Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2011: Behaviour: Mammals - Highly Commended - Family Tree
I caught up with this cheetah female and her six nine-week-old cubs just before sunrise. I had been following the family in Kenya's Masai Mara for the past two weeks. While the lively siblings played around a balanites tree, circling and leaping, I took a series of backlit shots. Occasionally, one would use its sharp, young claws to scramble up the tree and then down again. Then, just as the sun clouded over, something unexpected happened. Five out of the six cubs ended up in the tree at the same time, Then the mother, her belly concave with hunger, suddenly leapt up too. She paused just below the crown and looked around, scanning the plain for breakfast. I love the way the postures are all different - and the indifference of the cub on the ground. Over the past 20 years, I have probably spent more time with cheetahs than any other animal, but I've never seen a scene like this before.
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV + 70-200mm lens; 1/640 sec at f4 (-0.3 e/v); ISO 400; beanbag.
Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2011: Behaviour: Birds - Highly Commended - Taking Flight
I arrived very early on the shores of Lake Nakuru, Kenya, before the rising sun had burnt off the mist. I had returned to photograph the greater and lesser flamingos and used shade, shadows and silhouettes to create drama, rather than sunlight to emphasize their vivid colours. I was helped by a combination of circumstances: rain during the night, a rapidly clearing sky, enough time for the cold air to form mist over the alkaline waters and a hyena hunting for young or infirm birds along the far shore of the soda lake. The predator set up a wave of panic, with those closest to it taking flight and those nearest to me standing alert. Ten minutes later, not only had the whole flock lifted up, but the mist had also burnt off, completely changing the scene.
Canon EOS-1D Mark 4 + 500mm f4 IS lens; 1/5000 sec at f10 (-1.7 e/v); ISO 200; beanbag.
Wanderlust Photographer of the Year Wildlife 2006: Runner Up - Laughing Zebra
They are of course not 'laughing' but taking scent. I had spent all morning with a female cheetah and her sub-adult cubs, the zebra approached and whilst in no danger were just 'prospecting'. It was a grab shot and poorly cropped but always gets a huge reaction. A friend paid me a good sum for this (went to our natal project in the Mara) to put on his office door... He's a dentist.
Wanderlust Photographer of the Year Wildlife 2005: Winner - Lioness
This is all about finding predators early. This was a VERY early start, just as the sun got up this cub moved onto its mother. Fujichrome Velvia and one stop under-exposed did the rest.
Daily Telegraph Travel Photograph of the Year 2004: Winner of both the Amateur and Professional Categories, Judged by Don McCullin and the Earl of Lichfield.
At the end of a very long day guiding we were returning to camp just as the sun was peeping its head below the anvil clouds. I spotted these three Maasai and held up my lens indicating I would be photographing them, they were quite happy to carry on chatting. I rarely take people shots in the developing world as so often it is intrusive and the results either ethically questionable or trite. This just worked, one of them now works for me and we often laugh over this image which in the days of film I did not even know if it was any good when I pressed a weary shutter.
Wanderlust Photographer of the Year Wildlife 2004: Winner - Cheetahs Climbing
Perhaps it is wrong to have favourites in the animal world. Perhaps it is whimsical anthropomorphic nonsense, but perhaps be damned. In 2003 I spent a magnificent week guiding with a young cheetah (Binti) and her two cubs that were adept climbers with their sharp young claws. This photo is all about taking a shot in portrait and the clean background.
Geographical Magazine 2004: Winner - Hippo Attack
This cantankerous old male had been ostracised from the rest of the hippo pod. We were just stopping for brekfast by the banks of the Mara River but I told everyone they would be advised to hold on as this old boy seemed in the mood. Before long he took on one of the younger males... three rounds, one submission and the old stager went back to his haunt. Portrait format was imperative again.