THE GARDEN OF EDEN
Amboseli, Kenya - 2018
This is one of the most unusual contextual images I have taken in East Africa in the last few years. The white
of the flowering meadows and the
white of the summit of Kilimanjaro combine to give the image an ethereal glow. The extreme weather conditions— it had rained torrentially for four or
five days—resulted in an implausible theater of dreams.
There was more snow on Kilimanjaro than I have ever seen before, and the normal arid dust bowl of Amboseli was
a garden bursting into acres of white carpet. For anyone who knows this area, the combination of whites provokes a degree of visual disquietude. It was quite a remarkable sight that was all down to the freak weather.
The biblical rainfall had discouraged other visitors, so I had the amphitheater to myself. The bigger problem was that there were very few elephants in the park—the rain had pushed them out and into the forests below Kilimanjaro. I knew, however, that there are always a good number of big elephants hanging around in the vicinity of the Kenya Wildlife Service Rangers’ headquarters.
As soon as I saw the white meadows,
I knew there was a chance of an image that offered a story of both lyrical
grace and beauty—especially if the clouds lifted and the summit of Africa’s tallest mountain was exposed for a
few minutes. Then I just needed the elephants—no elephants, no party. About 5:00 p.m., everything came together as a small group of elephants headed to the foothills for the night and walked right through the white meadows. Getting
in the right place for the composition was a fairly intense 10 minutes, but I knew this was a moment in time and I would not forgive myself if I missed it.