Photojournalist and filmmaker focused on East Africa’s iconic wildlands and wildlife. Based in Nairobi, Kenya.
They move in a rhythmic, undulating and almost eerie fashion as they follow an instinct in search of something to eat. as we sit and watch them throw themselves off cliffs and into the crocodile ridden waters of the mara river, i think about how silly it is that they put themselves in such danger to find something which they are already standing on top of. the phrase: the grass is always greener on the other side, could not be more embodied by a natural spectacle. i do not understand how the risk is worth it, but wildebeest are a wildly successful species and each year during this migration hundreds of thousands die and even though so many die, they easily replace themselves each year. any species which can throw that much life away and still manage to replace itself will definitely add an immense amount to the food chain. lion, cheetah, leopard, vultures, all of these depend deeply on the wildebeest migration, without it, the ecosystem would not be the same. — each autumn, millions of wildebeest and several hundred thousand zebra migrate into kenya’s masai mara. following instinct, they are in search of fresh grass and pulled by recent rains. this spectacle attracts tourists from all over the world. this year, because of covid-19, international tourism has been very low. the mara isn’t empty because resident markets have filled many of the lodges on the weekends, however in comparison to normal years, it is very quiet.
I’ve never thought much of buffalo, or of their size, their personality, etc. they were always just something to be scared of while walking in the bush. doing this film with @murraygrantbronzes and his sculpture of thunder has changed that for me. being able to see thunder, who is quite possibly the largest living buffalo in the world, was an experience i will never forget. to put things into perspective, thunder’s horns measure almost the same width as the front of our landcruiser. he is no doubt a special buffalo.
Every once in awhile we find something which reminds us of our minuscule place in the grand history that mother earth has been spinning since the beginning of time. our 60-90 years here on earth are just a blip on the radar of forever. however, in the last 100 years in our history, we’ve seen the greatest footprint on earth ever. largely unchecked development, population growth and individual greed, i suppose, has lead to our generation being less connected both to our history here on the planet and to the intricate story mother nature is unwinding all around us. there is an increasing understanding that we have entered into the anthropocene era, which is defined as the period during which human activity is the dominant influence on climate and the environment. think about that for a second. we, as humans, are the dominant force which is shaping the world as we know it. we’ve decided we can do a better job than what mother nature has been doing for hundreds of thousands of years. prideful at best considering our 60-90 years are just a small blip on the forever radar. — here, cave drawings in the lolldaiha hills in central kenya, made of ochre and sheep fat, date back to as early as 2700 b.c. they depict hunters using bow and arrow to k**l antelope as well as a variety of different 4 legged animals.
I’ve had a lot of new followers the last month, so i wanted to introduce myself. this is a film i made 2 years ago about my journey as a photographer and filmmaker around the world. it is more about curiosity and about how important it is for all of us to chase the things which are interesting to us. it’s about perspective and about how we should always continue to try to see things from a different point of view. chasing photography has been a difficult and costly road for me, but it’s also given me so much. take a watch and let me know what you thought about it. again, very glad you’re following along on this adventure.
Here, a group of reticulated giraffe pose in front of a remote camera at a salt lick in laikipia, kenya. the reticulated giraffe is an endangered subspecies of giraffe. if you look closely, you can see how different their spot pattern is to the typical giraffe you are accustomed to seeing. they only exist in northern kenya, southern ethiopia and parts of somalia.
I suppose that i missed the celebration of wildlife rangers yesterday, however i wanted to share a photo of one of my personal heroes. popote sapulai is the the lead ranger at kimana sanctuary in the amboseli ecosystem in southern kenya. he has taken me on countless patrols to photograph his and the team’s work and in all my stumbling through fields and swamps, he always turns around to make sure i can keep up. — rangers are often the critical link between wildlife and the communities which live alongside that wildlife acting as peacekeepers and a lifeline to those communities.
Fatu, one of the last two northern white rhinos known on the planet, lives in captivity at ol pejeta conservancy in northern kenya. both remaining northern white rhino are female and therefore would mark the end of the species. however, innovative techniques being pioneered at @olpejeta leave room for the chance of an ivf, as s***m was harvested from the last remaining male before he died. the idea is to use eggs harvested from one of the females and use a surrogate southern white rhino to carry the embryo. — extinction is something we must begin to come to grips with. at our current pace, the way humanity is consuming resources, it will be difficult for species like rhino, which require tremendous space, to continue to survive. as i sit writing this, massive fires are burning across the masaai mara and tsavo ecosystems. some fire is good for landscapes, however all the little biodiversity which is lost from these fires will take years to repopulate, if they ever do. we must carefully monitor our collective action as humans and do our best to mitigate habitat loss and give these beautiful creatures a better chance. — many of you have just followed me and i’m glad you’re here! much of my work is focused on lending a visual platform to nature’s often subtle voice especially as that concerns wildlife and wild spaces across eastern africa. my work is all un-manipulated imagery which means no photoshopping, etc. what you see in the image is what i saw in real life. my goal is to capture the truth of what i see and am witness to and convey that to viewers like you! so, stay tuned for more interesting images of all sorts of wildlife and photos of the people who work hard to protect those wildlife.
This is easiest photo to take in the masai mara. the rolling hills, iconic balanites trees, and typically dramatic sunsets make it easy to frame up a beautiful sunset. that’s the thing about the mara. most of the photography is quite easy. it’s such a beautiful place to make photos because it is filled with interesting drama. everyday, it is telling a unique story of life and struggle, birth and death, fear and bravery. i was thinking about it a few days ago: zebra spend almost their entire lives scared of what is coming over the hill. i wonder what it would be like to live in constant fear of death. i have never known that reality. throughout my career as a photojournalist, i have worked in communities and in countries where that is the daily reality, where tomorrow is nowhere close to guaranteed and where violence is a way of life. it’s a stark reality. after a decade of running around in very difficult places and trying to tell impossible stories, i started working in places like the mara and across kenya’s wild spaces. for me, these spaces have provided immense healing from the trauma i’ve been witness to. they have helped remind me that no matter what heavy things lay in the corners of our individual and collective histories, we have the chance to live a full new day and start a new story with each sunrise and put those traumas and fears to rest with the sunset. — masai mara, october 2014.
Community-led conservation is a bit of a buzzword, but it is actually a critically important concept. conservation, as a whole, is a privileged idea. it means that we have enough (or, we have the luxury to decide that we have enough) in order to afford to leave something for later or to leave a habitat intact. i often find it difficult to believe in conservation because i find myself in such a privileged position. it is very easy for me to say: conservation is important. it it is much more costly for somebody who is just simply trying to feed their family to believe the same. there are two very different stories at play here and subscribing to any semblance of the dualistic narrative of ‘poaching, deforesting, etc are done by bad people and conservation is done by good people’ is incredibly dangerous because it refuses to recognize the system which leads to this behavior on both sides. for me, one of the most inspiring things is to see how indigenous communities such as the samburu and the masai have lived amongst wildlife for generations and how they deeply understand its value both from a tourism perspective and from an inherent perspective. they remind me that conservation is something which has been in practice for generations and well before the problems of our current era. i am continuously inspired by the stories these communities are telling. seeing indigenous leaders and community conservancies rise to the forefront of conservation is such a beautiful thing. we all need to do a better job of listening to what these leaders and communities have to teach us and if we don’t, i fear we all may fail together. as a population, we need to listen much more than we speak and do our best to find as much empathy towards our fellow human as is possible. these are very difficult times and we need eachother, all of us. we need the lessons that each of us have learned and we need to put aside our preconceived ideas and prejudice and move forward towards a beautiful new world. — this image was shot two weeks ago in the sarara valley. @nrt_kenya@kwcakenya@nature_africa
The annual wildebeest migration has reached the masai mara. each year, over a million wildebeest migrate across the grasslands of the serengeti and into kenya’s mara ecosystem. this year, because of covid-19, the migration, which is normally filled with thousands of international tourists will be relatively empty. tourism has taken a major hit, however it is encouraging to see a surge in local kenyan tourism. many lodges in the mara are full this weekend as visitors from nairobi and upcountry have come to see the migration. — shot this morning as a large herd crossed the sand river.
The samburu culture has always fascinated me. the tradition of ornate beadwork and dress has changed over the years, but it still remains a staple of the culture. new and modern trinkets such as mirrors, plastic feathers and at times even colorful rugby socks have been added to the decor by the younger generation. — here, nelson philemon leramo poses for a photo in my makeshift studio in the kalepo valley in the far north of the matthews mountain range in northern kenya.
“tembo3, tembo3, come in.” the radio crackles as the calls come in. respond to this report, respond to that report. poaching, snares, human-wildlife-conflict, domestic dispute, the list goes on. it seems like the radio doesn’t ever go quiet. a super cub circles in the distance, relaying coordinates of the super tuskers via the crackles of the vhf. the wildlife rangers of @tsavotrust’s tembo3 team put their lives on the line everyday to monitor and protect tsavo’s wild spaces and wildlife. tembo is the swahili word for elephant and the team is often responsible for protecting tsavo’s iconic super tusker elephants. a super tuskers is an elephant that has tusks which weigh over 100 pounds per tusk and often touch the ground. pictured here is ndolo, who leads the tembo3 ranger team.