Sometimes the stars just align, and everything seems to work out perfectly. Or maybe that's just how I choose look back at it. Those double Gin and Tonics never hurt . . . all three of them.
Its funny, as a wildlife photographer, we are typically laid back by nature. Very little gets under our skin, that is, until someone gets in the way of something we know is going to be a remarkable capture. Its one of those things you can see before they happen, as if its being laid out in front of you.
We had puttered around for hours looking for something with very little to see. So when we laid eyes on the herd of elephants preparing to cross the Chobe, we couldn't have been more excited. Only problem, our guide . . . a portly man with zero sense of urgency. He was nice enough, but had very little desire to hurry, for anything. He ambled about like a lazy turtle, the mere thought of moving quickly made him tired.
This was a pairing of two things of exact opposites, something you knew could boil over into madness. One of those opportunities that is hard to capture, hard to experience, and time is not on your side. Once the elephants started to cross we only had a few minutes, and with every boat in the area swarming to get a good position, space was running out. Yet still, we had the pace of a third grader who didn't do his daily homework, walking to school in the morning, any excuse to stop, you take, doing your best to delay the inevitable. Every chance our guide got, he would slow us down, or point out something along the way. I might be laid back, but lazy bothers me.
"I don't care about anything else, just get us over to the elephants" was said more than once, by both myself and Greg.
They were half way across when we finally reached them, and while we did end up with great photos of elephants swimming, we continued to press our guide to get us in better position. Perhaps a bit out of resentment for making us wait, its hard to say . . . I had been drinking. So we followed them as they reached the shallows on the other side, luckily here no other boats could join us.
Rolling into the very shallow water, we knew it was pushing it . . . but our ability to get in great position was worth it, for us at least. We felt the boat ground out more than once. It was shallow, but we took advantage of the sunset, and the elephants as best we could until the last light of the day disappeared over the horizon. When we finally turned to head back, it took us almost 45 minutes to wind our way our of the shallow water, the 30 or 40 yards back to the main channel. I thought it was hilarious, perhaps the third double G&T helped, our guide didn't think it was so funny.
Truthfully, I didn't even end up with a single portfolio image from that evening, just a great story.
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