I found this as I was going through my old photos from my trip to Africa. An African elephant mother was nursing her baby as her herd was grazing in Samburu National Reserve.
When traveling it is easy to get caught up by the large things that are easy to see, but try to look for the less noticeable parts to life. The large elements are easy to spot and thus easy to photograph. There is always something beyond what we can easily spot. Whenever I need a wake up call to remind me of that this picture is what I go to.
While I was in Samburu National Reserve in Kenya it was easy to spot the elephants roaming the landscape, but the birds that roamed with them were not always easy to spot. Thus, they never seemed that interesting to photograph. However, I always try to practice what I preach and look beyond the usual. That is when this small cattle egret stood out to me walking around with it’s much larger partner.
We had stopped to watch a herd of elephants tear apart a small tree I noticed an elephant walking by itself on the other side of the jeep. I pointed my camera toward the elephant as it came closer. As it came out of the tall grass I noticed the egret walking in and out from under the elephant’s feet picking up bugs, the egrets live with the elephants and will pick bugs up to eat in the elephant’s wake. Neither seemed concerned with all of the commotion around them. They just went about their business. I got down on the floor of the jeep for a better view and took several shots of the two, but didn’t think anything would come out of my work. However, when I got back to the US and started looking through and sharing my work people were amazed by this picture.
It took me a while to see it, but it is easy to get caught up in how two animals of such different sizes can be so important to one another. The others with me asked where I saw this and when I told them they said they noticed the elephant, but didn’t pay any attention to it. I did and as luck would have it one of my most memorable photographs from Kenya came from watching two animals that were doing what they do naturally. Watch for the small, less noticed things and sometimes they can make the best pictures.
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I have been lucky to photograph some amazing wildlife over the past several years. This picture comes from what would have to be my most memorable encounter. I actually thought when I was taking this shot that I might be on the lioness’ menu for dinner that evening. When I look at this photograph I cannot get past the thought that she was staring me down from only a few feet away.
This lioness had been spotted near the road and there was a small group of jeeps near her when we pulled up. Our guide maneuvered his vehicle to a good spot in front of her to allow us to get the best possible position for photographs. The lioness laid in the shade for quite a while. I waited for her to move with my camera poised for the shot. What happened next was not completely expected, me being naive.
The lioness got up and walked toward our jeep. I remember Jelly, our guide, tapping me on the knee and telling me to slowly back down and sit if she looked like she was going to get on the jeep. She kept her attention solely on us then hissed at us the way cats do. My heart began to beat faster and my mouth got dry. I had to control the fear that was starting to take over. Keeping my composure I began to back up, keeping in mind to do it slowly so I wouldn’t excite her. Luckily, and uneventfully, some impala got her attention and she headed off to hunt.
This was an amazing experience, but it was also a great lesson. Enjoy.
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For more information about Pamela go to http://www.wildradiancephotography.com.
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One of the most best moments I have had in my short time as a professional photographer was when I was given the opportunity to take a ten day photography safari in Kenya. Early on I felt as though I had to photograph everything that I came across that I was not taking time to savor the experience. I knew I was there to work, but I came to the realization that I had to enjoy my time there because I might not get the opportunity to go back.
Part of learning to take the time to enjoy the moment is that as you continue to shoot in the same place or the same event you become more selective. That is not to say that you shouldn’t always have your camera at the ready. You should. You should also be willing to take in the moment. As a speaker and photographer having the ability to explain the feeling in the moment can sell a photograph or make your audience passionate about what you are as well.
When I am asked what the most memorable moment thus far in my career has been I will without a doubt tell someone it was standing a few feet away from two white rhinos. I knew going to Kenya I would see lions, elephants, and gazelle. I knew there were animals I would be lucky to see, but I was not at all sure that I would see a rhino. On the last day in the field I was told I would get to see a rhino. However, after several hours travelling, sitting on a roadside, and two jeeps I was adamant the experience was not meant to be, but with only an hour before sunset I visited the one animal I had every hope of seeing, but little expectation to find.
As I move further into my second life as a wildlife photographer and speaker I cannot help but get emotionally involved with the animals I come into contact with. I always do research before I travel and recommend it to anyone. I have become increasingly involved in supporting and watching what is happening with rhino conservation. As the numbers in Kenya dwindle I knew I was going to be lucky. I also knew to see one would be extremely special.
That evening when we came across the male and female that were under special protection outside of the Masai Mara Reserve I knew I was lucky. As the ranger brought us to the animals and the rhinos came into the clearing I started shooting. I got the shots and always had the camera at the ready. At some point I remember kneeling down to take some ground level shots and lowering my camera to savor the moment. I could not help but think about how lucky I was. I was close to an animal that future generations may never have the opportunity to see in the wild.
I can still visualize the moment in my head. That is something that I can still recall whenever I talk to someone about my favorite experience. I remember that whenever I get so caught up in getting the shot and forget to take in the moment. As a photographer always make sure you get the shot. Don’t forget to feel and savor the moment. Often the story behind the picture is more special than the picture itself.
Keep s\Shooting and Keep Exploring!