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  • September 2020
    M T W T F S S
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    Kruger National Park – Day 1, Part 2

    While lost in the elephants, a retired couple drove up beside me and said, “you have quite a view!” The gentleman remarked that he had never seen the elephants up in the rocks, and I was lucky to experience it so close, before driving off. Before leaving myself, I switched my D600 to video mode and took a brief movie of the closer part of the group. You can hear the image stabilization noise on the lens, as I forgot to take my finger off the focus (I’m such a noob). The troop was about 100 feet away.

    After a while I decided to see what else Kruger had to offer, and wound my way to the other side of the hill. There wasn’t much going on, so I turned around and drove back to see what my friends the elephants were up to. As I drove up I saw to the left of the road mama and a baby, and to the right, the bull.

    I paused to consider my next move.

    Now, placing myself between a mom and baby elephant and their highly protective bull seemed like a bad idea, and while not violating the letter of the ranger’s advice to not get eaten, getting sat on by an elephant appeared to violate the spirit of the warning. But if you look at picture of the bull, you’ll notice what I saw – the pair was to the left and ahead in the road, and the bull would have get around that log. I was pretty sure he couldn’t jump it. So I did what any sane photographer would do: I proceeded to slowly drive up to mom and baby, with the intent to get a nice closeup.

    Before I had even reached them, thunderous stomps, branches being broken in rapid succession, and a very angry “Bbbbrrrrrrrmmmpt!” induced me to floor it and rush 30 feet ahead. Behind me I saw the bull standing right where my car had been just a second earlier. Spry guy.

    I also failed to get a decent picture. Mission: failed. But you can see they were perhaps just 10 feet away, and it was a neat experience I won’t soon forget. Here’s the sequence I shot as I zipped past the pair:

    What might have been… I continued down the dirt road, retracing my route down the hill, towards a small watering hole. I would run into the very same couple I had just talked to, and they would share with me a cautionary tale about messing with angry elephants.

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