A moment of magic photographed last week. I’ve spent many hours in the field cutting a frustrated figure and leaving the field with nothing that matches my definition of ‘good’.
A storm was due this week and I knew that if I put in the hours and employed the heart I would stand a chance of leaving with some powerful content. I observed the sky as it covered with clouds for about an hour, then this mother and calf moved into position and finally got the image.
I put in the hours that day and invested a considerable amount of heart and soul. The negatives of life provide the emotional energy to invest in imagery. What an image.
I have envisaged this image for longer than I can remember, and am delighted to finally have it in there bag. Zebra are herd animals and so naturally stay near one another, but they are also skittish and getting close enough is a challenge.
The zebra is all about stripes and therefore the resulting image should be all about the stripes, and then you hope that the light does its thing and illuminates those stripes.
It grabs the attention and holds it, like any good photograph should.
The giraffe often reminds me of Roald Dahl’s legendary Big Friendly Giant character — they are somewhat otherworldly, yet delightfully friendly. ⠀
They are arguably one of Africa’s most loved species and thus I had to think of a unique way to photograph them. I wanted to capture their personality and there is no better way to do that than by capturing an eye-level portrait — not an easy feat when the giraffes eyes are between 4.6 and 6.1 m off the ground. ⠀
The only logical way to capture the image was from an elevated platform, and earlier in May we finally nailed it. What a beautiful giant.⠀
You & Me
When I saw this image for the first time I knew there could only be one title, but I couldn’t put the image into words and thus its release was delayed.
As the great Elliott Erwitt said “The whole point of taking pictures is so that you don’t have to explain things with words.” His words resonate strongly with me regarding this beautiful moment in time.
Under Setting Suns
There can be no doubt that this is a romanticists photograph, it encapsulates the romanticist’s view of Africa and overlooks the many harsh realities of this fractious continent.
I do hope that the image touches you, and in doing so inspires you to have a positive impact on conservation efforts. The giraffe is in trouble, and we must do more.
At first it seems ridiculously simple, but this image has many layers. We live our lives in colour; but sometimes being removed from literal reality can be an enlightening experience.
There could be a thousand stories in this single image — it is up to the viewer to employ their imagination and invest their emotion. What a beautiful planet we call home.
I enjoy playing with the dazzling patterns of the zebra, however for the image to have any lasting impact it must have a strong composition.
My preferred zebra species is always the grevys, they poses the most visually arresting stripes and provide many photographic options.⠀
When I Grow Up
This composition tugs on the heart-strings of almost anyone that views it, and provides only the start of what could become a complex narrative in ones imagination. ⠀⠀
It was a special moment, and pays homage to the those with the most important job in the world - parenthood.⠀⠀
The Light & The Dark
Light is essential to good photography - it can make or break an image. Something I've learnt over the years is that while light is essential, it can still be a photographers foe as well as friend. Shoot at the wrong time of the day and the light will indeed work against you; mid-day light is incredibly harsh and this is mostly avoided.
This image was shot one morning early last year - the light was clean and crisp, complementing the beautiful pattern of the zebra to great effect.
Although I've many Zebra works, this still remains one of my favourites.
I have known about this backdrop for a number of years, and I have many failed attempts at this image in my archives. There are two main elements, both of which are essential — the zebra being in the required location and the weather conditions. .
My experience told me that, if I waited long enough, the zebra would most likely move into position. The trickier of the two variables is the weather, over which we have no control and, in previous attempts, has failed to comply. Luckily, just two days ago, the midday sun illuminated the scene perfectly — we finally have the image!
Tears Of The Vanishing
The elephant is vanishing, in 2018 it was anticipated that the species would be completely wiped out by 2020.
In the current climate, the elephant faces more threats than just the poacher. Populations are growing to unprecedented levels and the continent of Africa is struggling to accommodate these increasing populations alongside the native fauna.
I fear a world without the elephant; if we are ignorant enough to allow this most spellbinding of species to fall into extinction then who knows what other species we will allow to suffer the same fete. As humans we must take a step back and evaluate how we can live in harmony with these wonderful beasts.
After all, they were here long before us.
The Soft Touch
Emotion is key to my style of photography, indeed the lens looks both ways, it is not only representative of it's subject but also of it's operator and artist. I enjoy capturing portraiture that at its centre has a strong sense of emotion and there is perhaps no stronger bond than that between a mother and her child.
This newly-born calf is to play a big part in the future of her species - she is a Reticulated Giraffe, a species of which only 8,000 remain. She will go on to produce the next generation of this beautiful species, a generation that is hopefully not the last. ⠀
I hope those that know me and my mind well will guess that I took this vignette. It is a special image to me and one that I will treasure for many years to come.
I think it encapsulates all that is wonderful about having Autism in my field. I framed the image having assessed the surroundings obsessively — the taller growth in the bottom left perfectly complements that in the top right corner, the background allows for glistening bokeh which adds to the mystical narrative and the canopy above provides light in exactly the right places, and blocks it in others. I do not simply walk up and take an image, I scan my surroundings extensively, a trait which is exhausting on one hand, but extremely beneficial on the other.
I always knew that creating a black-and-white image of an animal known mainly for its arresting colour would be difficult, but I think this is a very special image.
After many years of social exclusion, I have finally found my calling and the obsessive and non-stop nature of my mind is being put to good use in the creation of these vignettes. I am a dreamer, and I am living my dream.
This was one of the most exhilarating moments of my career to date, my heart was thumping at 100mph and my hands where shaking. I had one chance to get an image and in the midst of an adrenaline rush this was far from straight forward.
Once the adrenaline had passed and I had a chance to review the image I knew I had captured the power and majesty of the white rhino. A very unique species and a moment I will remember forever.