Photographed in Amboseli.
It's hands down my favorite image of the entire ‘Umoja’ collection. After all those years of traveling around Africa, I dare to say that witnessing these elephant herds of up to 80 individuals cross the dried lake-bed of Amboseli, has been without a doubt the most spectacular natural event I ever experienced.
The word ‘Amboseli’ is an English corruption of the Maa word ‘Empusel’, which means ‘salty, dry place’. Flowing underground streams of meltwater from the Kilimanjaro ice-caps are keeping certain areas of the park well supplied with water. However, at the end of the dry season, most of these streams, as well as the entire lake, dry up. As a result, the elephants embark on a daily walk from their overnight woodland shelter at the base of Kilimanjaro, all the way across the exposed lake-bed to the swamps in search of food and water. A daily spectacle that is hard to put in words.
United as one and in perfect synchrony, they snake across the lake. But what strikes most is the pure silence, only the sound of footsteps on cracked sun-baked soil are heard, as if they are walking on air. So powerful, yet so fragile.
After 6 months of preparations, I had been hoping all week to find this particular image, with exactly the right conditions I had been envisioning all that time. But when it finally happened while standing on the roof of my vehicle, documenting it, and taking it all in, it hit me more than expected. Everywhere across the world, the wild is vanishing in front of our eyes as animals and people compete for land, water, and food. The fact that such monumental sights still exist, in between all those ever decreasing wildlife populations is something to protect, to cherish, and to celebrate.
Amboseli, you can shake the dust from your shoes, but not from your heart.
This image is available in a limited edition of 50 images worldwide spread over 4 sizes. The artwork comes hand-numbered and signed by the photographer in pencil in the white border just beneath the image. Read more about it here.
30x45cm - edition of 25
50x75cm - edition of 15
70x105cm - edition of 5
100x150cm - edition of 3
Artist prints - edition of 2, read about it here
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