There’s something about Amboseli

Andrew Beck Andrew 3 Comments

I’ve always had somewhat of a love affair with Amboseli. Apart from providing incredible opportunities to photograph elephants, there is something special about the light and background of this place.

This was something we chatted about extensively on our recent Essential Amboseli & Tsavo Photographic Safari and so I thought I’d share what makes Amboseli so special for me.

Apart from elephants, the first thing that comes to mind when you mention Amboseli is obviously Mount Kilimanjaro. Whilst images like this are clearly made by having the impressive mountain in the background, I want to take this one step further.


Whilst having a clear view of the mountain, something we had on 3 consecutive mornings I might add, is great, when the clouds start to build around the base of the mountain, obscuring everything but the foot-slopes and casting a deep shadow around the base of the mountain. Even though you cant see the mountain, using this as a background makes for some incredible photographic opportunities.


The fact that the mountain is set so far back in the scene means that shooting with a wide open aperture gives a lovely shallow depth of field with very little detail being retained I the background. The distance also means that subjects are often cast in golden light and set against this dark shadow, making them pop instantly from the scene as seen above.

We often found ourselves commenting on the light in a particular area and literally waiting for something to anchor the frame, like these two zebra.


As the day progresses and more and more cloud builds around the mountain, dust devils begin to rise out of the fine volcanic sands as if being called into the heavens.


The build up of clouds and their rapid movements results in a rapidly changing intensity of light. As the cloud moves, small gaps are opened up and light breaks through, bathing isolated bands and patches in a golden light.

Areas covered in shadow are suddenly exposed for a couple of seconds and, once agin, its just a case of waiting for that right moment when the key-lighting falls on your subject.




Dynamic and rapidly changing light coupled with one of the most incredible photographic backgrounds (whether covered in cloud or not) make Amboseli one of my favourite destinations!

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We have just released details on our 2016 Essential Amboseli and Tsavo Photo Safari which spends 5 nights in Amboseli and 4 nights in Tsavo West.

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About the Author

Andrew Beck

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Very few people can tell you what their passion in life is. Even fewer will be able to tell you that what they do for a living is in fact their passion. My love for the bush and conservation took me on journey which would not only allow me to explore the continent which fascinates me so much, but to share my passion for photography and conservation with others. Be sure to check out my my website and instagram account.

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