It’s been more than a month since I returned from Africa, and I’ve been feeling overwhelmed ever since. I’ve got a lot of events to cover in the Bay Area and work to handle every day. Nonetheless, Africa is still fresh on my mind, and I still have plenty of photos to go through. After not traveling or having much to photograph for a year and a half, I’m ecstatic to share all these new photos with you. Today, I want to showcase some of my favorite elephant photos and stories, including the breathtaking moment when I witnessed elephants crossing Botswana’s Chobe River. So, after writing this blog for a while, let’s get down to business!
When you witness elephants in their natural habitat for the first time, one of the things that stands out is how adult females safeguard their young. The little ones are usually found in the center of the herd, which can be a challenge for photographers hoping to capture them in clear sight.
Fortunately, there are still numerous opportunities to capture photos of the little ones as they graze and wander from one location to another. I find it endearing how this small youngster’s trunk is touching its mother’s hind foot. During the excursion, everyone utilized a lengthy zoom lens to snap their shots, while I opted for the Canon R5 cameras along with the Canon 100-500mm lens to capture these images.
While relaxing on the deck of my elevated tent in Botswana, I caught sight of a young elephant frolicking in the water. Excited to capture the moment, I quickly grabbed my camera and snapped some photos of this adorable creature happily taking a bath. The two images shown above and below were taken simultaneously, along the marsh in my immediate surroundings. It was an incredible experience watching at least 10 elephants from my vantage point.
This photograph showcases a young elephant playing while its mother grazes nearby. Photographing elephants in their natural habitat has always been a passion of mine due to their fascinating behaviors. It’s not uncommon to witness them throwing dirt and water on themselves to regulate their body temperature, which provides excellent photo opportunities. To capture the moment, I made sure to set my camera’s shutter speed to at least 1/1000th of a second in order to freeze the dirt in the air.
One of the most memorable experiences from my recent safari trip was witnessing a magnificent sight of a bunch of elephants migrating from one area to another. It was fascinating to watch these massive creatures submerge themselves into the Chobe River while making their way across. Amongst all the photographs I captured, my personal favorite was of a unique elephant with two trunks towering over the rest of the group.
As we witnessed, a mother elephant discovered a shallow crossing for her little ones. I adore the image captured of one of the youngsters climbing on the back of another. I took this photograph by highlighting the two baby elephants as they traversed the Chobe River. Their cuteness is simply irresistible!
We took advantage of the opportunity to bring the boat near the shore to capture some great photos of the elephants on land. Later in the afternoon, we went on a land safari where we encountered a teenage male elephant that challenged us. You can watch the video above to see how it went. It was an amazing experience, although one of our guests got scared at the time. However, by the end of the trip, she admitted that it was the best part of her journey!
Capturing photos of majestic elephants while being in the water and having them above us on land provided a unique perspective. To make our photos stand out, I taught the technique of high-key shooting, which involves overexposing the photo to correctly expose the animal while blowing out the background. This technique was perfect for converting our images into black and white.
Many people ask me about my love for photography in Botswana. I always answer that one of the reasons is the opportunity to capture amazing shots from a boat on the river. Being at the same level as the subjects and being able to capture them in their natural environment is a joy. During our last evening on the Chobe River, I expressed to our guide that I wanted to find an elephant on the shoreline to take a photo with the sunset in the background. I challenged everyone to get a shot with the sun by the tusks or under the trunk. Everyone managed to capture a beautiful image using this scene. It was the perfect way to end the day!
I hope you liked the pictures. If you haven’t been to Africa yet, I highly recommend it – it’s a life-changing experience. We’ll be heading back there next year and you can find information about our upcoming trips here.