Oliver Howard] [Wolfe.

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people, whose general conduct is very offensive to decent
white men and a reproach not only to Christianity, but also
to civilization in the eyes of the heathen and Moham-
medan. Many of them will not hesitate to maltreat the



natives, to live openly in the most licentious manner, so
much so that in some instances they have, through their
immoral conduct, incensed the natives to riot and murder
as a retaliation. That such men are the avowed enemies
of missionaries and everything- connected with Chris-
tianity, no one can wonder. On the other hand, it must
be also acknowledged that there are a good many settlers
in East Africa who are of an entirely different type, and
whose very presence and conduct are a blessing to the land.
All of those that it was my privilege to meet of this latter
class had nothing but unstinted praise for the missionary
efforts, and they cheerfully acknowledged the great bene-
fit the country derived from their presence and labors.

I am also happy to say that the great number of gov-
ernment officials with whom I came in contact seemed to
belong to the last-named class. They were of that high-
minded, hard-working and efficient kind which reflects
credit and honor upon the great government which em-
ploys them. They were greatly respected among both
settlers and natives, and their work highly appreciated
by the missionaries. These government officials, again,
were of one accord in commending the labor of the mis-
sionaries, and willingly acknowledged how great a part
they play in the pacification and general uplifting of the

Among these splendid British officials I may mention
H. M. Commissioner, Mr. C. Ainsworth of the Kisumu
Province, the most populous district of British East Africa,
who, with his American wife, resides at Port Florence,
on the shores of Victoria Nyanza, and whose guest I had
the pleasure of being during the first two days of this



year. Other men of the same type are the District Com-
missioners, Messrs. H. B. Partington of the Lumbwa
District, and C. Colher of the Laikipia-Masai Reserve,
who are certainly two of the ablest men in British East
Africa. With these last-named three officials I have had
several long conversations about the work of mission-
aries, and they have all agreed in that regard that the
missionaries in their respective districts are doing a splen-
did work for the betterment and enlightening of the

Four years elapsed between my first and last visit to
Africa. I must say, for the sake of truth and for the en-
couragement of all well-wishers of missionary enterprise,
that I noticed a very marked improvement in the behavior
and appearance of the natives among whom faithful and
efficient missionaries have been laboring. It is often said
by the critics that native converts, generally called " mis-
sion boys," are inferior to those who still remain heathen,
as if to say that the influence of Christianity upon these
natives would have a bad efifect. I want to say here in
explanation of this that a great many young heathen, who
have understood the advantage of the teachings of mission
schools, go to these schools for a few terms and study
enough to learn to read and write and to be trained a
little in domestic sciences. When this is accomplished
they leave the mission, in many cases without ever having
accepted Christianity. They are then generally called
" mission boys," and by many people supposed to be native

In many instances some of these " mission boys " are
certainly greater rascals than the absolutely ignorant



heathen, for they have come into touch with civiHzation
enough to be more up to all sorts of tricks than the wild
jungle people; but to blame missionaries for this is cer-
tainly most unreasonable. During my three different
expeditions to East Africa I had a good many " mission
boys " in my caravan. Some of these had never been
converted, not even professedly so, and behaved in such a
way that they had to be dismissed from the service.
Others, who had been recommended to me by the mission-
aries as Christian converts, certainly showed a wonderful
difference in character and behavior, and to one or two
of them I felt that I could intrust anything I had on earth,
sure that they would not defraud me of a penny's worth.

In my opinion the only hope for Africa lies in the thor-
ough evangelization of its people by faithful, self-sacri-
ficing missionaries, who do not only live and teach a
practical gospel, but also are intelligent enough to train
the negro along industrial lines, and to teach him to better
himself commercially, morally, socially, and religiously,
until every one of the savage tribes of the Dark Continent
has learned to know Him, who is indeed the Light of the



Nothing is more interesting than to bring home a
number of good photographs after an extended hunting
trip, wherever it may have been. Not only is the sportsman
thus enabled to show relatives and friends photographs
of the wild animals, their haunts, savage people, and the
different scenes of the countries visited, but he also has a
chance of living his adventures over again as he looks
upon his pictures. And again, while the big-game pict-
ures and photographs of wild people and scenery are
interesting to look upon, there are also all kinds of pictures
of camp life and little every-day occurrences in the jungle.
These things make the country seem more real, particu-
larly to those who have not had the privilege of visiting
the same.

Wild animal photography and hunting could and
should go hand in hand, for without the first the hunter
has no substantial proof, except for his trophies, of the
things he may tell of when he comes home. The taking
of pictures of wild and dangerous game certainly requires
just as much of skill and courage as that of hunting these
animals. Besides this, it takes a great deal more of
patience and requires much more time. Personally, I



regret now that I did not take more time for my photog-
raphy in the jungle than I did, but, as I was anxious to
return to America at a certain time from the three dif-
ferent African trips, I always wanted to accomplish with
the utmost speed what I had started out to do.

Sometimes the " camera hunter " must spend whole
days and weeks in order to get a single good photograph
of certain animals. A German doctor, whom I met on the
shores of Victoria Nyanza, showed me some wonderful
pictures of the wild life of the hippo, which he assured me
had taken him all of five weeks to secure, and of all the
dififerent exposures, having used up more than six dozen
films and plates, only five negatives were really first-class !

To watch a wild animal when it thinks it is unobserved
is certainly one of the most interesting things the hunter
can do. I have for hours repeatedly watched herds of
zebra, hartebeest, and Grant's gazelle from quite close
quarters, and it was a great pleasure to see how the ani-
mals fed, played, and fought together, absolutely uncon-
scious of the presence of man. During such times of
watching, the different characteristics of the several ani-
mals appear very marked indeed. Of the different game
of the plains none is more curious than the wildebeest, as
before stated, but the zebra. Grant's gazelle, Thomson's
gazelle, and the impala are very interesting in their own
way, although perhaps not as lively and " full of fun " as
seem to be the curious-looking wildebeest. I deplore not
having found leisure enough to watch these animals more
often with a view of minutely describing afterwards their
peculiar way of feeding, playing, and drinking.

The dangers and the excitement that accompany wild J



animal photography can hardly be exaggerated, particu-
larly if the naturahst goes out without any white man for
his protection and help. No matter how courageous the
native gun bearer or askari may be, the hunter never can
depend upon him entirely. I once had a gun bearer who,
with the greatest courage, stood by me as I encountered
a lion charge, and yet the very same man was one of the
first to run away when, another time, on Mt. Kenia, we
were charged by a herd of elephants ! I was unfortunate
myself in this respect in having been out on my shooting
trips without the company of any white hunter, although
on my first expedition I had Mr. Lang as taxidermist.
He generally had to remain in camp to take care of all the
skins, and so I had to stalk the animals with camera and
gun alone. The danger is, however, very much minimized
if the wild-animal photographer has with him a white man
who is accustomed to jungle life, and is a fearless fellow
and a good shot. Mr. Radclifife Dugmore was in that
respect fortunate in having young Mr. Clark with him,
who generally stood guard with his rifle while Dugmore
took the pictures. Thus he secured a collection which
certainly far surpasses anything that has hitherto been
brought home from the jungles of Africa.

As before mentioned, the big-game photographer needs
particularly three things for his success: first, plenty of
time; second, unlimited patience; and third, a good outfit.
I say plenty of time, because, as already stated, it will
often be necessary for the photographer to spend days
and weeks in the securing of a single good negative of a
special animal. Often he will have to construct his cover
one day and wait for two days or more, until the animals



are so accustomed to the same that he will be able to take
his picture from as close a distance as he desires. Then
again, he may find that after he has been able to take a
few pictures of the object in question, most of these, or
possibly all, are complete failures on account of too poor
light, too short exposure, or some defect in film or plate,
which latter I myself had to contend with on several oc-
casions. This was particularly annoying to me in a roll
of films which I used on the Laikipia Plateau in photo-
graphing a big bull girafife. For, in some way still un-
accounted for, three of the most important exposures of
the roll were so much sunstruck as to spoil almost entirely
the efifect of the picture. After such an experience it may
be weeks before the sportsman has an equally good chance
at the same kind of animal, and, therefore, time is one of
the first considerations in big-animal photography.

The patience required is certainly more than the aver-
age man is possessed of, for time and again the animal
will not appear in the place at the time wanted, or some
unfortunate crack from stepping on a branch, or other
noise, may scare the shy beast away before the sportsman
has a chance to use his camera. It is very often the case
with night photography that a miserable hyena or jackal
will snap the string and set off the camera which was
placed and fixed for the king of beasts, and thus the pho-
tographer has to set and reset his apparatus perhaps a
dozen times during several nights before he is able to get
a single good photograph of a lion in the act of springing
on its prey or coming down to drink at a stream. Another
thing that requires patience in this kind of big game pho-
tography is the motionless endurance of mosquitoes and



other insects, when one is standing behind a Hght cover
for the sake of immortaHzing some wild beast.

With the two first-named qualities at his disposal the
most important question is that of the outfit. It is true in
the way of a camera as it is with the gun, that it is not pos-
sible to have one camera which is equally well fitted for
all kinds of work. The big-game hunter should, therefore,
have at least two or three photographic apparatus of dif-
ferent construction.

On one of my trips I brought with me the large Zeiss
telephoto camera, which is very expensive and quite heavy
to carry around. This apparatus would take pictures at
several hundred yards with perfect accuracy, if I was only
fortunate enough always to use the right focus and ex-
posure. But if the animal or other object that was being
photographed was within a hundred yards or less, this
was an exceedingly difficult task, as I simply had to judge
the distance and then set the focus accordingly. Of course
this telephoto camera is also fitted with a removable
ground glass for the purpose of accurate focusing, but in
nine cases out of ten the photographer of live game has
no time to put in the ground glass, throw the focusing
cloth over his head, focus, remove these things, and insert
his plate or film for the exposure, and I, therefore, had
to judge the distance the best way I could when I saw the
animal coming. This feat in Africa is particularly diffi-
cult, and one is generally apt to underestimate it, especially
in the beginning.

I was fortunate enough to be able to take twelve pho-
tographs of two rhinos, which first lay down and then
stood up together, after which one of them charged me.



Of these twelve exposures only four were really clear,
first-class negatives, which are reproduced in the chapter
on the rhino. Then, another thing against this other-
wise so excellent apparatus is that the slightest vibra-
tion of the hand or the tripod makes the picture blurred,
and the lens requires a good deal of light, and that from
the right direction, if a very short exposure is to be

If I should go out to Africa again I would take an
American-made camera — the naturalist's Graflex — which
is made by the kodak company in Rochester. This
camera is even more expensive than the Zeiss, costing,
when new, with the best kind of tripod, two film holders
and case, about $500, but it is, without a doubt, the best
camera outfit in existence for wild-animal photography.
It is advisable to take two film or plate holders to enable
the photographer to make quicker changes when at work
in the field. Otherwise the changing of the film roll may
spoil his chances for another exposure, wanted in a hurry.
It was with such camera outfit that both Mr. Kermit
Roosevelt and Mr. Dugmore achieved their wonderful
success in photographing wild beasts, both at night and
in the daytime, and Dr. Chapman uses the same apparatus
in his bird photography. This excellent camera is also a
little heavier and larger than the Zeiss telephoto apparatus,
but it has that wonderful advantage, common to all the
Graflex cameras, that the photographer is able to focus
on a ground glass, where he sees the image right-side up
and without any focusing cloth over his head, until the
very moment that he " snaps '* the picture. He is thus
not obliged to do any guessing at all as to the exact dis-



tance or time of exposure, but is sure of getting the object
sharp at least nine times out of ten.

It is also advisable to take a smaller camera, with pos-
sibly a wide-angle lens, for photographing scenery, vil-
lages, and similar objects, for which purpose some people
like to take a panoramic camera. I should also think it
would be possible to fix a small and light camera with a
" universal lens " under the barrel of the gun, and at the
very end of the same, with some kind of an attachment
which would make it possible for the photographer to
" snap," for instance, a charging animal at a few yards
distance, and then, without changing the position of the
gun, kill the oncoming beast. If I go back to Africa again
I shall certainly try this method, as it would enable the
hunter to wait with comparative safety until the very last
moment to see whether the animal means mischief or not
before he would have to shoot to save his life.

Another important question to decide is whether it is
advisable to take films or dry plates, or both. During one
of my expeditions, when I had both kinds almost equally
divided, it so happened that one of the porters, who car-
ried a box with some of our best, already developed nega-
tives, dropped the same in crossing a river, when he stum-
bled over some stones. The result was that the heavy box
hit one of these, and a great many of the negatives were
broken and ruined, which was a great loss to us, indeed.
On the other hand, dry plates will, as a rule, keep better
in the tropics, but if the films are carefully put up in sealed
tin boxes they will keep for fully five to six months in any
climate, particularly if one is careful to develop the rolls
as quickly as possible after the exposures.



In British East Africa, where on all the high plateaus
the game is most plentiful and the sportsman has plenty
of clear water, cool enough for photography, I always
used to develop my negatives every day or two, although
the air was dry enough not to spoil the film rolls, even if
the developing had been put off for a few weeks. It is,
however, much the safer plan to develop the negatives, if
possible, the very same evening after they have been ex-
posed. Thus the photographer knows at once what suc-
cess he has had, will more easily understand the reason
for his failures, and will, in this way, be less apt to make
mistakes in the future.

This is particularly easy as far as films are concerned,
as the photographer is then able to develop the same in
daylight with the developing machine or developing tank,
which I have used with great success and pleasure on all
my African trips. For the dry plates and for individual
film rolls, that need to have the different negatives devel-
oped at different lengths of time, a small photographer's
tent of dark brown or dark green material, and possibly
lined with red, is very useful. Another thing which should
not be forgotten is the practical little green umbrella tent,
with its " windows," through which the photographs are
taken. This little tent is easily carried and very quickly
put up. It is almost invisible to the animals at only a few
yards' distance, if carefully placed among some bush, or
else screened off a little with branches and grass.

As to the exposures, it is well to remember for the
beginner that they must be a great deal longer than he is
generally inclined to think, as the moisture in the air makes
the light in reality not as strong as it appears to be. I



SoMK OF THE Author's Trophies at Kijabe R. R. Station in 1906.
Note the relative size of the elephant tusks.

Author's "Lion Camp" on the Sotik.


have heard from a good many sportsmen that in the be-
ginning ninety per cent of their negatives were under-
exposed until they got accustomed to judge more accu-
rately the intensity of the light. Nowadays anything in
the way of developing papers, hypo, and other chemicals
of fairly good quality are obtainable in Nairobi at a
slightly advanced price.

Another very important feature of the sportsman's life
in the jungle is the skillful preserving of his trophies. A
great many skins which sportsmen have taken home from
different parts of the world are so badly taken off and so
poorly cured that I have heard taxidermists, like the cele-
brated Roland Ward in Piccadilly, London, say that they
very often had to piece the skins out with parts of other
skins. The sportsman who goes out to Africa without the
slightest knowledge of taxidermy will probably experience
that a high percentage of the trophies he brings home have
been spoiled by careless handling by the native gun bear-
ers. These men, although most of them know perfectly
well how to prepare the trophy, at least so that it will not
spoil in shipment, are so lazy that they will not, as a rule,
take the trouble to do this properly, unless " Bwana
mkubwa " is able to show them how to do it or else closely
watches their work.

These men, unless dififerently instructed, will invari-
ably cut up the head and neck skin on the throat side, and
thus spoil the trophy entirely both for the private collection
and the museum. The proper way is to cut it up all along
the back of the neck. If the animals are to be mounted
whole or in part, or are to be given away to museums, it is



very necessary to carefully measure the different parts of
the animal before the skin is taken off. For nowadays the
mounting is not done by " stuffing," as formerly, but in
such way that a carefully proportioned plaster cast is
made, over which the skin of the animal is then drawn and
sewed together. For this purpose it is necessary to take
a number of measurements, such as, for instance (i), the
full length of the animal from tip of nose to end of tail;
(2) measurements of the neck behind the ears; (3) the
neck by the shoulders; (4) height of the animal at the
withers; (5) the same at pelvis; (6) the girth of chest;
(7) the same of the belly; (8) the size of the legs at the
body; (9) at the knee; and (10) just above the hoofs.
From such measurements, carefully and tightly taken, a
cast can be made of exactly the same shape and size as the
identical animal, the skin of which is to be mounted.

In skinning smaller mammals it is not necessary to cut
open the legs, but just to make a slit on the chest and belly
and on the top of the neck, as by so doing the whole animal
can be skinned without any more cutting. The skins of
larger animals are sometimes taken off in sections so as
to make them easier to cure, preserve, and transport, but
this is not necessary. I have myself brought home to New
York City several skins of rhinos, eland, and giraffes,
which were beautifully prepared by Mr. Lang and his
black helpers in one single piece. This, of course, requires
the supervision of a skilled taxidermist and a great deal
of care and hard work, for the heavy hides have to be cut
thin with large knives from the thickness of an inch and
more to that of an ordinary antelope or deer skin.

The hides of wild animals are generally prepared in



three different ways. One method, pursued by the natives
the world over, consists in cutting the skin of the animal
up all the way from the mouth to the tail on the underside.
Then it is cut open on the inside of the legs, and afterwards
simply pegged out to dry in the sun. During the dry
seasons this method is, in most instances, safe, but the
skins are ruined for mounting and are very troublesome
to transport, because they are stiff and heavy. A much
better way to do, although it requires a great deal more
care and work, is to have the thicker parts of the skins
cut thin and then the skin stretched out on the ground
and rubbed over with a mixture of one third of alum to
two thirds of white salt. For the hairy side a thin coat of
arsenical soap will suffice to protect it from parasites. The
third method is the one which Mr. Selous most highly
recommends and which I have also successfully tried my-
self. After the animal has been skinned, all fleshy parts
and fat are most carefully cut away, the lips cut thin, the
ears turned inside out, and the cartilage cleaned from all
meat and fat, after which the skin is stretched out by hand
on the ground or else sewed on to pegs, to be kept more
stretched. The inside of the skin is then rubbed over with
a thin, uniform coat of arsenical soap, which also with
advantage is applied to the hairy parts for the sake of bugs
and insects.

Besides such trophies as skins of fur animals and ante-
lopes, tusks, horns, and heads of elephants, rhinos, hippos,
giraffes, and other large beasts, the feet of certain of
these animals are very valuable trophies. They can be
made up into umbrella stands, cigar boxes, inkstands,
card cases, and other souvenirs, and are very much valued
20 285


by relatives and friends at home. Beautiful walking sticks
and riding whips, as well as table tops, which look very
much like polished agate, can be made from the skins of
rhinos and hippos, and I have even seen most beautifully
made bowls and card receivers pressed out of the skins of
these pachyderms.

Each sportsman should feel that he is not only out in the
wilderness for the sake of his own recreation and pleasure,
but also for the sake of serving science and humanity at
large. For, even in our enlightened day, it is quite pos-
sible to discover new species of animals, as has been
my good fortune on several occasions, and also to enrich

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Online LibraryOliver Howard] [WolfeBack log and pine knot; a chronicle of the Minnisink hunting and fishing club → online text (page 20 of 26)