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Tsavo East

David Yarrow

Tsavo East

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TSAVO EAST
Tsavo, Kenya - 2017

This magnificent old elephant is one of the planet’s few remaining big tuskers, and her tusks are also symmetrical and touch at the tips. To my knowledge, this is unique. The rangers at Tsavo found her taking shade from the midday sun in the heart of T... show more
TSAVO EAST
Tsavo, Kenya - 2017

This magnificent old elephant is one of the planet’s few remaining big tuskers, and her tusks are also symmetrical and touch at the tips. To my knowledge, this is unique. The rangers at Tsavo found her taking shade from the midday sun in the heart of Tsavo East—a long drive for sure, but as long as she remained reachable, it was worth making the journey. My team was a long way from the base camp—maybe a four-hour drive.

The difficulty was determining how to work the camera at ground level. Remotes were not an option, as there was no pattern to her movement, and a prerequisite for remotes is predictable movement from the subject.

The next best option was to work from underneath the jeep—a potentially dangerous approach, but Richard Moller knew this elephant had never charged and toppled a vehicle before. While there is always a first, I trusted Richard. That’s a golden rule of mine in the field—trust those you partner with on the ground, otherwise why partner with them?

I was working with some of Nikon’s newest equipment—the D850 and the 105mm—and the textural detail on this elephant showcases the benefit of this combination. So many things played a part in this picture—Richard, the jeep, the camera, and, most of all, the elephant. In fact, I don’t think I would even get on the medal podium. This is a high-impact portrait of a wonderful elephant in her last years.

I will never see her again.
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