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I'm a Cairns, far north Queensland, Australia professional photographer specialising in travel, editorial and environmental portraiture.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Nice elephant, don't wave your ears at me!

In keeping with the theme of yesterday's post on safety while photographing I thought I'd post a couple of pics taken in decidedly dodgy situations.

This is the Okavango Delta in Botswana and I went on a walking safari with some friends. Our campsite was a place called Oddballs. This place is elephant city. They're kind of like the cockroaches of Cairns - only a lot bigger!

A friend and I would have competitions to see how close we could get to them before they started flapping their ears. The intent was to get them to charge us which was really stupid but we never got close enough to get them that angry anyway!

This shot was taken on one of our walking safaris. I was with a small group of friends and we were standing there photographing this giant bull elephant knock fruit out of a tall palm tree. I had a 75-300mm zoom on and was happily snapping away.

After a few minutes I noticed that I was continually having to zoom back to get him all in until I got to the 75mm end of the zoom and he was only just squeezing in the frame! Somewhere in the back of my mind I was thinking this is pretty close but if it was dangerous the guide would have said something.

So I turned around to ask the guide and, to my utter horror, discovered that the rest of the group were hiding behind an ant hill 500 metres behind me, frantically trying to motion me to join them. Here I was, so intent on getting the shot that I hadn't even noticed that everybody else had buggered off. Suddenly I was very,very close to a very, very big elephant who had just noticed me and was flapping his ears.

For those of you who don't speak elephant, ear flapping means that they're not very happy to see you and are about to charge. Well I had to get a shot of that as all my efforts to get ear flapping around camp had failed. Click, click. Oops, he doesn't seem to like that. And then I just about jumped the 500 metres to that ant hill.

I thought elephants never forget but dumbo seemed to forget about me pretty quick because as soon as I was gone he went back to happily munching away.

Another photographic adventure brought to you by dodgy brothers travel photography!

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