Nearly four years ago, when I was in Africa for several weeks, I had the pleasure of doing some conservation work in Kenya. One of our stops was in East Tsavo, where I accompanied the rangers on de-snaring missions, for several days under the hot African sun. One of my most memorable moments in Kenya, happened during this trip. While at Salt Lick in Tsavo national park, I joined the vet team from the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, to photograph them while darting an elephant and fixing it’s wounded leg.
Here is a blog post I wrote about the experience in October of 2010. Later that evening the elephants all came down to the water hole. In the stillness of the night you could hear their every movement. Soon they began interacting and trumpeting loudly for minutes at a time. It was magical and I have dreamed to return to this place ever since.
Tomorrow I will depart on a private “Save the Elephants” safari. I will be heading out to Tsavo to visit it as a photographer for the first time. Have you ever seen the movie, “The Ghost and the Darkness?” If not, I highly recommend watching it. It is the Hollywood version of the famous man eating lions in Tsavo, during the building of the Uganda-Mombasa Railway in 1896. Tsavo is filled with history. Tsavo East and Tsavo West combined forms one of the largest nationals parks in the world and covers a massive 4% of Kenya’s land area. Of coarse I am going to be tracking lions in this area, as their behavior tends to be different in Tsaveo, compared to other reserves; don’t worry, at the moment, they are not known as man-eaters.
While in Tsavo, I will be staying at a private house retreat and tented camp, maintained by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. I will see their continued work from the elephant Orphanage based in Nairobi. Once the babies are old enough they are transported to Tsavo, where they eventually released back into the wild! I will also get to revisit Salt Lick, where I captured the image at the top of this post. Please visit the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust to learn more about the amazing work they have been doing to “Save the Elephants”, for over 3o years.
This is all part of my 80 days in Africa. Make sure to follow the journey though my social media pages. Just click on the social media buttons in the top right side bar.
PiperMackayPiper Mackay is a world, wildlife and cultural photographer, based in Long Beach, California. She believes compelling visual images help to protect what is right in the world. Her work takes her to very remote locations, living cross culturally in the villages and environments that she is documenting.
Her work is heavily concentrated on the African continent, a land she fell in love with when she first touched foot on it’s rich red soil. Her passion for the natural world has grown into a lifelong commitment to inspire others to explore, respect and preserve the beauty of our fragile planet.
She believes compelling work comes when you invest time, living the stories you are trying to tell. It is important to interact and gain the trust of those whose stories you are telling, especially when sensitive and complicated. The world has enough images of poverty, pain and disaster, much more needful is imagery that reveals the beauty and dignity of the communities that are, except by their geography and circumstances, very similar to our own. Powerful images help shape the view of the world and play an important role in disseminating how cultures and wildlife are coping with the rapid changes happening in the developing world.
Piper’s images have been displayed at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, The Museum of History and industry, and The Art Wolfe gallery, as well as local galleries. Her work has been featured in Nature and travel publication through representation of several photo agencies, including Rangefinder, Nature’s Best, Birders, and the World Wildlife Fund. She is an independent photographer and available for assignment work.
Her prior career in the fashion industry, where she was deeply involved with combing color and texture, has greatly enhanced her approach to the unique look and feel of each culture and photographic subject. This also gave her a strong background in business and marketing. Please visit Piper’s website at www.pipermackayphotography.com.