Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Dangerous Liaisons

I am often asked what is the most dangerous thing that has ever happened to me in nature, as if what I do is inherently risky or life-threatening. I never like to disappoint people, but my stock answer is this:  "driving to the airport."  The fact is that although there are real dangers in the wild world, I am vastly more afraid of humans than of animals.
Having said that,  in India last month I had one of those exhilarating experiences that reminds me simultaneously of why I enjoy what I do, and that...well, stuff happens.
I was following primates in a remote reserve in Assam, when my Indian guide turned towards me with wide eyes and whispered forcefully: "hati, hati!"  Hati is Assamese for elephant, and when one is coming towards you in the forest, it pays to go elsewhere.
I have seen loads of elephants before, but always from the relative safety of a vehicle.  By contrast, seeing an elephant while on foot is a sure-fire reminder of how puny we truly are.  I managed to get a couple quick shots of this approaching female and then happily retreated.  It is imperfect, perhaps, but to me carries all the heart-pounding excitement of that moment.  Driving to the airport may be more dangerous, but it is never this exciting...

1 comment:

  1. Wow, what an absolutey beautiful BEAST! Sometimes the best photos are the imperfect ones. This elephant speaks volumes! If it had been the perfect shot I'm quite sure we'd all be mourning the LOSS of one of Nature's BEST Photographers!