Looking Beyond the Usual: “Step Lightly”

Step Lightly

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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