Paid off in Big Time Dividends…
Just got to my photos from Kenya. The main goal of my trip was to get some photos of “Tim”, the largest elephant in Africa. BUT, finding ONE elephant in Amboseli National Park was no easy task. It’s not like you can call him. On the first two days, we had no luck, but after talking with the Maasai, we heard he was spotted in a conservancy outside of the park. So, on my last day, we went to the conservancy, and with shear luck, we found him!! Getting a photo of him was another job altogether. What I wanted to do was to place a camera on the ground, and get a shot of him from the ground up. Not an easy task. The problem was that he was in the bushes and trees eating, and he was surrounded by four other HUGE bulls that apparently know he has large tusks, and are like his security guards. He was not walking somewhere, so it was impossible to predict where he would walk out of the trees for me to get a camera set. You can’t walk right up to them either…if you did, it would be game over. So, I had to be at least 100 yards or so away to get out of the truck, place the camera, and then run back to the truck, and then pray he/they would walk over my camera. My first four attempts failed miserably….they would walk about 50 feet right or left of my camera. After my fourth attempt, they went deep into the bush and swamp, and we couldn’t follow them. Our guide said they would be in there for a few hours before coming out again. So, we went on a game drive in the conservancy, and then came back to the area near sunset, and saw them eating in the trees near a path. When they looked liked they were going to come out of the trees, another safari truck came and were watching them. That gave only one path out…between our two trucks, so we put the camera on the ground between our two trucks…and guess what?? They walked right over my camera, and I fired off my camera with my remote!! I was so excited!! So, not only did I find TIM, but I got shots of him from the ground up!! Woo Hoo !!
This first two shots are of the most famous, and unarguably the largest Elephant in Africa, “TIM”. I was in awe of this majestic animal. He is now 50 years old, and there is no telling how many more years this animal has left on Earth. It will certainly be a sad day when he goes. Being in his presence, therefore, and to capture him with my camera from the ground up perspective is something I will treasure forever. I consider these images to be perhaps the best I have ever taken…they were certainly the most difficult to get, and that makes them priceless to me.
The other shots are of what I like to call, “Tim’s Security Squad”. Tim, I was told by my guide, is a friendly elephant. This does not mean you can just walk right up to Tim and shake his trunk, but it means he is used to seeing people gawking at him, and he is not aggressive about chasing you off. The same can NOT be said of his “security squad”. They are aggressive Bull Elephants, and they will not let you get close to Tim. They are huge beasts as well, and they can flatten you to a human pancake if you get too close.
People have asked me, “were you afraid they would step on your camera?”. The answer is, YES. However, I thought it worth the risk. Would I rather risk my camera, or never get the shot I came to Africa to get? That was an easy answer…of course I would risk my camera. When they started to walk towards my camera, I was in for a new surprise. From my experience, it is obvious that elephants really do watch where they step. My camera was in total silent mode, so they didn’t hear my camera, and compared to their size, my camera was a tiny object on the ground. Starting with Tim, however, he definitely saw my camera…he paused a second when he approached it, and then carefully took one step to the right of the camera. Each elephant in succession did exactly the same thing. One of them even kind of freaked out a bit before stepping to the side (last photo).
Simple AMAZING animals!! My favorite in Africa!!