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A Photojournalist's Journey With The Leica SL2 - by Jim Koenigsaecker

17 January 2020

Jim Koenigsaecker with a Turkana family on the shore of Lake Turkana in Kenya. The area is an endangered United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Heritage Site.

Jim Koenigsaecker is an American philanthropist and photojournalist who divides his time between Northern California and East Africa and has been using Leica cameras for more than 30 years. During the glory days of newspapers, he covered everything from the White House to the Olympic Games with his trusty Leica M6. These days Jim uses photography to amplify his advocacy efforts as well as accepting pro-bono commissions from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the occasional editorial assignment. One of his ongoing, long-term projects is to document all of the endangered United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Sites.

Jim regularly travels light, fast, solo and unsupported in some of the most challenging environments on earth. For his most recent trip to Kenya by way of Turkey, Jim was outfitted by Camera West with a Leica SL2 along with the 24-90mm, 35mm, 75mm, and 90-280mm SL lenses and an SF60 flash in a Billingham Hadley bag.

On his journey Jim photographed UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Istanbul, Turkey and around Lake Turkana in Kenya. He also taught a photojournalism workshop in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya where he has helped build two community centers. And Jim worked with a team of wildlife rangers he supports in the Laikipia region of Kenya to track down a lion and fit it with a Global-Positioning-System (GPS) collar to better track it’s pride to reduce conflicts with humans and livestock.

Lake Turkana, Kenya

Abei Ekai, left, and Akamais Kai, right, start their day as the sun rises over their family’s home on the shore of Lake Turkana with the Central Island in the background. Lake Turkana in Kenya is an endangered United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Heritage Site. By Jim Koenigsaecker © 2019 (Leica SL2, 90-280mm at 280mm, ISO 400, 1/250th of a second, f/4.0)

Eporon Ekai keeps a close eye on his family’s goats on the shore of Lake Turkana in Kenya. The Turkana are still semi-nomadic pastoralists. By Jim Koenigsaecker © 2019 (Leica SL2, 35mm, ISO 400, 1/125th of a second, f/5.6)

Lepo Ikal makes butter from goat milk in a gourd at her family’s home on the shore of Lake Turkana in Kenya. The Turkana use butter as food, to soften the leather hides they wear and in rituals. By Jim Koenigsaecker © 2019 (Leica SL2, 35mm, ISO 400, 1/60th of a second, f/2.0)

Ostrich feathers adorn the headdress of a Turkana man on the shore of Lake Turkana in Kenya. By Jim Koenigsaecker © 2019 (Leica SL2, 75mm, ISO 200, 1/500th of a second, f/2.0)

Are Ekalale wearing traditional Turkana clothing and adornments on the shore of Lake Turkana in Kenya. By Jim Koenigsaecker © 2019 (Leica SL2, 75mm, ISO 200, 1/1000th of a second, f/2.0) 

Ayanae Ewar breast feeds Anam Eipa alongside Alimlim Ewar at their family’s home on the shore of Lake Turkana in Kenya. By Jim Koenigsaecker © 2019 (Leica SL2, 35mm, ISO 400, 1/60th of a second, f/2.8)

Erupe Etir at her family’s home on the shore of Lake Turkana in Kenya. By Jim Koenigsaecker © 2019 (Leica SL2, 75mm, ISO 100, 1/2000th of a second, f/2.0)

Ekoel Kure with his stave and ekicholong on the shore of Lake Turkana in Kenya. The Turkana use ekicholongs as stools and a headrests. By Jim Koenigsaecker © 2019 (Leica SL2, 35mm, ISO 100, 1/500th of a second, f/2.0)

Ekidor Etir tends to his family’s goats on the shore of Lake Turkana in Kenya with Losidok Hill in the background. By Jim Koenigsaecker © 2019 (Leica SL2, 90-280mm at 135mm, ISO 200, 1/1000th of a second, f/4.0)

Turkana men dance on the shore of Lake Turkana in Kenya after a wedding. By Jim Koenigsaecker © 2019 (Leica SL2, 35mm, ISO 1600, 1/15th of a second, f/2.8)

Istanbul, Turkey

Sunrise over the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, also known as the Blue Mosque, in Istanbul, Turkey. The mosque was built between 1609 and 1616 and is a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Heritage Site. By Jim Koenigsaecker © 2019 (Leica SL2, 90-280mm at 280mm, ISO 200, 1/500th of a second, f/4.0)

Sunrise over the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, also known as the Blue Mosque, in Istanbul, Turkey. The mosque was built between 1609 and 1616 and is a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Heritage Site. By Jim Koenigsaecker © 2019 (Leica SL2, 90-280mm at 280mm, ISO 200, 1/500th of a second, f/4.0)

Sunrise over the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey. The Greek Orthodox Christian cathedral was built between 532 and 537 and was the largest building in the world when it was completed. The building was converted to an Ottoman mosque in 1453 and is a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Heritage Site. By Jim Koenigsaecker © 2019 (Leica SL2, 90-280mm at 135mm, ISO 1000, 1/1000th of a second, f/4.0)

A Christian mosaic in the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey. By Jim Koenigsaecker © 2019 (Leica SL2, 75mm, ISO 200, 1/125th of a second, f/2.0)

Some of the offerings at the Spice Market in Istanbul, Turkey. By Jim Koenigsaecker © 2019 (Leica SL2, 35mm, ISO 160, 1/60th of a second, f/4.0)

A colorful corner of the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, Turkey. During the 15th century the palace was the main residence of the Ottoman Sultans and is now a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site. By Jim Koenigsaecker © 2019 (Leica SL2, 75mm, ISO 200, 1/125th of a second, f/2.0)

A gilded bathroom in the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, Turkey. By Jim Koenigsaecker © 2019 (Leica SL2, 35mm, ISO 1200, 1/30th of a second, f/2.0)

A tiled passageway in the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, Turkey. By Jim Koenigsaecker © 2019 (Leica SL2, 35mm, ISO 2000, 1/30th of a second, f/2.8)

Nairobi, Kenya

A pool hall in the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya. As many as 1 million people live in extreme poverty in Kibera which is the largest slum in Africa. By Jim Koenigsaecker © 2019 (Leica SL2, 35mm, ISO 3200, 1/60th of a second, f/2.0)

Bodybuilder Jim Odinga in his makeshift gym in the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya. Jim uses exercise to rise above the squalor of the slum. By Jim Koenigsaecker © 2019 (Leica SL2, 24-90mm at 24mm, ISO 50, 1/250th of a second, f/4.0)

A fabric stall in the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya. By Jim Koenigsaecker © 2019 (Leica SL2, 24-90mm at 24mm, ISO 400, 1/500th of a second, f/5.6)

The musician Futwax Aboro in the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya. Futwax is using music to go “from the ghetto to the world.” By Jim Koenigsaecker © 2019 (Leica SL2, 75mm, ISO 200, 1/1250th of a second, f/2.0)

Ron Ojalla in the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya. Ron won the Miss Kibera competition in 2019 and dreams of becoming a model. By Jim Koenigsaecker © 2019 (Leica SL2, 75mm, ISO 1600, 1/250th of a second, f/2.0)

Laikipia Region, Kenya

Lion Landscapes rangers Boniface Lowoi and Peter Lokadeli use a Very-High-Frequency (VHF) antenna and receiver to track a collared lion to it’s pride on the 57,000-acre Loisaba Conservancy in the Laikipia region of Kenya. The rangers needed to track down the pride to fit one of its lions with a Global-Positioning-System (GPS) collar to better track them to reduce conflicts with humans and livestock. By Jim Koenigsaecker © 2019 (Leica SL2, 24-90mm at 24mm, ISO 160, 1/1000th of a second, f/5.6)

Dr. Alayne Cotterill of the University of Oxford hands a speaker to ranger Boniface Lowoi on the Loisaba Conservancy in Kenya. Looking on, from left, are Daniel Yiankere, the Loisaba Conservancy security manager, Dr. Mathew Mutinda, a Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) veterinarian, and Josep Oriol. The speaker was used to play sounds to draw a pride of lions into the open so one of them could be fitted with a GPS collar. By Jim Koenigsaecker © 2019 (Leica SL2, 35mm, ISO 800, 1/60th of a second, f/2.0)

A male lion from the Sansa pride is drawn into the open on the Loisaba Conservancy in Kenya. By Jim Koenigsaecker © 2019 (Leica SL2, 75mm, ISO 6400, 1/60th of a second, f/2.0)

A female lion from the Sansa pride is struck by a tranquilizer dart fired by Dr. Mathew Mutinda on the Loisaba Conservancy in Kenya. By Jim Koenigsaecker © 2019 (Leica SL2, 75mm, ISO 6400, 1/60th of a second, f/2.0)

Dr. Mathew Mutinda, cautiously approaches a female lion he has just tranquilized with his dart gun on the Loisaba Conservancy in Kenya. By Jim Koenigsaecker © 2019 (Leica SL2, 35mm, ISO 1600, 1/60th of a second, f/2.0)

Dr. Mathew Mutinda, center, examines a female lion he has just tranquilized on the Loisaba Conservancy in Kenya. Assisting Dr. Mutinda are Shaleen Angwenyi and John Logeme of the KWS while Daniel Yiankere holds a flashlight. By Jim Koenigsaecker © 2019 (Leica SL2, 35mm, ISO 800, 1/30th of a second, f/2.0)

Dr. Alayne Cotterill examines the teeth of a tranquilized female lion on the Loisaba Conservancy in Kenya. By Jim Koenigsaecker © 2019 (Leica SL2, 35mm, ISO 100, 1/60th of a second, f/2.0)

A female lion sleeps under the watchful eye of a male lion the morning after the female was tranquilized and fitted with a GPS collar on the Loisaba Conservancy in Kenya. The collar will enable Lion Landscapes rangers to better manage the coexistence between lions, people and livestock. By Jim Koenigsaecker © 2019 (Leica SL2, 90-280mm at 280mm, ISO 100, 1/1000th of a second, f/4.0)

A lion on the Loisaba Conservancy in Kenya. By Jim Koenigsaecker © 2019 (Leica SL2, 90-280mm at 280mm, ISO 100, 1/1000th of a second, f/4.0)

Special Thanks to Jim Koenigsaecker for sharing his experience with the Leica SL2 and images from his adventure with us.

To follow Jim and his work, see his website and Instagram below.

www.koenigsaecker.com

@jim_koenigsaecker

To Learn More about the Leica SL2 and the Lenses, Jim used please reach out to us directly or visit the links below.

Leica SL2

Leica Vario-Elmarit-SL 24-90mm f2.8-4 ASPH

Leica Apo-Vario-Elmarit-SL 90-280mm F2.8-4

Leica SL 35mm f2.0 APO-Summicron-SL Asph

Leica SL 75mm f2.0 APO-Summicron

Leica SF 60 Flash

Billingham Hadley 2020