African Elephant & Wildlife Photographer

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African Elephant and a Wildlife Photographer

The day I came face to trunk as Wildlife Photographer with the iconic African Elephant I was grabbed by a mixture of fear, adrenaline and adulation at this magnificent gargantuan creature. The emotions coursing through your body were paralysing and before you know the moment has passed and your camera unused. Not the reactions you would expect of a Wildlife Photographer.

Magnificent Bull Elephant walking across Salt Pan

 

People perceive the African Elephant as a loving gentle family orientated creature and they are, but they are also huge in size, very protective and can be very irritable and unpredictable in nature. It takes time and patience to understand the behaviour of the African Elephant of which as a Wildlife Photographer I have in abundance when I am in the bush. As a Wildlife Photographer I have learnt the indicators that African Elephants give when they feel threaten or relaxed this knowledge has help me to get some wonderful photographs. 

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My Golden Rule 

as a Wildlife Photographer when photographing an African Elephant or any animal is to get them relaxed. Never rush upon an animal when you first sight them. Survey your surroundings try and think like your subject and preempt their next move. This takes experience and time to learn but a worth while pursuit as it will dramatically improve your opportunity to get great photographs.

Bull elephant walks and blows dust over his body

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My First Real Dilemma as a Wildlife Photographer

when taking images the African Elephant was its size, where do I place the animal in a composition? Do I photograph it close up and fill the frame or place it within the frame to show the subject in its environment. I struggled at first with African Elephants and Giraffes because of there size but after a while I decided to cover all the bases possible. By positioning myself away from the subject and letting it walk towards me. This gave me time to photograph the animal in a wide compositional environmental image as it approach me. Until it eventually filled my frame that I was photographing parts of the subject, eyes, ears, tusks, trunks, tail and feet.

monochrome photo of Elephants on a ridge

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I will always remember my first days

as a Wildlife Photographer. The isolation of the African Bush was overwhelming. My senses were in overdrive, at night every sound heard was an imagined Lion creeping up on my tent to eat me. Sleep came hard and the safety of morning could not come quick enough.The feeling of being out of my depth after fruitless attempts of tracking and following animals in order to photograph them left me wondering was I in the right profession. I have come along way from my early days of being a novice Wildlife Photographer. I may have learnt a lot but I am still learning and believe I can never know enough.

You might like to read the post about Etosha Wildlife

 

Peter Delaney

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