Amboseli, Kenya 2016
Working with radio operated cameras in Amboseli is an integral part of my job. Every year for several days a year, I wake up at 4.45 am on the outskirts of the National Park and head off with my guide and friend – Juma Wanyama – to the dry lake outside the park. On almost every occasion, we are the only two people there in the vast elemental dustbowl. It is a spiritual and tireless experience.
The dry lake is a kind canvas to work with because it is flat and clean – there are no tension points and no distractions. Furthermore, the topography allows for no surprises – the elephants can see you and vice versa from a long way off. This lends itself to getting out and about setting up cameras in the dust in the hope that the elephants will maintain their path and walk right up to the camera. I have never been charged in Amboseli – the bulls give you plenty of warnings.
With wide angle photography at minimal focal distances, there is luck involved in the formation of elephants when the lead elephant hits my preselected four foot focus point. In particular, I have no control over the stature of the tusks on that first elephant and, of course, I want them to be fully grown and magnificent, not broken, short or missing. I have taken many remote shots where the image has been impaired by the disappointing ivory detail and whilst this is the reality of elephant life, I am looking for the imagery to transcend at every level and missing ivory never helps.
This picture therefore is extremely lucky – the lead bull is magnificent and the formation behind lends perspective and narrative as one. This is a garrison of giants walking with purpose and pride through the desert – a wonderful sight and the textural detail validates the lens choice. Meanwhile the fluffy clouds ensure that there is a full tonal range in the print. I am not sure how close to perfect it is, but I know it is a gem of an image.
David Yarrow has built an unrivalled reputation for capturing the beauty of the planet’s remote landscapes, cultures and endangered animals. Born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1966, he is now one of the world’s leading fine art photographers. At the Sotheby’s photography auction in London, May 2017, David’s iconic picture –Mankind –was sold for £60,000 –the highest price of the 100 lots on auction. He is represented by some of the world’s leading galleries and in America David has shown at the renowned Perot Museum in Dallas and his work is permanently on show at the new Museum of Natural History in Missouri. David’s images are among some of the most sought-after pieces of work within the industry. David has a global book deal with Rizzoli publishing house inNew York and produced a flagship book named ‘Wild Encounters’ featuring work from seven continents, capturing some of the earth’s most endangered species. He is honored that HRH the Duke of Cambridge wrote the foreword to the book which was released in October 2016 and all author royalties from the book will go to Tusk Trust. Amazon awarded it “The Best Art and Photography book of 2016”. Alongside Rizzoli, David launched the book in a series of events across the world in the last quarter of 2016, including exhibitions at Fotografiska in Stockholm, Leonhard’s Gallery in Antwerp, Holden Luntz in Palm Beach and at London’s Somerset House. In April 2017 at the annual Tusk Gala in NYC, David’s images raised $175,000 at auction, including two lots which sold for $50,000 each, very much cementing his status as one of the most coveted artists in his field.Read More