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February 27, 2024

At the foot of the mountain – Amboseli, Kenya

8 days…

Some of my images ‘just happen’ because I stumble upon something amazing when on safari. Other images are stored in my mental image bank and are images that I am actively looking for and working towards whilst on location. This is one of those…

‘At The Foot of The Mountain’ had been on my mind for a long time and was one of the reasons I visited Amboseli back in October 2023. I wanted to capture this elephant behaviour which is so classic – elephants marching in single file.

Classic and epic? Yes… But not as easy to capture as one might think. Like most wildlife photography a lot of factors have to come together all at once to create a strong image. Let me list a few things that I was looking for when creating this image to paint the picture.

Elephants need to march after each other.
They need to come towards me at an angle to be able to see all the elephants.
Other photographers on site need to act professionally not to scatter or scare the elephants.
They need to march at a similar distance from each other without major gaps in between individuals.
A cloudy day.
Lead elephant needs to flap its ears to have the classic look of an elephant.
Lead elephant needs a decent set of tusks.
A clean background without bushes or trees.
I needed to shoot from a low angle to emphasise the might of these elephants.
I wanted the elephants as close as possible to avoid the longest telephoto lenses.
All this has to happen close to a road since in most areas you are not allowed to drive off-road.

I looked for a spot where I realised elephants regularly cross the road. We parked our vehicle and waited and waited and waited. Many elephants crossed the road but as I mentioned… All of it has to come together all at once or the image will not fit my vision.

Day 8… It was a cloudy day and I was waiting patiently in my spot. Many groups of elephants had passed but none that ticked all the boxes.

Suddenly a group left the small waterhole in the distance and came towards my vehicle. They all left at once which wasn’t usual. The lead elephant had a decent set of ivory and they lined up nicely. I had seen it all before and at the last minute they scatter for one reason or another. it all came together and ‘At The Foot of The Mountain’ was created.

W: Johan Siggesson
E: Johan
T: +356 99894772

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