Day’s End – Amboseli

9th February 2014

To deliberately seek to capture a silhouette of African wildlife risks the charge of being dubbed mainstream and artistically retrenched. For those reasons, it is not a preferred style of mine – there is little that has not been done and is not hackneyed. But that does not mean that when an exceptional opportunity suddenly arrives, a purist adherence to type dictates that this opportunity is not leveraged. That would be artistic folly and hint at personal arrogance. Very few nature photographers are so talented at what they do, that they need not adapt their style spontaneously.

I will always adapt and I am fully aware that I need to. War photographers have always set the bar in quick thinking and I greatly admire this speed of thought in the ultimate of challenges. In comparison to working in conflict zones, game drives are a privileged “walk in the park” and artists need to recognise this.

Elephants in silhouette should ideally be photographed from a level lower than the elephant – so as to make sure there is nothing other than big African sunsets behind the deliberately dark subject. This is a tough brief anywhere, but in Amboseli is it virtually impossible because there are only a few hills in the region and elephants generally can’t be bothered to explore a reason to climb over them.

This late afternoon uphill walk of a lone elephant therefore offered a rare chance to point my camera upwards and deliberately underexpose. Playing with the unique shapes and curves of this magnificent mammal is a privilege and I hope that this picture does credit to this perfect fusion of random variables.