After a rainy January, February turned out to be a dry, hot and dusty month in the Masai Mara. It was quite a struggle keeping my equipment dust free and I had to take great care when changing lenses. On my return I popped in to my Canon service agents Fixation, to have my camera sensors cleaned! It seems strange now to be thinking of this while sitting here in snowy London, where it is -3c.
This time I was in the company of my great friend Roberta Bondar, fellow photographer and Patron of my charity Hoopers Africa Trust. As always, it was a great pleasure and lots of fun.
I returned with some great leopard images. of Siri, Kabosa, Bahiti and Fig, along with some of their cubs, but for me the highlight was spending time photographing the Eurasian roller, a migratory visitor to the Mara. While not quite as ‘showy’ as the native lilac breasted roller, it is beautiful all the same. Plenty of new images to consider for my 2018 exhibitions.
I hope to see many of you back at the Oxo Gallery for my summer show, which runs from 27th July to 19th August 2018.
I am honoured once again, to have been invited by Margot Raggett to contribute to the next in her series of books; Remembering Great Apes, following the success of her previous titles Remembering Rhinos and Remembering Elephants.
Remembering Great Apes will be a beautiful coffee table book, full of images donated by many of the world’s top wildlife photographers and will be published on October 15th 2018. This will be the third in the Remembering Wildlife series which was created by wildlife photographer Margot Raggett after she was moved to take action upon seeing a poached elephant in Kenya.
Her mission is, through images donated by top wildlife photographers, to raise awareness of the threats facing various wildlife species and then through sales of the books, funds to protect them. Her first two books, Remembering Elephants and Remembering Rhinos, were both funded through Kickstarter campaigns (Elephants and Rhinos ) and were highly acclaimed. They have so far raised more than £300,000 between them for conservation and this is all thanks to Kickstarter!
This year’s book will have a foreword by famous chimpanzee conservationist Dr Jane Goodall, DBE and will be edited by world-renown great ape expert Ian Redmond OBE. The same art director and designer are in place and the printing will also be in the same fine art house in Italy as the previous two books.
I had an excellent 10 days in Kenya recently with my friend and guide Paul Kirui. Thanks to Kicheche Bush Camp & Mara Explorer for, as usual, looking after us so well. Some great leopard sightings in both The Masai Mara & Olare Orok Conservancy, especially the large male below. Male leopards are notoriously shy yet this was one of the most relaxed males I have photographed in a long time. I also had an encounter with some very young hyena pups, who would have thought they could be so cute, they are more like bear cubs.
A Happy Christmas to everyone and Best Wishes for a Happy & Healthy 2018. I hope to see many of you back at the Oxo Gallery for my summer show, which runs from 27th July to 19th August 2018.
I am delighted to have just received my limited edition copy of the Remembering Rhinos book. It will be launched at the Royal Geographical Society on 1st November. There will be an exhibition of the photographs from the book at La Galleria, 5b Pall Mall, London, SW1Y 4UY from 30th October until 11th November. Images for the book and the exhibition have been donated by 65 of the leading wildlife photographers from around the world.
Below is a short video of me opening my limited edition book, showing just how beautifully it has been produced. Standard editions of the book, which are equally beautifully produced, will be available for £45. A few of the 50 limited edition books are still available, for details of how to purchase and for information about the exhibition, click on the link below. The 50 limited edition books are each signed by Virginia McKenna OBE, co-founder of the Born Free Foundation and come with a signed photograph of my image “Africa’s Heart”.
I have just returned from our biennial trustees visit to my Charity, Hoopers Africa Trust Kenya in the Masai Mara. The Charity provides education to disadvantaged girls in Kenya. See www.hoopersafricatrust.org for more information.
Whilst there I was able to allocate some time to my photography. August is not renowned as being a time of rain, but we were subjected to some incredible down pours and storms. The rains very quickly raised the river levels which made the Wildebeest crossings more daunting than usual and stranded a pride of Lions on the bank, not wishing to risk the fast flowing waters.
Below is one of my favourite images from the trip. Click on the image below to view a gallery of further images…
My 10th Anniversary exhibition at gallery@oxo, closed on Sunday August 20th, we had a staggering number of visitors through the door, more than 19,000 people over the duration of the exhibition. Thanks to all who visited and to those who helped make it such a great success.
I have recently returned from a very productive visit to Kenya. I spent time in the Masai Mara, and Samburu, somewhere I had not visited for many years. In Samburu, located in central Kenya, it is possible to see a number of animals not seen further south. These include the Grevy’s zebra, reticulated giraffe, the Gunther’s dik-dik, the Somali ostrich and the geranuk. The geranuk is an amazing antelope capable of standing erect on it’s hind legs to feed on bushes otherwise out of reach. You will see a picture of one doing this in the full gallery, which you can view by clicking on the image below.
I spent four days following a leopard known as Siri, who had lost her cub, after being chased away by lions. Each morning and evening she returned to one of two trees and called plaintively for her cub. Since I left and returned to the UK, I was delighted to hear that her cub had indeed retuned after five days missing. A very happy ending. Below is a short video of Siri calling from a tree one evening. It was filmed from my phone so the sound and picture quality is not great, do put your volume up to maximum. You will at least be able to get a sense of the wonderful experience. For those of you with a strong constitution there is another video of a family of lions trying to eat their kill, while fighting off 24 hyenas, that was an incredible spectacle. Also below is an image, of Siri, silhouetted in the tree at sunset, click on that image to go to a full gallery. Some of these images will be included in my upcoming 10th Anniversary Exhibition at gallery@oxo next month, along with others from the past 10 years. I hope to see you then.
My latest trip to Kenya was a hot and very dusty one. The dry season is at its brutal peak and with diminishing water supplies the rivers have stopped running and the watering holes are rapidly turning into a crocodiles delight as the visitor numbers increase. But as always in the Mara, life goes on.
I have been invited to be part of an extremely worthy project, Remembering Rhinos.
Remembering Rhinos will be a beautiful coffee table book, created with the aim of raising funds to fight rhino poaching and protect this endangered species.
The Kickstarter campaign for this project, Remembering Rhinos, went live today. I would love you all to check it out at www.rememberingrhinos.com/kickstarter and consider giving us your support. Along with many of the world’s top wildlife photographers, I am delighted to have been invited to contribute images to this important project, the follow up to Remembering Elephants. Kickstarter will hopefully pay for the print run, with all subsequent sales of the book going to anti-poaching initiatives via the Born Free Foundation, #rememberingrhinos