Kimana Sanctuary, Kenya, Africa – Code: AN6654MT
Title: ONE TUSK
Location: Kimana Sanctuary, Kenya, Africa
Portfolio Type: “ THE ONE ” Fine Art Portfolio
(Logo on image is not on print)
Once again I was out on an afternoon safari at Kimana Sanctuary, it was getting late and I probably only had another 20 minutes of sunlight left so I was making my way around to a spot where I new I could get zebras and possibly, if I was lucky, elephants in from of Mt Kilimanjaro, as Mt Kilimanjaro was visible this afternoon. As I came close to the location I was thinking about I came across this lone bull elephant that only had one tusk, he was covered in mud and dust, he looked great, but he was a reasonable distance away and on the wrong side of the track to get him in front of Kilimanjaro and time was not on my side to wait. So I bid him farewell and continued on to see if I could find something to photograph in front of Kilimanjaro.
I traveled another 500 metres up the track and found some zebras that would work perfectly with Kilimanjaro. Now knowing that there was only one lion in the sanctuary and that I was in an open clearing I decide that I would get out of the vehicle and get down lower to capture the zebras in front of Kilimanjaro. I’d done this before and made sure to leave the door open and not to walk to far away from the vehicle.
So there I was crouching down and photographing the zebras with Kilimanjaro in the background, I was only fifteen feet away from the vehicle, and very happy about what I was capturing. Being happy with what I’d photographed I got up and turn to the vehicle and froze in shock. Just 30 feet away on the other side of the vehicle the one tusk bull elephant also turned and stood in shock, we just stood there for what seemed like 5 seconds, but I’m sure it was only 1 second and looked at each other in shock. We both recovered at the same time, I did two things, one was to slowly move towards the 4WD, the other, which I’m proud I did was bring the camera up to rattle off some shots over the bonnet of the 4WD. I think my thought was if I’m going to die I might as well get some images of it. The bull elephant recovered by lifting his body up to full height and trumpeting and shake his enormous head and trunk, everything slowed down, I was taking frame after frame as quickly as I could, trying to make sure that I was composing properly while the other part of me was just taking in the incredible power and presence of this beautiful creature. I could feel the adrenaline shooting through my veins, I could see the mud and dust coming off the elephants ears as he flapped his head from side to side. I knew that my body was now blocked enough by the vehicle so that hopefully I wasn’t a threat anymore, I was still photographing across the 4WD bonnet and then that moment came where it was judgment time, we both new it, I was banking on that my body was part of the vehicle now, something that elephants see as normal and are not overly threaten by, unless they are in a bad mood or you are to close, I was definitely close. My brain was in overdrive trying to read his body language, trying to will to him that I wasn’t a threat, trying to think of my next move if he charged. Then I saw him make up his mind, his body relaxed and he turned and continued on in the direction that he was going, shaking his head in annoyance.
I kept photographing as the incredible tension in my body relaxed, I could still feel the adrenaline running through me, I was so relieved, light headed and my body tingled, then I though, did I get the shot, that moment when he raised his body to full height and shake his head, I so wanted to capture that incredible power and energy that the elephant exuded, I had a quick look at the shots and was elated with what I saw.
Not wanting to lose this opportunity I kept photography the bull elephant as he parted his way through the zebras and acacia trees and then final wondered across in front of Mt Kilimanjaro where I was able to capture the image that I had come to this spot to get, a bull elephant in front of Kilimanjaro.
I had captured the image I was after and so much more, I captured the incredible power and majesty of an elephants need to survive, but my brain captured an event that I would never forget and be eternally thankful that I had the fortune to experienced.
I drove back in the disappearing light of dusk to the Kimana House, where my family and I where staying. I was feeling high on life, smiling all the way, so connected to nature, and so eager to tell my family of me incredible experience.
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