Serengeti. Meeting the Great Migration. (part three)

Andbeyond had appointed us a guide driver, Cyst,  that happened to be a passionate photographer himself (and a very good one) which made our quest even easier.

So it was 4pm when we started our first drive to the endless (serengeti) plains. Half ah hour drive away from the camp and, voila! Wildebeasts are everywhere left and right, around you and as far as the eye can see.  We were in the middle of the great migration. What a sight! What i was dreaming to see so many years it was finally taking place in front of my eyes. We were overwhelmed with joy.

After the first moments of excitement and some initial shots, one thing was clear. The animals were dispersed in the vast plains and although you could see that their number was endless, you could not photograph them in one single photo that could deliver the impact of the huge migratory herds we were seeing. No matter what i was trying i was not coming close (at least to what i had previsualized).

 

Second important point for photographers.

Previsualuzation is a good thing…many times. I mean to work the image in your head before you actually take it can help you get at the point you want fast. It is good to have a plan. Right? On the other hand if what you see in front of you can not be connected with what you had previsualized then you might end up…Frustrated. That was what I was feeling after a while. Imagine, i was among hundreds of thousands of animals in what is a life time experience…and i was frustrated. Does that make sense? I mean i had previsualized a scene (i guess from national geographic documanteries) that all the wildebeasts are packed densed and i was taking a high vantage point shot of the huge herds. Ok there are scenes like that in planet earth type of documantaries but they are spending weeks of continuous filmimg to capture scenes of great magnitude. I was only there a few hours.

Later that night my godsend wife talked some sense to me and made me realize that i have to stop thinking for the perfect shot and live the moment. Yes, live the moment, that is all about.

Back to the plains, I had to readjust my shooting. I had to go with what nature was giving me. I did not have dramatic skies but i got some light breakthroughs for few minutes.When that happened I tried to be close to some animals to get some good illumination on them. Nature was not giving me dense herds either so I opt out for some tighter shots.

a wonderful sight of a pregnant zebra

while the sun was playing hide and seek

We finished the first game drive venturing among the thousands of wildebeasts (while I was trying to capture the impossible shot).

Later we returned back to the lodge and after a very needed shower we sat around the boma (fire) with other guests and the guides exchanging Experienaces with a glass of wine.

These are trully unforgetable moments. You are in the middle of the savanah, under the african sky full with so many stars that you think you are in a planitarium and all you hear between your talks is the roar of the lion. How can you beat that?

These moments have turned out to be equally overwelming to our wildlife encounters.

After the boma it was time for a delicious dinner under the stars. The private tables with the candle lights are set among the bushes in close proximity to the main camp but still you get the feeling that you are out there by yourself in the remote wilderness.

After dinner it was time to retreat to our quarters (tent).

We finished quickly the photographic task (upload images to the computer, backing them up) and we dove in our warm bed for our first african night sleep in a tent. Not more than a few minutes later a familiar voice started echoing in the air. A lion was roaring so deep and loud that you felt it should be only a few meters away. I tell you when you hear the lion roar you have no doubts that there could be no other king in the animal’s kingdom. Hear it in the middle of the night, feeling it close to you and it can suck your breath away.

Claudia turned to me asking: do you think it is very close?… Not really, i replied with the certain confidence of an african ranger. It should be 3-4 km away. (Note that you can hear a lion’s roar for up to 8 km away).

Next morning everybody was asking, did you hear the lions? How far were they? A ranger said that they were right behind the camp, maybe 1 km away. Claudia turned her head towards me…..I avoided contact :)

more to come

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