Monday, 30 March 2015

Death Dance

Sometimes you spend hours waiting for a specific photo, anticipating and watching for the decisive moment in sweltering heat...other times you just stumble into the right spot at the right time. 

I wish I could wax lyrical about the planning and preparation that went into capturing this moment, but I can't. It was a combination of right time/place and luck (we all need some luck in this thing called wildlife photography!). During our 2013 +Wild Eye Great Migration photo safari I hosted with +Marlon du Toit, we saw some lions lying in the grass next to the Mara river, and decided to head closer for some portrait photography. As we pulled to a stop, to our amazement a lone wildebeest scrambled up the riverbank (having just done a solo crossing we couldn't see from our vantage point), and the poor thing literally almost tripped over the lions. The largest female of the small pride wasted no time in pouncing on the unfortunate ungulate, and a lengthy struggle ensued during which we were privy to the emotional dance of death between these species that occurs during the Great Migration. 

This particular wildebeest didn't seem to want to give up and kept struggling to escape his attackers, but to no avail. We were very close to the action, and shooting with a 500mm lens forced me to compose a little out-of-the-box, but I liked how it came out!

Nikon D3s  |  Nikkor 500mm f4 VR-II  |  f8.0  |  1/1250 SS  |  ISO-1400

I also converted it to monochrome, and I like it better in that medium. What do you think??

Nikon D3s  |  Nikkor 500mm f4 VR-II  |  f8.0  |  1/1250 SS  |  ISO-1400

Let me know which you prefer by dropping a comment below.
Thanks for stopping by! I hope you have a great week...

If you would like to join us in the Mara Triangle this year for an awesome photographic adventure, then check out THIS page.

If you would like to purchase this tone version as a limited edition fine art print for your office or home, mail me:

Morkel Erasmus

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Special Print Series - Atmospheric Elephants

Good afternoon everyone...

I've just released a new special print collection on my website. It's a specific portfolio of black & white photos showcasing elephants under the vast expanse of the African sky. This series can be printed on the finest Hahnemuhle Photo Rag paper or fine art quality canvas, and it will be an exquisite adornment for a home or a corporate office space. I am making each image available as individual prints. 

I will also be running special prices on multiple orders of 2 or 3 prints, 5 prints, 9 prints or the whole series of 13...multiple prints can be designed and sized according to the specific space you intend for them to be hung.

You can see the entire collection HERE.
If you want a moody piece of "Africa" to adorn your walls - let me know!

For detail pricing and enquiries, please contact me on:

Have a great week!

Morkel Erasmus

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Study of a Kalahari King

Sometimes, when you spend time photographing a specific animal, you become quite taken by them - as if you are able to capture a part of their being on camera, and therefore transport them back to whoever views your images.

Over the years, I have had the fortune of photographing some very good-looking male lions in the Kalahari. Every time I return there, I seem to come across another individual male who embodies the spirit of that harsh yet special semi-desert environment.

During our safari to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in December 2014, my wife and I spent a few days photographing the new pride male around the 13th Borehole area. We saw him mating with a female, posing in gorgeous light, snoozing at the break of day, and finally patrolling the dry Auob riverbed, all in the space of 3 days, using various focal lengths.

I will let the images do the talking - so check out this beaut of a lion in all his glory!

Nikon D810  |  Nikkor 400mm f2.8 VR  |  f5.6  |  1/1000 SS  |  ISO-1000

Nikon D3s  |  Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 @ 38mm  |  f5.6  |  1/400 SS  |  ISO-720

Nikon D810  |  Nikkor 400mm f2.8 VR  |  f5.6  |  1/1000 SS  |  ISO-800

Nikon D810  |  Nikkor 400mm f2.8 VR  |  f4.5  |  1/800 SS  |  ISO-220
Nikon D810  |  Nikkor 400mm f2.8 VR  |  f5.6  |  1/640 SS  |  ISO-640  
I do hope you enjoyed seeing the images of this magnificent specimen as much as I enjoyed taking them! Have a lovely week, my friends, and thanks so much for stopping by.

Morkel Erasmus

Friday, 27 February 2015


The sun has just set after another blissful day in this piece of remote wilderness.

In front of me is a life-giving waterhole in a harsh land, where a myriad of animals came to quench their thirst during the heat of the day...

One animal was still thirsty, though, and for some reason he had waited until everyone was gone and he could have the waterhole to himself.

I first notice him emerging from the treeline behind me...a phantom in the dusk light.
He takes note of the human presence in his path, and swerves slightly to make his way around my position towards the water. He is an experienced old warrior, the signs of many battles etched on his face and in his ears.

He sports a defense weapon that is in high demand by certain misinformed members of my species - and that makes him a constant target. Does he know this?? I doubt it. At least in this remote corner of Africa, he is safe at this particular moment as I am watching him approach, watching him emerge from the shadows...

As he scuffles towards the water, dust kicked up lingers, and all the way he seems to be "emerging" from the dust and the fading light, like a ghostly apparition. He moves very quietly for an animal of his bulk and stature...

The light is gone. I can barely make out his shape. I dial in a very slow shutter speed to limit my ISO to within the 4000-6400 band, which I know my camera can handle with aplomb.

Nikon D3s  |  Nikkor 500mm f4 VR-II  |  f4.0  |  1/60 SS  |  ISO-4500

I grab a few photos, being careful to pan lightly with him as he moves (given my slow shutter speed). Then I put the camera down and enjoy the moment. So many wildlife photographers these days forget to merely enjoy the moment, being so caught up in grabbing that "winning photo". 

We need to admire once again what drove us to take cameras on safari in the first place...
We need to maintain our respect for the natural world, instead of pushing too deeply into the natural rhythms and disturbing out subjects for "the shot"...
We need to view our subjects like we first viewed them, through the eyes of awestruck children...

We need to emerge as a driving force in raising awareness for the wildlife we love photographing, and to do that, we need to let go of our narcissism and egos...

Morkel Erasmus