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The Great Wildebeest Migration, is one of the most impressive events in the natural world, whereas more than two million animals migrate back and forth from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya in order to find fresh grass to eat. On their trek their path is cut several times by rivers. Watching the frantic herds crossing can be very spectacular; there are often scenes of great panic and confusion. The wildebeest fear the water and the creatures that may hide in or near it. Sometimes tens of thousands gather and wait to cross and for no apparent reason, they turn and wander away from the water’s edge. Other times herds may cross back and forth, because they see others of their kind either in the process of crossing the river or grazing on the lush grass on the far side. Hence a lot of people call them “bewildered beest”.
Yet another year with a lot of exciting projects is about to end. Phanhabs Savanna, twikga’s third book, was published in spring. In summer the Wild Picha site was launched, showing the pictures behind the twikga books. Willem and Tanja Dekker opened their first photo-exibition in september. Meanwhile Elisabeth Visser and Tanja Dekker are working on the new Tata&Squack adventure, which will bring them to the elephants in Africa. They hope to take the book to the Children’s Book Fair in Bologna in March. So 2014 will be another busy and hopefully happy new year!
Freies Sprechen lernen beginnt nicht erst, wenn Referate auf dem Lehr- und Studienplan stehen. Bereits der Unterricht in der Grundschule sollte die Grundlagen für freies Sprechen schaffen. Diese Meinung teilt auch die Gründerin und Vorstandsvorsitzende des Vereins „Momella Förderverein e.V.“, Frau Brigitte Frosch. In einem Interview berichtete sie uns von den bewegenden vergangenen 20 Jahren, in denen sie persönlich, ihre Familie, Gründungs- und Fördermitglieder, Kinder, Eltern und Lehrer in den vier Schulen in Tansania unterstützt haben. Mit unseren Phanhabs Büchern möchte der Verein zukünftig gezielter das freie Sprechen mit den Kindern üben. Die praktischen Übungen in den verschiedenen Sprachen helfen den Kindern, Sicherheit im freien Reden zu bekommen. Frei sprechen können, ist im Alltag eine große Hilfe und erleichtert den Umgang mit anderen Menschen und Kulturen. Gern unterstützen wir mit unseren Büchern aus der Phanhabs Reihe das Konzept und hoffen, daß die Kinder viel Spaß haben beim Suchen und Sprechen über die verstecken Tiere.
Tanja Dekker hat Frau Frosch auf einer ihrer Reisen in Tansania kennengelernt. Der twikga Verlag ist Fördermitglied des Vereins. Mehr Information über den Momella Förderverein e.V gibt es auf der Webseite.
The illustrations in my books are a mix of photographs, drawings and collages. The picture of the elephants on the left was taken by us in the Masai Mara on one of our safaris. I used it to illustrate the change of seasons in the savanna, where thunderclouds building up announce the rainy season. For the illustration I changed the background of the picture and the light on the elephants became more dramatic. More animals were added to the scene, as Phanhabs is a wildlife activity book with an abundance of animals, where children can search for and name the animals. Curious? Would you like to have a closer look? The FlipPages on our website allow you to flip through our books.
The picture on the right is a segment of an illustration from Phanhabs Savanna. Phanhabs stands for “phantastic habitats”. They are creative impressions of the habitats of wild african animals.
We started taking pictures, when we made a trip around the world in 1992. Since then African wildlife has been the focus of our photography. What started as a means to share our stories with the people back home has become a profession for Tanja. She uses our photos to create illustrations for her children’s books. In 2010, she started her own publishing company, twikga. We were lucky to travel with great guides and photographers, who sparked our interest in wildlife photography and taught us a lot. Because Tanja uses the photos for her illustrations, there was a necessity to take high quality photos. This made us keen wildlife photographers, using ever faster cameras and better lenses. Our pictures have become more than the photos behind Tanja’s books. For us good pictures tell a story. Wildlife within dramatic landscapes, vivid colours, clouds building towards a storm, a certain look or a gesture of an animal, all scenes where a story is unfolding. Our website, Wild Picha, presents a selection of our pictures. Picha means “picture” in Swahili. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.
On the left you see a picture of a curious young elephant, taken by us in Amboseli, Kenya in 2011. The same elephant was used by Tanja in one of her illustrations for Phanhabs Savanna.
We have just returned from a trip to Tanzania and Rwanda, watching primates. The hikes were sometimes long and itchy, because of the vegetation, but we took some amazing pictures of jungle landscapes with chimpanzees, gorillas, and a lot of other animals. It will be a lot harder to fill the pages of this Phanhabs book, because the jungle hides it’s inhabitants well. The tracks and the sounds tell you that the animals are there, but taking pictures takes a lot of luck, patience and hard work. The gorilla baby on the picture lives on a jungle slope at 2.700 m. To get there was quite an expedition. On the way there we were lucky to see a small family of bush elephants, a very rare sighting. I am glad Squack Evans is allowing us to use his pictures for this book, because as a guide he has more photo opportunities than we have on our holidays. So, for the coming years it will be work in progress on the Phanhabs jungle book…
This page of Phanhabs Savanna was inspired by a rather strange encounter we witnessed on one of our safaris. In the book I moved the scene to the edge of a plane, but in real we were driving through an area of woodland, when we spotted three male cheetahs. Normally these graceful spotted cats, who are known for their impressive speed, prefer open areas where they can easily pic up and pursue their prey. These three brothers were looking for a shady, quiet spot to rest. Having found that place they settled down and started grooming. They were shocked when suddenly an elephant appeared out of nowhere. Obviously the elephant, flapping it’s ears, was equally surprised to stumble over three cheetahs…
Wir haben unsere Box neu eingerichtet. Somit schmückt Phanhabs Savanna, jetzt auch die “lebendigen Boxen” in der Blankeneser Hauptstraße. Unser neues Buch wird dort umgeben von den Tieren der Savanne, aber auch von Balletschuhen, den schönen Frauenbeinen eines Künstlers und Schmuck. Was als witzige Aktion begann ist inzwischen ein enormer Erfolg. Die 9 Holzboxen von Living in a Box sind sehr gefragt als Werbefläche oder Ausstellungsraum. Immerhin kommen an dem originellen Schaufenster, wo es für jeden was zu Schauen gibt, viele Leute vorbei. Das ganze ausgedacht hat sich Markus Konrad, der PersonalMACtrainer aus Blankenese. Neugierig?! Schau doch mal vorbei: Blankeneser Hauptstraße 135 in Hamburg.
Today twikga launches it’s second book in the Phanhabs series: Savanna. Phanhabs stands for “phantastic habitats”. They are creative impressions of the habitats of wild african animals. This book illustrates the change of seasons in the african savanna in nine colorful plates. The first plates illustrate the dry season, with dusty planes and golden light. In this harsh environment a lot of animals are dependent on permanent water-sources and waterholes are small oases in the barren landscape. Other animals, like the wildebeest in the Serengeti migrate to find water and fresh grass. Thunderclouds building up announce the rainy season. It transforms the landscape into a land of plenty, where a lot of animals have their young, making use of the abundance of food and water. The colorful illustrations are a mix of photographs, drawings and collages. The pictures were taken by Tanja Dekker and her husband during their safaris in Africa. The hiding places and names of the animals can be found in the back of the book. Have fun spotting them!
Curious? Would you like to have a closer look? The FlipPages allow you to flip through the book.
When people look at my books, they ask me: “Where do you get your pictures, from the internet?” They are surprised to hear that my husband and I take all the pictures ourselves. For my illustrations, I need pictures of animals in all kinds of positions. You couldn’t buy a picture of an elephant walking away, in bad light, from a stock agency. Normally wildlife photographers do not take that kind of pictures. If they do, they delete them, not sell them. The pictures for Phanhabs Savanna were taken over a period of three years in Botswana, Tanzania and Kenya. We work with three different cameras and lenses. Our big 400mm 2,8 fixed focus lens, which we call Bertha, is too heavy for me, so I let my husband handle her. I focus on landscapes with a wide-angle lens. For the mid-range we both use our 70-200 mm zoom lens. It is great to be out in the bush together, but it is also hard work. We get up before sunrise and are out in the field for most of the day. Back in camp we download the pictures, make backups, charge batteries, … , and sit around the campfire. For now we love spending our holidays like this. Who knows what the future will bring.