The Handshake

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Secret societies have it. Mob bosses have it. Elephants have it. Secret Handshakes.

My time spent in this research bunker at a very remote waterhole in  will always bring back fond memories of really seeing and experiencing the daily lives of elephants up close and personal.

Elephants are highly social creatures, and even though many of the bulls frequenting this waterhole arrived and left on their own, they never failed to interact with the other bulls around the waterhole, often spending long periods just standing close to others, making contact and rumbling off their tummies or drinking water.

These two bulls were greeting each other and gently touching trunks. The giraffes across on the other side of the waterhole caught my eye and I tried to work them into the composition by shooting vertically. I just love the perspective here.

Techs: Nikon D3s | Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8 VR-II @ 200mm | f11 | 1/800 SS | ISO-640

I wanted to share this image today as the day of announcing the winners of the BBC Veolia Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014 draws closer. This photo of mine was a finalist in the “Black and White” category, and I had high hopes for it. Alas, it was not included in the final selection of winning images.

It was a good year for me as far as the “final round” of the BBC WPY goes as I had 3 single images and a portfolio of 6 images through to the final round (none of which made it to the awarded images, unfortunately).

I am looking forward to seeing the actual awarded images and seeing who walks away with the big honours this year after my friend and countryman, the legend Greg du Toit scooped up the grand title last year.

I will try again next year, as it’s always fun to enter images into this most prestigious competition in nature photography.

Thanks for viewing! What do you think of this photo? Let me know in the comments section below.

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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!

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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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Michele Jankelow
Michele Jankelow

Fabulous photograph! Thank you for sharing!

Maria Manuela Lopes

Wonderful foto

Susan Frudd

I love this amazing photo. Showing us just how intelligent and wonderful elephants are, I know we know that already but all these extra facts really matter.

Doris Charles

Brilliant photo Morkel.