Wednesday 9 April 2014

Mother of One

Much has been said about the plight of Southern Africa's black and white rhino population since 2010. I won't rehash it all here. Some days I'm hopeful that a solution will be found, and other days I really fear that it's all going to fade away (rhinos, elephants, lions, all of Africa's natural heritage we hold so dear). There just seems no stopping the greed of man...

I am grateful to have had some opportunities to photograph the critically endangered Black Rhino in recent years. These images might be the only way my children's children get to see these magnificent creatures.

This particular image was taken after sunset at a remote waterhole somewhere between the Atlantic and Indian oceans. Just as the sun dipped below the horizon, a cautious mother and her teeny calf emerged like ghosts from the surrounding bush, making their way gregariously towards the life-giving water. She stopped every now and again to survey the area, take in any new scents, and perk her ears towards unfamiliar sounds. She was keenly aware of her surroundings and of the potential danger that could lurk in the shadows...lions in this area have been known to have a go at rhino calves. The sad part is that we as humans hold the biggest threat to her and her young one's survival...

Eventually, they got to the water, and by that time it was too dark for decent photography - so I put the camera down and just enjoyed watching them drink peacefully as the stars started blinking around us...a special and rare moment in Africa!

Nikon D3s
Nikkor 500mm f4 VR-II
f4.0  |  1/160 SS  |  ISO-2500
Exposure Bias +0.3 

The light was very low, so I opted for a slower shutter speed given the pace that they were moving at. I also utilised my Nikkor lens' Vibration Reduction function for better sharpness.

click on the photo to display at optimal sharpness and resolution

Morkel Erasmus


  1. Beautiful image and your thoughts too. Thanks to Piper Mackay for her virtual introduction to you. Thank you for all that you are doing.

  2. great photograph sir...n ur blog too is very good..i really like it...n want to thnk u for what u r doing for the nature n its creatures..i m also a nature n wild life lover..thnx sir...