Being lucky enough to live and work in an environment which constantly presents itself with natural beauty, I have not often picked up a camera to capture the stunning moments around me but have rather remained still in observation and silent in awe. Just being present, watching and remembering, so much more became understood and I began feeling deeply in tune with the entire canvas of the wild; the landscape, its individuals and the connections between the two.
With a greater understanding comes a quenching appreciation and thereafter a desire to share. This is when photography started becoming less about “just trying to take a nice picture” to me, and more about, at the very least, attempting to bottle up all of the feeling within a situation and then to illustrate that in a moment.
I began experimenting more with my photography and with the intention to share what we are so privileged to be exposed to, observation was done through my lens and not through my binoculars. Capturing what I wished to share quickly became very challenging yet rewarding, and the drive to improve strengthens daily. As photography is fairly new to me, what I have to show this week is my first real collection of photographs at Londolozi, which spans the last three months or so, all leading up to this week. As I learn more I look forward to making progress and can only remain hopeful that at least some of this place’s inspiring energy can be revealed in an image or two. And so for this week, looking back at my journey to understanding wildlife photography, enjoy the pictures.
The phenomenal duo, Tom and Jerry, watch the Tsalala Pride’s tailless female march across a clearing in the morning light, the rest of the Pride follow leisurely.
After a long morning’s territorial patrol, the Mashaba female settles down in the chaos of winter’s driest grasses and relaxes into a subtle yawn.
Naive distraction. One of the Wild Dog pups is pulled away from sibling playtime by the sight of an uninvited Hooded Vulture.
As a grand-daughter of the late Sunset Bend female, the Tamboti young female flaunts her golden coat with pride; here, beautifully framed and contrasted by the harsh branches of a Knobthorn.
While one of their mothers takes life more seriously, these two sub-adult Hyenas find time to play; the cold September morning evident in mist.
Confidence personified. The Vomba young male, illuminated and golden, stops to look back and ensure that his hidden kill remains unseen. The patient hunt had made him thirsty.
Leaving for the day, the warm sun vanishes behind the powerful figure of a lone bull Elephant. His poise towers the long grass.
A very uniquely lit Mashaba female leaves her kill in order to rest further out on the branch with a full belly. As the sun approached the horizon, its bright beams were reflected off the Sand River next to us and up into the canopy of this Jackalberry. A natural lighting not often presented.
The tailless female and the rest of the Tsalala Pride move into the first light of the day; wilderness at their grasp.
A look of satisfaction as the Mashaba female rids an itch behind her ear. Not surprisingly, a long session of meticulous grooming followed shortly thereafter.
Desperate and determined, this young and nomadic male Hyena foams at the mouth while chewing on the tough skin and bones which remain of an old carcass. Constantly he looks over his shoulder.
Coming into her own, the Tamboti young female is starting to look more like a proud up-and-coming individual than an inexperienced cub. Only her pink nose, green eyes and untethered coat give away her young age; she exudes potential. Watch this space!
A sharp greeting from one of the Tsalala cubs on the return of a Majingilane male into the area. The cub showed courage running ahead of his mothers and straight up to such a powerful lion.
A significant moment. We marvel at the then 15-month-old, Tamboti young female on her first kill without her mother’s assistance or even presence. She even had the maturity to hoist this kill high up into a tree where it was out of the Hyenas’ reach for the two days during which she fed. A beautiful accomplishment.
Photographed by: Sean Cresswell