February 2017. Wildlife Photography Project in Ethiopia
February 2017. We journeyed to Ethiopia as a wildlife photo trip; it was a wonderful opportunity to photograph gelada monkeys, mountain nyalas antelopes, Ethiopian wolves in the Bale Mountains, and nearly forty bird species from wetlands such as the African sacred ibis, kingfishers, white pelicans, harmerkops, etc.
All of these photos are intended to reinforce photo projects related to wetland birds or monkeys.
One of the goals was to bring back photographs of flying birds or of those walking in the lakes, because we wanted to reinforce them with reflections. Our other goal was to photograph the geladas and the wolves of Ethiopia in backlight with iridescent hairs. Our aim is to produce a series of photographs to feed our collections of fine art photos in accordance with our artistic approach. We must recognize that this harvest of photographs was exceptional. This is certainly one of the most successful photo trips we have ever completed.
To us, Ethiopia is one of the best destinations for wildlife photography. This is the only country we know of where nature is in total symbiosis with human life and behaviors. The lakes are in large cities where thousands of people live. Strangely, animals, birds or mammals are rarely hunted, and live in harmony with fishermen, shepherds, or peasants. It is extraordinary.
This year we had the chance to observe many gelada monkeys as their harvest time ended about a month earlier than expected in Ethiopia. The monkeys returned to their natural habitats along the cliffs in the Rift Valley. Each morning, at dawn, we photographed monkeys climbing along the cliffs to go and eat the grass in the bordering meadows. We were very surprised by the number of infants. We saw many scenes where they played in groups under the protective gaze of adults.
The second highlight of this photo trip was definitely the plateau at almost 4,500 meters (13,000 feet) above sea level in the Bale Mountains. We were lucky enough to observe and photograph Ethiopian wolves hunting mole rats, which is their favorite meal. This year, the lights on the plateau of Bale were particularly beautiful because they were grazing. We discovered some magnificent backlight photos.
Finally, the third highlight was the presence of thousands of birds in the different wetlands we visited. We have seen thousands of Egyptian geese, hundreds of sacred ibis and many species of kingfisher, including the famous pied kingfisher, whose peculiarity is to hunt over water by hovering. It rained quite often during the year 2016. The levels of the lakes were particularly high when we arrived. The reed beds bordering the lakes were very green, and the fish were abundant. All these combined phenomena have made the density of birds and the number of species very important, to our delight.
These few photos are coming directly from our cameras. Thanks to the integrated cropping function and black-and-white processing, we are given an overview of what the final processing will look like. Although these are only sketches of processing, the tone is set.