Moru Kopjes, Tanzania, Africa The word “safari” literally means “long journey” in swahili and “to travel” in arabic. I could spend forever trying to describe the day to you with all sorts of other colourful words but I don’t think I could find anything as poignant as that.
After being out all day seeing many thousands of wildebeest, buffalo and zebra, obsessing over lions lounging on kopjes (unique granite outcroppings shown in the photo) we finally got to a point where we could slow down. The previous hours we were desperately trying to absorb and photograph every new little thing we saw, exclaiming “wildebeest! Oooh no baby wildebeest! ooh no baby wildebeest with an egret standing on it!... No I have a better one with egrets AND oxpeckers on it and it’s in better light!”. We were so tuned into looking for wildlife that every rock and stump in the distance had to be an elephant, rhino, or a baboon standing on a hyena on an elephant. Somehow the shame of the misidentification didn’t stop us from pointing these imaginary animals out.
The golden grass of the Serengeti rolled in the breeze personifying our collective deep breath of relaxation as this sight rolled into view. We took a photograph, then dropped our cameras in awe as we simply watched, taking it in without pointing out every little thing we saw and just being present.
Photographic Details: This was a very cut and dry easy decision to make for me. I don’t like having horizons in the middle unless I’m somehow forced to by my subject or some other circumstance. Instead I like to choose an emphasis and ask myself what’s more important or more beautiful, the sky or the foreground? Here the dramatic clouds above had so much texture with a touch of blue sky, but below the wildebeest there was nothing but bare grass. With this in mind I let the Serengeti foreground anchor the photo on the bottom third, and the sky above take up the two thirds, following the aesthetic rule of thirds and making it easier for the viewer to understand what they should be looking at. The rocky outcroppings of the Moru Kopjes were then kept on the left so the eye could follow the formations into the image. All of this is designed to keep the viewers eyes inside the photo, so they don’t stray off and lose interest.
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