How true these words are. At least they are true to me. I wish I knew who spoke them. But, then again, maybe their beauty comes from their anonymity- words spoken for truth, not for glory.
This photographic journal has been a long time coming. Spending my days at Londolozi in the Creative Hub, and the Photography Studio, I get to spend time with guests. I get to see incredible photographs and re-live the stories of each as they are etched further and further into their memories.
On some level, I owe my own inspiration to this. I have been inspired to create my own stories and further my creativity. I have revelled in every quiet moment that I have had recently to sit and capture the world around me. I have taken time out to practice my craft. To hone the skills that I possess and to want for more knowledge and skill so that I never become complacent. I have enjoyed the cool mornings alone, sitting quietly while I waited for sunbirds to feel comfortable enough in my presence to resume their daily chores. I have held my breath while I pressed the shutter, capturing the intensity and potency of the stare of a lioness. I have expressed gratitude for being allowed into the quiet world of a feeding leopard. I, too, have sat, content, at the base of a huge wild fig tree that had far more stories to tell than I could ever hope to hear, and have breathed in the countless exquisite landscapes that surround us at Londolozi.
I borrow these moments, quietly and with respect, from the bushveld. I do not own them. I am merely a spectator. I get to meditate over the memory of each encounter, and wait, patiently, for the next time I am allowed to observe the strangeness and beauty around me.
The quiet, watching eye of an elephant. Seemingly nonchalant, but ever vigilant. 1/640 f/5.6 ISO 6400
The Dudley Riverbank young female leopard peers through the leaves of the Lowveld milk-berry tree, half way through a feast 1/640 f/5.6 ISO 2000
She snakes her way down the tactile bark of the same tree photographed above 1/500 F/5.6 ISO 5000
She stops to listen before finding a cool spot in the shade to rest 1/500 F/5.6 ISO 5000
Always vigilant of her kill, the young female leopard gazes up with green eyes 1/500 F/5.6 ISO 6400
One of the newer ‘kids on the block’, the Matshipiri lioness remains alert while the two large males sleep soundly after feeding 1/400 F/5.0 ISO 4000
The closest thing to the ocean in the Sabi Sands – a sea of golden grass waves in the early afternoon breeze 1/4000 f/8 ISO 3200
The same sea of grass compliments the cool tones of a dramatic, and threatening, sky. 1/320 f/9 ISO 3200
The Sentinel: A squirrel alarms in the early hours of the morning. In the bush, even the smallest of animals alarming can mean the presence of a predator 1/4000 f/9 ISO 3200
A portrait of one of my first friends at Londolozi – Mr. Colby, butler at Varty Camp, tells a humorous story on the deck 1/1600 f/7,1 ISO 3200
Cool, snaking water bends and curves its way down the Sand River. Fin Foot Crossing is one of my favourite place at Londolozi, where animals crossing the river makes for exciting photography. Here, the view is what inspired me to pick up my camera 1/4000 f/5 ISO 3200
The safe return of this hippo to the water after the Mhangeni pride executed an unsuccessful stealth attack through long grass where the hippo grazed is followed by an aggressive head shake – letting us know that the excitement is over for the afternoon, and that we should be on our way 1/640 f5.6 ISO250
1/640 f/5.6 ISO 250
1/640 f/5.6 ISO 250
An old ‘tusker’ elephant bull stands his ground 1/2000 f/5.6 ISO 3200
Golden flecks of light dance amidst the grass late in the afternoon 1/3200 f/8 ISO xxx
We are always looking to photograph birds from the front. Taking a different perspective, I watched as this giant kingfisher stands poised for flight 1/4000 f/5.6 ISO 3200
The heavens open – not with rain but with silver rays of light 1/4000 f/7.1 ISO 3200
The Makotini Male leopard quenches his thirst in the apricot evening light 1/8 f/5.6 ISO 3200
The results of an early morning expedition to photograph sunbirds while the aloes flowered freely. This white-bellied sunbird reaches for nectar 1/400 f/5.6 ISO 5600
1/400 f/5.6 ISO 5600
A yawn such as this, in conjunction with grooming, will often indicate a lioness’ readiness to become active after a long day of sleeping through the heat 1/250 f/5.6 ISO
Tusks that could tell a story, folded into the most tactile of skins 1/640 f/5.6 ISO 6400
A commical wink of a Tsalala lioness 1/500 f/5.6 ISO 3200
Each time the shutter closes, a new story is borrowed from the wild. Which is your favourite?
Written and photographed by Amanda Ritchie, Photography Studio Manager