Death Dance

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Sometimes you spend hours waiting for a specific photo, anticipating and watching for the decisive moment in sweltering heat. Other times you just stumble into the right spot at the right time.

I wish I could wax lyrical about the planning and preparation that went into capturing this moment, but I can’t. It was a combination of right time/place and luck (we all need some luck in this thing called !).

During our 2013 +Wild Eye Great Migration photo safari I hosted with Marlon du Toit, we saw some lions lying in the grass next to the Mara river, and decided to head closer for some portrait photography.

As we pulled to a stop, to our amazement a lone scrambled up the riverbank (having just done a solo crossing we couldn’t see from our vantage point), and the poor thing literally almost tripped over the lions.

The largest female of the small pride wasted no time in pouncing on the unfortunate ungulate, and a lengthy struggle ensued during which we were privy to the emotional dance of death between these species that occurs during the Great Migration.

This particular wildebeest didn’t seem to want to give up and kept struggling to escape his attackers, but to no avail.

We were very close to the action, and shooting with a 500mm lens forced me to compose a little out-of-the-box, but I liked how it came out!

Nikon D3s | Nikkor 500mm f4 VR-II | f8.0 | 1/1250 SS | ISO-1400

 I also converted it to monochrome, and I like it better in that medium. What do you think??

Nikon D3s | Nikkor 500mm f4 VR-II | f8.0 | 1/1250 SS | ISO-1400

Let me know which you prefer by dropping a comment below.Thanks for stopping by! I hope you have a great week.

If you would like to join us in the Mara Triangle this year for an awesome photographic adventure, then check out THIS page.

If you would like to purchase this tone version as a limited edition fine art print for your office or home, mail me: [email protected] Erasmus

 

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Morkel Erasmus

Morkel Erasmus

I used to relish writing these kinds of “bio” pieces and would flaunt the odd impressive word and use dashing grammar to make it sound like I am a boundary-shifting photographer. These days I prefer stating it in much simpler ways, much more relatable ways, much more believable ways… The fact of the matter is this: I love Africa. I love its people, its wild places and its wildlife. I love being immersed in these places, observing and photographing the fall of light on the land and the daily lives of the creatures that call it home, and presenting the results to whoever will take a look. To me, nature photography is all about being in the moment, and capturing that moment in a way that can relate to someone who didn’t have the privilege of being there with me. Sometimes I am able to capture a unique vision of the scene before me, and sometimes I just capture it the way most folks would according to classical photographic guidelines. Yet I always enjoy sharing the images and experiences and imparting the knowledge I have, both in-the-field and later online or in presentations, workshops and courses. I also just simply enjoy capturing and sharing the beauty of God's creation! The greatest thing I’ve found about wildlife and nature photography in Southern Africa is the unity and familiarity of the community of people that share this passion. We come from all walks of life and all cultures and backgrounds, yet our passion for our natural heritage and our dream to see it preserved for future generations binds strangers together and fuels conversations around campfires long after other people have run out of conversation and energy. Join me on a WildEye adventure to experience this sharing community spirit and learn to anticipate that fleeting moment and be ready for it, learn to immerse yourself in the experience without losing focus of your photographic goals…and above all, learn to see Africa anew… because there are none as blind as those who look but do not see!

Morkel Erasmus

Morkel Erasmus

Since picking up a DSLR camera for the first time, a little over 3 years ago, Morkel has been invigorated with an unbridled passion for the photographic art form. He has grown at a tremendous pace and put immense energy into the creation of his images. He absolutely loves spending time in the wild places of his native Southern Africa. From a young age he has been visiting legendary wildlife and outdoor locations, including the Kruger Park National Park and the Drakensberg Mountains, with his family. Now that he has found a way to share the natural beauty of his homeland with the rest of the world he is regularly out on photography trips. An Industrial Engineer by profession, and an accomplished artist in genres like music and poetry, Morkel has always enjoyed whatever allows him to express his creativity to the fullest. Photography turned out to be the perfect "marriage" between his engineering brain and artistic soul. "I hope that in some way I can raise awareness through my imagery of the plight of not only our wildlife but also the fragility of the last remaining wilderness areas that they call home.” Morkel was recently honoured for his commitment to his craft by receiving a "Highly Commended" for one of his images in the 2010 BBC Veolia Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. He is based in Mpumalanga, South Africa and even though he prefers going on safari with his family and friends, Morkel also leads the odd photographic safari and has recently begun presenting workshops in post-processing techniques.

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Maria Manuela Lopes
Maria Manuela Lopes

I prefer monochrome

Yilma Dellelegn Abebe

Hi Morkel!
I love both pics by the way! The first one is right on target telling a story of the place as well as the subjects. I like the look on the lioness showing that she is a no-BS professional with cool eyes. The B/W one is more evocative and the stark contrast between the tones of the lion's coat and the wildebeest's is the reason for the beauty of this photograph. Nice work man!