On assignment in Africa, it is important to react to circumstances as one finds them, rather than to have a premeditated image in mind. In February 2014 the rainy season had arrived early, and whilst this created the challenge of deeper grass, I immediately noticed that Kilimanjaro had a far more conspicuous snow covering than normal. This struck me as a great opportunity, especially since the peak is often clear of clouds at that time of year.
The compositional balance of this picture would not have been attainable with my remote controls – too much is left to chance with that practice. But I needed to get very close and to be looking from the ground up at an elephant, with the iconic mountain somewhere in the background. The trick was to position the jeep ahead of an approaching herd and crawl under it to protect myself from any elephant that felt we were being invasive. I could then try to find the composition with my camera in my hand by reacting to the path of the bull elephant relative to the peak of Kilimanjaro.
The result was spectacular – it is a once in a lifetime image and I am so pleased that the magnificence of his ivory tusks is not in any way compromised by the rest of the detail in this fortuitous, but well-earned photograph.
- Large: 62 x 56″ or 157 x 142cm
- Standard: 41 x 37″ or 104 x 94cm
- Large: Edition of 12
- Standard: Edition of 12