also enjoyed looking over the porch of his tent at the pack of hyenas near the flowing river and tall mountains. He thought it was interesting how at night, Maasai guards with spears were actively chasing wildlife out of the camp. Every time anyone had to leave their tents, they would have to radio in an escort to protect them.

The culture and the environment of Africa deeply contrast with that of the local Orlando area. The mountainous regions and dry savannas are a drastic change of scenery compared to the wetlands and beaches of Florida. Because he mostly stayed in the rural and deserted parts of Kenya and Tanzania, Mr. Alley was not able to meet many of the locals during his time there. However, Mr. Alley enjoyed learning some words of the local Swahili language from his tour guides. He was glad to say that, “It was nice to be immersed in things you don’t typically see every day.”

When summing up his time in Africa, Mr. Alley said that, “Each day was better than the last.” He felt that even though his trip was worthwhile and an experience that he will never forget, “[He] experienced everything [he] wanted to do and probably will not return.” Instead, Mr. Alley looks forward to traveling to different countries in the future. As always, he will definitely be bringing his camera with him and continuing his passion for the art form. As the new school year approaches, it is important for students to break outside of their comfort zones and try new things, even if they seem scary at first. It’s time to embark on an adventure of your own!

(Above) Masai Mara lions are known for their fierce nature and powerful roars. Mr. Alley comments, “One of the problems with my pictures is that it can’t do a lot of [the wildlife] justice because they only capture a spot. While the pictures work well at doing certain things, they can’t convey a lot of the sense of awe, which is unfortunate.” Surrounding the lions are tons of other lions that could not be captured in the same photo. (Mr. Greg Alley)
(Above) These three cheetahs were found in the Serengeti. They are all brothers sitting on top of a termite mound. Mr. Alley was sure to stand back far enough as to, “Not become lunch.” He likes the fact that photographs give him the ability to see the animals close up without having to come too close for comfort. Mr. Alley explains, “We are in their territory, and we need to respect that.” (Mr. Greg Alley)
(Above) This Tree Agama found in Masai Mara is known for its bright blue head. An Agama’s colors will suddenly become brighter when it’s alarmed or agitated. This greatly contrasts with its greyish-brown body used to camouflage in its natural environment. These are typically found in savannas and their main habitats. (Mr. Greg Alley)
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About the Contributor
Alyssa Wiboon, Director of Media
Alyssa Wiboon, grade 11, is the Director of Media of Lake Highland Preparatory School's Upper School newspaper Twice-Told Tale, and Co-Editor of the Upper School literary magazine By Any Other Name, both nationally recognized by the American Scholastic Press Association and the National Council of Teachers of English. Alyssa is also the Co-President of her school’s club, Paws for a Cause, where she helps spread awareness for animals within local Orlando shelters. Outside of school, she enjoys Irish dancing, going to the beach, reading, and watching movies in her free time. With well over 100 service hours, Alyssa prioritizes helping local communities in any way she can, whether it be at her church or nearby food banks. In the future, she dreams of traveling around the world and creating her own blog, pursuing her love for writing, and being creative.

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