Like many things in life… many things worth achieving at least, a good wildlife photography portfolio is one built on a foundation of passion, hard work, patience and perseverance. There are endless peaks and valleys and one must celebrate successes but always remember to learn from failures. It’s important to remember that a “failure” can be seen in two ways, as a reason to give up or an opportunity to learn. There will always be missed shots, but because nature is this incredible ever-changing palette, there will always be other moments as well. The fundamental key is to never let hurdles stifle your inner creative light.
Tiger Rock - forward
Giant at Dawn
She Owns the Night
The Great One
Worth More Alive
The Last Giant
Freedom Defines Me
The Greatest Spectacle
Cheetah - Madikwe - Dusk
Elephant Bull - Madikwe
Cheetah on Horizon - Maasai Mara
A Bison Landscape
These beautiful giants that call our planet home, these colossal beings that silently traverse the great continent of Africa, are mesmerizing in stature and humbling in demeanor. To be in the company of an elephant to be in the company of a sentient being that transcends our imagination, a creature that possesses unfathomable power, but is also able to harness it in the most delicate way. Elephants command your respect, but not only in the way you would expect them to, see it’s not only the immense power that they possess and wield at will that leaves you awestruck but it’s also their infinite intelligence that that astounds you when you share intimate moments with them. They think, they rationalize, they feel, they understand, they hurt, they love… they are more “human” that we could ever imagine and more sentient than we could ever dream to be.
I am undeniable power I am unexpected ferocity I am Anger I am anguish I am the storm which disrupts the calm I am bold I am fearless I am that which creates awe I am magnificence that inspires I am Yin I am Yang I am beauty I am grace I am spellbinding I am love I am humor I am that which is exquisite in nature I am perfect For I am.
Worth More than Gold
Giraffe - Hight Key Mara
Lioness - Mara- Monochrome
Hope Through the Dust
The Great Migration has over many generations become synonymous and almost defined by, explosive, dust engulfed, crocodile plagued, often violent crossings. However, even though these spectacular scenes of mayhem and bravery which are driven by an age old instinct, form the pinnacle of the Great Migration, they do at best only tell part of this great story. See, there is another chapter to the migration, a more subdued moment, almost twilight in nature, a moment removed from the chaos of the legendary crossings, one could say a moment which is the “ying” to the crossings “yang”. Mother Nature as always, maintains her infinite balance. I loved seeing these massive herds, in these fleeting moments of serenity, they had made it, they had endured a seemingly endless journey and overcome perilous and at times insurmountable odds to make it to this point. It was an incredible sight ,in this brief moment of peace, to be in the company of a species that had endured nature’s most visceral elements in the quest for survival, driven by the most fundamental of instinct’s… life.
Amongst the Rosettes
The leopard, what more can be said to define the divine beauty of this flawless being. Lethal in beauty, lethal in execution. If there has ever been a celestial being that walked the great continent of Africa, it would have to be the rosette adorned enigma. There is so much mystic that that surrounds this beautiful feline, but it’s not a mystic that shrouds but rather veils an incomparable beauty. Very seldom can a creature remain unseen and yet be the most beautiful thing you see. One gladly spends hours searching for a minute of their company knowing that even this brief acquaintance is worth a lifetime of searching. However, beauty of such perfection often creates an unquenchable thirst, a feeling that leaves you spellbound and often leads to a lifelong quest to spend time in its company. Knowing that even a lifetime spent in the company of this beautiful being is a lifetime too short.
Good Side of a King
The Great Crossing
Scars are Beautiful
I wear these scars Not as a symbol of pain But as a testament to freedom They define not a struggle But rather a life lived These are the marks That embody a legacy I wear them As a king would A gem crusted crown For I am The Sire A Ruler The Warrior Fearless in my walk Free in my existence I wear these scars Not as marks of war But as a definition of who I am
The King of the Night
I am the King of the night Bold Fearless Relentless The symbol of courage The definition of bravery The personification of beauty I am the guardian and the protector The defender and the aggressor I am not the calm For I am the storm I approach in silent turbulence For me, there is no darkness For I am the light I burn brightly At times violently Bold Fearless Relentless I am the king of the night - Faizel
Elephant Monochrome Portrait
I have walked amongst giants And their beauty was beyond belief, I have witnessed the power of these great beings But it was their gentleness that humbled me, I have experienced joy in their presence But also witnessed sadness in their eyes, I have sensed that they know what we have done And I feel shame in knowing why, I have dared to imagine a world without them But couldn’t bear it for more than the blink of an eye, I have dreamed of the day and hoped for the time When elephants have peace and not another has to die.
In the Blink of an Eye
His world happens, In the blink of an eye, In his realm he stands alone, He exists between the heartbeats, Between gusts of wind and breathless moments, His world is made up of milliseconds, Lethal as he may be, Yet the most delicate of beings… certainly, He is speed, He is awe, He is a miracle of nature’s flawless design Perfection incarnate, Yet running out of time, Perhaps, behind the eternal tracks of his tears Lies the personification of beauty, Maybe a truth, A sorrow, Or perhaps even a hope for a better tomorrow, To him I will say, With a heavy heart and a guilty breath, Run free dear friend, for I pray, Nothing is promised Except the milliseconds of today. =====•=====•===== I photographed this beautiful boy as he patrolled a perimeter fence along with his brother in one of South Africa’s largest reserves. As the sun went down he stood up on to a fallen tree trunk and gazed out in the distance. There was such purpose, such intent behind his gaze, a story was unfolding before my very eyes, and I felt extremely humbled to be a part of it and that I was allowed a glimpse into the life of an incredible creature. As a wildlife photographer you try and tell a story, one of nature’s many intricate stories in a single frame, there is no narration, no plot, nor point of reference, just that single frame for you to tell a story and transport your audience to a moment, a moment that captivated you, a moment in our planet’s beautiful story of life… I hope I succeeded with this image.
Leopard in Tree (monochrome)
Tribute to a King
Today we celebrate World Wildlife Day, and this year we honor nature’s most famous felines… Big Cats. While we celebrate these incredible, awe inspiring creatures that share our planet with us, we must also bring awareness to the threats they face and the perilous situation they find themselves in at the hands of man. Big Cats the world over are fighting for survival and we need to do our part to remedy the ill fate bestowed upon them by our species. As loud as their roar is, they need us to be their voice. As powerful as they may be, they need us to be their strength. And as elusive and attuned to night as they are, they need us to be the light that illuminates their future… with hope. To humans, they have eternally been the symbol of courage and bravery, now we must act on those traits that we so gallantly adorn on all of our insignias, and stand up for the tawny, the striped and the spotted cats, that make our planet just that much more beautiful by simply being a part of it. For surly the saddest day will come, when a child asks… “What was a lion?” =====•=====•===== The heartbreaking truth is that through various human activities Big Cat numbers have been on a dramatic decline. For instance, tiger populations have plummeted by 95% over the past 100 years and African lion populations dropped by 40% in just 20 years. If anything, please spend this day, talking to people about ways that you can help these beautiful creatures. =====•=====•=====
The Future of a Species
A poem that always makes me think about these sentient beings, these beautiful creatures and their awe inspiring majesty, the perilous journey they face and their future. Enjoy. =====•=====•===== INVICTUS Out of the night that covers me, Black as the pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud. Under the bludgeonings of chance My head is bloody, but unbowed. Beyond this place of wrath and tears Looms but the Horror of the shade, And yet the menace of the years Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.
Every person that has a connection to the natural world, can trace it back to a specific moment in time, a moment that opened their eyes to a world as enchanting as imagination itself. A moment that ignited a love and respect for our beautiful planet and the incredible creatures that roam its wild spaces, a moment that removed the veil. For me, that moment was, when as a little boy, I was introduced to the story of Elsa the lioness. I had never seen a creature more beautiful in my entire life, for me it was love at first sight. The only thing that could rival her flawless beauty was the story of her life, it was a story of tragedy, love, resilience, hope, and freedom. It was a story of a woman and a lioness, it was a story about never giving up hope, it taught us that nothing else mattered if freedom didn’t matter, and that one should never waiver in the quest of that freedom. I learned so much from the relationship between Joy Adamson and Elsa. They taught me that all creatures great and small deserve the right to live wild and free, and that the only way to save wildlife, is to save the wild spaces they depend on and not confine them to a life behind bars in Zoos. Elsa showed me that hope springs eternal, and that no matter what obstacles you face, you should never waiver. Many years have passed, but I still think about Elsa constantly, and the way this lioness that I had never met, shaped my life. If I ever could, I would thank her, I would thank Joy. Whenever I see a lioness in the wild, I see Elsa, her spirit lives in every lion that roams free today. This past week marked the 57th anniversary of Elsa’s death… a death that should be celebrated because Elsa lived free and died free. This is why I chose to post this image today, an image of a lioness, because many years ago, it was a lioness that captured my heart, it was a lioness that I fell in love with.
The Grumpy Neighbor
Cape Vultures (Black and White)
Vultures have always held a special place in my heart. It may be because these beautiful birds have been misunderstood and unfairly stigmatized through the years, both in media and pop culture. However, for those who have had the pleasure of sharing a moment with these incredible birds, there is simply no doubt of how majestic they are. Vultures are not just incredibly beautiful birds, they play one of the most important roles in the natural world, ironically it is for this very vital role that they have been vilified for, they are after all… scavengers. Maybe it is the term “scavenge” itself that is misunderstood, because nature’s scavengers are vital to the health of an ecosystem, and are tasked with the all-important role of keeping nature’s palette pristine. Not to mention, they are invaluable when it comes to preventing the spread of disease by eliminating carrion. It is only when we remove the veil of anthropomorphism that we see the beauty in all creatures.
We label Nature an artist, thus the Kudu would surely stand as it’s David. If we believe that there is a degree of perfection in everything that Nature creates, then the magnificent Kudu is surely the pinnacle of this perfection. The Grey Ghost of Africa exudes a mythical presence, a true Adonis amongst antelope. The Kudu’s power, speed, grace and agility have given it a legendary status amongst those who are familiar with the vast wilds of Africa. For me though, it’s the flawless beauty of this incredible being that transcends it beyond most other creatures and many times even beyond the legendry Big Five themselves. A masterpiece of beauty through symmetry, a creature so magnificent, that once seen, it becomes the standard by which beauty is defined… The Kudu.
The Giraffe, beautiful beyond compare…
They maybe one of the planet’s most iconic species, but even this spotlight has not spared them from the same challenges faced by many other creatures across the planet. Three decades ago, in the 1980s, the total number of all giraffe in Africa was estimated at approximately 155,000 individuals, this is in stark contrast to current estimate of about 100,000 individuals. This is a drop of almost 40%. In some areas traditionally regarded as prime giraffe habitat, numbers have dropped by more than 95%. . At times, iconic creatures like Giraffes become victims of their own fame and popularity. Because they are commonly seen in documentaries and because of their tall stature easily found while on safari, it gives the false perception that they are thriving or that their population is stable, when the reality is quite the contrary. We have to put efforts forward and raise awareness about the plight of this incredible species. =====•=====•===== Fun Fact: Both giraffes and humans have seven neck vertebrae. The difference, however, is that each giraffe neck bone can be over 10 inches long. =====•=====•=====
The Last Ones
Zebra Side Profile in Black and White
Elephant Calf in Black and White
A vanishing Icon
To murder a creature as majestic as a rhino is surely one of the most heinous, gutless acts that a human can do. It’s an act that can only be carried out by those amongst us who are of a detestable vile nature. However, for every one of these abhorrent humans willing to mercilessly slaughter these incredible creatures, in the name of money, for every one of them, there’s a hundred of us. The “US”, who are determined to stand up and fight for one of Earth’s most beautiful beings and their right to life. These poachers and smugglers want us to believe that the situation is hopeless, and that they are more powerful than us because they are willing to take any life, human included, in the name of money, but what they don’t realize is that it only takes a ray of light to illuminate all the darkness that they try to cast. See, what they fail to grasp is that those of us fighting to save these incredible beings are driven by something greater than money. We are driven by love and compassion, and those are forces that cannot be bought or stifled. So as long as poachers lurk in the shadows, we will be there illuminating the darkness, and as long as rhinos need us, we will be their voice.
Sub-Adult Elephant in Black and White
“As a general rule of biology, migratory species are less aggressive than sedentary ones. There is one obvious reason why this should be so. The migration itself, like the pilgrimage, is the hard journey: a leveller on which the fit survive and stragglers fall by the wayside. The journey thus pre-empts the need for hierarchies and shows of dominance. The dictators of the animal kingdom are those who live in an ambience of plenty. The anarchists, as always, are the gentlemen of the road.”