The plains of the Serengeti are a waking dream, a place where time itself seems disconnected from reality. The name means “endless plains” in the Masaai native tongue, and that could not be more true. I have never before been where you can look in any direction and the horizon extends as far as you can see, and beyond. No people, no cars, no buildings, just the vast wilderness that sustains so much life.

Home to millions of animals, the landscape encompasses grasslands, forest, swamps, kopjes, and woodlands.

Nature’s drama plays out every day on the savannah. In this theater of life, pity has no place…a useless human emotion, Only survival matters. One animal dies so that another may live, an elemental truth that governs all.

We spent our days looking for wildlife in this magical place, as they stalked their prey we stalked them, using the big lenses to peer into their lives for a stolen moment. The sheer beauty and perfection of these animals makes speech inadequate to describe them, so I let my pictures do that for me. Photography, like music, is a universal language that speaks to the soul without the need for words.

Our Land Cruiser crawled across the landscape each day like a steel tortoise, keeping me safe in my shell from the predators who see me as nothing more than a meal, an exotic meat to be tasted if the opportunity were to present itself.

Light is different in Africa. When it arrives in the morning it has a velvety softness that you can almost stroke with your hand, then it gathers strength and direction to bathe everything in that glow that photographers dream about.

Before midday it becomes scalpel sharp and pushes contrast into the stratosphere. I was really done with it at that point, but if our path still had us in the bush I would look for black and white moments where the harsh illumination could help me draw charcoal sketches with the camera.

As late afternoon comes a whole new palette of colors begins to splash across the plains, and the sky pulses with ever deepening hues until it presents yet another jaw dropping sunset.

Night belongs to the animals and the insects, as it has since time began, and our frail human frames must retreat to our fires and our shelters to wait for the safety of daylight.

2 Replies to “The Serengeti – Blood and Beauty, Dust and Death”

  1. A light that’s velvety soft, that’s a beautiful description. Amazing photos! I especially like the one in which the vehicle path through the tall grass points to the perfectly framed, rocky hill in the distance.

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