If you’ve ever talked to someone who’s traveled to Africa before, they’ve probably mentioned the indescribable feeling of being there. There’s just something in the air, something about the kindness of the people that live there, the animals, the sunrises and sunsets…it’s a special place, a really special place, and if you end up there, you immediately feel the urge to come back, and then you can’t stop. This summer, I’ll be making my fourth trip to Kenya, the second for a personal story I’ve been working on that I’ll share more about at a later time. My first two trips were focused entirely on a photo safari. I disconnected from work, left my laptop at home (highly recommend this), and the lack of wifi did wonders for my focus. Every morning we woke up before it was light, and after a cup of delicious Kenyan coffee, we were off to watch the rising sun and look for wildlife. My only job was to be present, to watch, to learn about this ecosystem and the lives of the animals. I wasn’t on an assignment for a client, so there was no pressure to produce; this was an opportunity to practice and learn to tell a story in a way I’m not used to.
I’d never really photographed wildlife prior to going to Kenya. Things there move both quickly and very slowly all at once. Sometimes, you have to sit for hours to wait for a leopard in a tree to make themselves visible. Other times, you’re rumbling along in the Land Rover and all of a sudden, it’s clear you’re about to witness a kill. In the first five minutes of my first trip there, I watched a pack of lionesses take down a zebra – it’s not for the faint of heart (and I am, admittedly, faint of heart) but you learn to find the beauty in the pain and to accept the cycle of life here in a way that is so difficult to do in other aspects of life.
This is a selection of favorites from my first two trips to the Maasai Mara National Reserve.