I used to relish writing these kinds of bio pieces and would flaunt the odd impressive word and use dashing grammar to make it sound like I am a boundary-shifting photographer. These days I prefer stating it in much simpler ways, much more relatable ways, much more believable ways.
The fact of the matter is this: I love Africa. I love its people, its wild places and its wildlife. I love being immersed in these places, observing and photographing the fall of light on the land and the daily lives of the creatures that call it home, and presenting the results to whoever will take a look.
To me, nature photography is all about being in the moment, and capturing that moment in a way that can relate to someone who didnít have the privilege of being there with me. Sometimes I am able to capture a unique vision of the scene before me, and sometimes I just capture it the way most folks would according to classical photographic guidelines. Yet I always enjoy sharing the images and experiences and imparting the knowledge I have, both in-the-field and later online or in presentations, workshops and courses. I also just simply enjoy capturing and sharing the beauty of God’s creation!
The greatest thing Iíve found about wildlife and nature photography in Southern Africa is the unity and familiarity of the community of people that share this passion. We come from all walks of life and all cultures and backgrounds, yet our passion for our natural heritage and our dream to see it preserved for future generations binds strangers together and fuels conversations around campfires long after other people have run out of conversation and energy.
Join me on a WildEye adventure to experience this sharing community spirit and learn to anticipate that fleeting moment and be ready for it, learn to immerse yourself in the experience without losing focus of your photographic goals and above all, learn to see Africa anew because there are none as blind as those who look but do not see!
Artist’s Website and Links:
All photographs and text are copyright © Morkel Erasmus, All Rights Reserved. Click on any photograph to see a larger version.
We were patrolling Botswana’s Chobe river in a specialised photographic boat when we came across a hippo cow far away from any of the main pods. They give birth in seclusion and raise the calf for a while alone before reintroducing it to the pod, especially if it’s a male as hippo bulls can be very temperamental and have been seen gorging and killing young bulls brought into the pod too soon after birth.
The protective pose she was striking over her young is what it’s all about in this photo, plus the low angle from the boat helps a lot too.
Nikon D3s, Nikkor 500mm f4 VR
f5.6, 1/1000 SS, ISO-800
There’s not much to say to properly describe this moment. I was alone in an underground bunker next to a remote research waterhole. The dawn was breaking, and a male lion was standing about 12 meters from me (as per EXIF focusing distance).
I blended 2 exposures to get that lovely dawn hue to reflect what I saw with my eyes.
Nikon D800, Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8 VR-II
f4.0, 1/200 SS, ISO-400
This photo was taken from the same hide as the sun was setting. A surreal scene, and I waited for the right moment with the giraffes in the perfect positions before tripping the shutter.
Nikon D800, Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8
f5.6, 1/250 SS, ISO-800
The Kgalagadi (Kalahari) is an awesome park to observe and photograph big cats in. These young cheetahs were being playful around the waterhole early one morning.
Timing and pose are critical for these kinds of photos to work well.
Nikon D3s, Nikkor 500mm f4 VR, 1.4x teleconverter
These birds are my favourite raptors of the African bush. Their hauntingly beautiful calls and their exceptional fishing tactics are amazing. This was captured on the Chobe river in Botswana.
Nikon D3s, Nikkor 500mm f4 VR-II
f7.1, 1/2500 SS, ISO-640
One of my favourite leopard photos (not that I have many leopard photos in my portfolio, haha). This youngster just wouldn’t come out from the bush he was hiding in. So I made him “stand out” through careful processing in monochrome. I feel it conveys their secretive and elusive nature so well.
Nikon D3s, Nikkor 500mm f4 VR-II
f4.0, 1/800 SS, ISO-450
The PTR Team considers Morkel Erasmus to be one of the most innovative and exciting new wildlife photographers in the world. His love of Africa shines throughout his work. His dedication and efforts to preserve the wilds of Africa for future generations to see and enjoy mark his special works. You are encouraged to visit his website and perhaps participate in one of his fabulous photography tours.