Shazmeen Bank - Wildlife Photography - Guest Post - Gerry van der Walt

The Essence of the Wild

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A few weeks ago Shazmeen joined Jono and I on our last 2017 Migration safari.  In this blog post she shares some or image and experiences. Gerry.

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I came to realize this trip was beyond capturing a bunch of perfect images. It was about capturing the essence of the environment these animals gracefully allow me to be a part of.

Shazmeen Bank - Wildlife Photography - Guest Post

I couldn’t help but think as I looked out into the endless plains of the Masai Mara that what I was doing was on someone’s bucket list and I couldn’t help but feel so grateful that I was about to embark on a journey with a team that now feel like family.

There is something priceless about watching the wild in their environment. Something humbling about how these creatures really do not need us humans and their cycle continues with or without us

Sitting out in the Mara can really give you a perspective on life. And I came to see all the lessons of life are lived by the wild.  When I watched the hyena take down its pray in the early morning light I saw God provides for everyone.

Shazmeen Bank - Wildlife Photography - Guest Post

When I watched the elusive, shy and introvert leopard pace itself to feed upon the left overs of the Hyena I learnt not to judge power. I learnt that what may seem like a scavenger can be the brave and what seemed like the brave to me balanced out to be the scavenger.

Shazmeen Bank - Wildlife Photography - Guest Post

When I heard the calls of the lioness for her cub, desperate, long drawn out roars hoping her precious one would peak out from a bush I was moved to tears to see her hang her head and bravely walk away knowing her cub was long gone. Even though I stared out long after she walked away, I was hoping that beckon of pride would waltz out but I came to see that power lay in the hands of the land.

Shazmeen Bank - Wildlife Photography - Guest Post

When I watched two gladiator buffalos wrestle each other, digging their horns into the thick skin, heads bent down in deep aggression, blood pouring out of the sides of their faces all in need to conquer the other I learnt the power of letting Ego go.

Shazmeen Bank - Wildlife Photography - Guest Post

When we came upon a river filled with elephants bathing dissolved by the water I learnt these gentle giants had a lot to teach. Was it the love of a mother to get her young out of the water onto safe ground. Or the love of the herd to stop their baths and give a helping hand. I learned the essence of humble team work. I learned even what looks inferior with a little love can bend.

Shazmeen Bank - Wildlife Photography - Guest Post

When I sat on the earth and looked up at the skies to appreciate the change of canvas from day to night, I learnt everything has its time and what might look dark has a mix of hidden sunset colors before it allows the stars to shine from under.

Shazmeen Bank - Wildlife Photography - Guest Post

Or was it when a giraffe popped in from behind the van to say hello that I learned surprise and shock can bring about a bigger smile then I thought.

Shazmeen Bank - Wildlife Photography - Guest Post

Or was it when I packed up all my tips of the last seven days, and I held my camera knowing that this trip was not about getting 100 hero shots, it was about a journey I was about to embark on with the wild, it was about looking through my lens with a new eye and changing how I see the world.

I know for certain I miss my tent in the wild. I know I miss the star lit showers with a cool breeze blowing. I know I miss hearing lions roar and wondering how far they were from my tent every night as I fell asleep. And funny enough I also miss the hippos that never allow for my dreams to flow without waking me up in shock to their noisy grunts.

But as I came on the photographic safari to learn how to capture images better, I also learnt to capture the power of the wild both in the Masai Mara and within my soul. Every photo has a story and every story has a memory and in every memory, lays a lesson.

Until my next adventure.

Shazmeen Bank - Wildlife Photography - Guest Post - Gerry van der Walt

I’ll be keeping my eyes wild.

Shazmeen Bank

See more of Shazmeen’s images on her Instagram feed by clicking here.

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Comments 1

  1. Glynnis Salvado

    So well written Gerry – thank you for sharing. Your photos are really awesome, especially the one of the giraffe. I look forward to my next trip learning as much as I can from Wild Eye.
    Kind regards

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