The Lost Parade

A herd of elephant disappear amongst the tall trees and vast skies in the Tsavo National Park, Kenya.

This is from way back to our first trip to Kenya – and our first real safari – back in 2004. It’s a single shot crop-panorama (the skies are just too big in Kenya and need to be reined in in post) from a drive in Tsavo East, famous for its red dust. I like the rainbow of colour, the jagged heights of each of the elements included, and the fact that you don’t notice there’s a herd of elephants right there in the middle. African elephants – largest land animal on earth, you know. Totally dwarfed by, well, nearly every tree around. Go trees!

For me this is a personally memorable shot too, as it was shot back in our film days with cheap EOS 3000s and kit lenses, not really knowing what we were doing, coming back from our trips with 20 films between us, taking them to the processor, waiting, coming back to find the £150 bill (!) and then spending the weekend sat on the floor sifting through the 700 7″x5″ prints we’d lugged back home. Few stood out – some things never change – but occasionally you’d come across something and this was one of them. It’s grainy, there is a thin pull mark that tracks across the whole bottom of the frame, corners are soft and the scan could be better – BUT! A few years later +Marie Knock and her sister conspired for my birthday and produced a series of box canvas prints, two of which put together formed this panorama, and I love it to this day. The quality is great for that purpose and it is a perpetual sunny day that hangs around the house. Often we see the technical defects in an image more strongly than we see the emotion and beauty, so next time your finger is wavering over the reject button, wonder if you’d treasure what Getty would reject. It’s only bits and silver halide after all.

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