Discuss as:

Nature's Best Photography: African elephant on alert in Kenya

Here is another picture in our presentation of Nature’s Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Awards. See related links at the bottom of this post.

Ingrid Vekemans / Nature's Best Photography

The largest living land mammal, the elephant is one of Africa’s most important keystone species. Years ago, poaching and the ivory trade were the biggest threats to their survival. Fortunately, ivory bans, hunting regulations, and protected areas help safeguard elephants. Today, there is a different challenge -- habitat loss and land use. Elephants roam vast territories across borders and outside of protected areas. While the overall population has shrunk to half of what it was 40 years ago, some regions of Africa have more elephants than populated areas can support.

Photographer Ingrid Vekemans said:
“While observing elephants in Tsavo (eastern Kenya),  I was focused on an older female—the matriarch of the group. Her raised head and spread ears show that she was alert and watchful. The photographic challenge here was to capture the moment of eye contact in a sharp close-up before she moved on. Because her skin was so dark, I turned the ISO up to increase the shutter speed. This portrait symbolizes the elephant’s strength and the solidarity of the clan.”

Photographic information:
Camera: Nikon D300; AF-S VR 300mm ƒ/2.8 lens; 1/640 sec at ƒ/5.6; ISO 400; beanbag

Related links: