Can you believe it, we are already stepping into 2022! Yet another year begins, I cannot believe how quickly time is flying by. With that said, I hope that you have all had a well deserved break and spent some quality time with family and friends over the festive season. This is a new year, which means new beginnings and I am so excited for the upcoming year and all the safaris that it has in store for my guests, myself, the other guides and all the other guests who are going to be traveling with us this year and changing the way they see the world. With that said, its a tough choice, but these are my top 3 images from 2021.
I chose these 3 images, not because they are the best images I have taken, but because they have so much meaning behind them. When it comes to photography, and I have said it from the very beginning of my photographic career - its not about how good a photograph is to me, it's about the emotion and the memory that specific image holds.
This first image was taken in Amboseli. It is an iconic destination to photograph these magnificent giants.
I have been to Amboseli a few times and each time I have been it has been completely different. Being a relatively small National Park, you wouldn't think there is a lot of diversity, but it is probably one of the most diverse reserves I have been to. There is such variety to photograph, from the incredible birdlife around the marshes to the dry lake bed which makes for some truly special photography if you have the right subject.
The lake be is very well known for having elephants move across the dry surface to and from the water, having said that, timing is crucial and in my first visit to Amboseli, we didn't quite get the opportunities that we were looking for. It was only on my second visit that my guests and I were treated to this beautiful sight of elephants crossing the dry lake bed. Another huge advantage to being on the lake bed, is that it is one of the few places you can get out of the vehicle and photograph at eye level, which just changes the angle and adds that little bit extra to an image.
The first fact I want to mention is that a gorillas' DNA is roughly 98% that of a human's! Now, take a moment and think about that fact. How remarkable is it that we are so closely related to mountain gorillas. It’s quite a difficult fact to comprehend, well it certainly was for me until I came face to face with a gorilla first hand.
My guests and I were fortunate enough to do 3 different gorilla treks, I highly recommend this and the reason is that once simply isn’t enough. Seeing a gorilla, actually any animal for that matter, in the wild for the first time can be very overwhelming. I found the first day absolutely incredible and craved more time face to face with these magnificent animals. It was only towards the end of the second trek and the entire third trek that I managed to sit back, put my camera away and really take notice of how these animals interacted with each other. Not only the interaction but to sit a mere couple of yards away from an individual as it went about its daily business was spectacular. It was only really at this point that I truly understood the fact about the DNA.
Just like us humans, I found it amazing how expressive the gorillas were. It’s almost like you could see the thoughts running through their minds, you could see what kind of mood they were in and to see emotion on their faces was phenomenal! I found myself just sitting staring at them and yes that may sound silly, but I’m sure anyone who has had the experience will be able to relate.
There were a few stand out moments, one was with a beautiful female who was about 20 years in age and the other was with a silverback that was 17 years of age and just coming into his prime. I say these were stand out moments because they were two moments where my guests and I did not have to move. The gorillas actually approached us and then sat down and went about their daily business and it is tough to put into words but there is a definite connection when they stare at you, it’s almost a moment where you are wondering what they thinking and they wondering what you are thinking.
Apart from being so close and looking at their facial expressions, it was amazing to be able to see each and every detail on them, from the wrinkles on their faces to the detail of their fingerprints, its very difficult not to humanize it, but to be able to just be in that moment with these magnificent beasts are memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life, as will my guests for sure!
One of the most intense moments I have witnessed in the bush.A single male lion taking down a sub-adult hippo in the Masai Mara. This male lion was coming to the end of a period of mating with a lioness and took the opportunity to try and hunt this hippo.
Personally, I didn't think the male lion had a chance. I have seen videos of prides of lions and coalition of males taking down hippos, but one on one, my odds were definitely in favor of the hippo. I thought the lion would attempt to hunt the hippo, but come up short due to it being on its own and the sheer size of the hippo. To our surprise, this lion ran up and jumped on the back of the hippo and all in one motion managed to flip the hippo onto its back and the rest was history.
I cannot wait for what this year holds on safari and looking forward to sharing my experiences with all of you.
Until next time,