I had a group of photographically orientated guests the other day. We did the normal quick chat regarding the equipment, safety and were off on our first drive. Photographic safaris are a little different from the normal drives, because you’re looking for photographic opportunities, so not totally focused on ticking the boxes off.
When looking for photographic opportunities, you’re ultimately looking for a few things. The right light, the right angle of light and moments of interesting behaviour. If you tick these boxes off, you’re bound to have images that are beautiful and tell an interesting story.
Back to the drive, we decided to head north and I like to get off the main roads as quickly as what I can. So, I went onto a road called Morokuru south, which is just to the west of the Lodge, at the base of the Tweedepoort Ridge. This area can be very productive for large animals, especially at the nutrient hotspot near the end of the road. Nutrient hotspots are area’s that the soils have a massive concentration of minerals, especially salt that is carried to the surface by what’s called a capillary action. Basically, the minerals are transported by water that is being evaporated, and so deposited at or near the surface. This becomes a natural salt lick for the animals, during the dry season and also forms small pans during the wet season. So, animals are attracted to these area’s year-round.
We arrived at the hotspot to find a small herd of Elephants, doing exactly that. They were feeding on the mineral rich soils, to supplement their diets. There were a few youngsters with the herd, and a mischievous young bull as well. This all had the makings of a great photographic opportunity. The sun was behind the Elephants, which was perfect because of all the dust being thrown around. And the behaviour, particularly from the calves and the young bull was going to create some really interesting story moments.
As it happened, the Calf was interacting beautifully with the rest of the herd. The young bull, approached us trying to intimidate us and eventually gave up. This gave us some nice moments to try and get some close-up shots of his trunk. All in all, this was a really good start to the next 2 days.
Images & Text by Darren Donovan