Few things are as awe inspiring as the vast expanse of space, pair that with the wide open landscape of middle of nowhere Botswana and it is possible to start feeling a little small in this universe. The relative size and importance comes crashing back in quickly when you hear a lion roar in the not so far distance.
The morning was spent in the hide photographing birds. It was a sunken freight container with some slots cut out to allow for excellent low level angles for pictures. The water hole out front was intended to drive in big game, but recent rains didn't force the animals in like it normally would. So instead of photos of elephants, and other big game, all we got was the occasional bird. Not the end of the world, we were stocked with coffee and rusks, life was good.
After a long morning, the guides told us they had a surprise for us later that day. Hours later . . . we found out what the surprise was, a lion kill and a small pride of lions. This was a very cool surprise. We spent a good deal of time with the pride (that is another story entirely), and after most of the evening passed us by, it was time for sundowners and some galaxy shots.
I wanted to get at least one galaxy shot while in Africa, and it was starting to get dark. So it was time to head out. We took our final shots of the lions and hit the road. It was still light, which was good, we needed light to get set up, and most importantly, to get our sundowners. I have come to love sundowners out in the bush, nothing quite like a drink at that final moment of light, something both refreshing and exciting about it.
When the car stopped in the middle of the field, I was a bit shocked, we had been driving for less than 5 minutes, in fact, I could still see the hill we passed over, the hill that the lions were just on the other side of . . . it was not far. Now I know in reality it was quite a ways, the lions had just eaten, and it would be a while before they were up and moving again. However, the first time you hop out of the car, moments after spending hours with lions, its a little intimidating.
We took advantage of the remaining light and set up our camera's. We used a tripods to set the camera's in the correct place, and got our settings configured, now it was time to wait. Interesting enough, our wait was the exact amount of time it took to drink two Gin & Tonics. After a polishing off our second drink, we walked back over to the camera's, spotlight in hand. We released the shutter, lit the tree with the spotlight for a second or two, and waited. I checked my image, and adjusted both the position as well as where we planned to light the tree. Time for a second shot. Moments later, we had a good image. I took a few more pictures to make sure we had it, and we were done. We packed up quickly as it was now completely dark. Walking back to the car, only 30 feet away or so, we could hear the distant sound of lions calling each other. It was a terrifying sound, and immediately creates a primitive instinct of survival in the back of my mind. I could only image how it would feel not having a car within a few feet . . . . Bad, it would feel very bad. Turns out I can imagine.
We threw the gear in the car and headed camp, one more shot in hand. The bright light, I am told, in the far off distance was a small brush fire, faintly visible prior to taking the photo, but created a beautiful distant glow on the final image.
"In the Distance" is part of my collection "Of Things Large and Small" and is offered in three sizes, each in a limited edition. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this photo will go to conservation efforts in East Africa.
Like my work? I invite you to sign up below to follow my blog and keep up to date on new photos, stories, upcoming safari's, news, events, promotions, giveaways and conservation information. I look forward to sharing all this with you.
Sign up to keep up to date with this site and, for a limited time*, every 200 people that sign up, I will give away a signed copy of one of your choice of "To War" or "Leopard in Field"
*Print give away currently limited to the first 10,000 followers or 50 print give-aways.
**See "Free Stuff" for additional information