Photographic Safari – Tales of the Full Moon

“It is my wish that children and adults will learn the wisdom of nature from “Tales of the Full Moon”. Daktari Sue

_DSC4432Sue Hart believed that education is the key in preserving the wellbeing of the natural world. She wrote about her experiences as a vet in the 1960s practising in White River in the eastern Transvaal, which is now known as Mpumalanga and is close to the world reknown, Kruger National Park. Many people wanted to follow in her footsteps and give children the experience of the sights and sounds of wild Africa, so here we chronicle a photographic safari into the KNP by Trevor Barrett, a British-based professional photographer whose great passion is African wildlife.

It’s not all about the Big Five

Tourists who go on wildlife safaris want to see the Big Five – lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo and leopard. Trevor’s mission was to photograph the other creatures of the bush too – the animal, birds, reptiles and insects that feature in Tales of the Full Moon to make into exciting motion visuals for the stories app and eBooks. The idea was to show people everything there is in the bush; all the colours of the natural biodiversity; the tiny creatures; the ugly ones; the flowers, trees and rivers.

Wildlife photography isn’t easy

The 4.30am starts, the long hours of waiting, the heat… And the weather has such a bearing on the light. The best time to get pictures is early morning up to 10.30am or when the light softens around 4pm, but then darkness falls at 7pm and there was only fifteen days in which to try and capture the very soul of the African bush and the animals in it. It was a tall order. Trevor didn’t know if he would even find all the animals featured in Tales of the Full Moon but he knew to be patient.

Sue Hart said, “What you see is a gift. Always bear in mind that the bush does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, too impatient.”

New places, new adventures

_DSC0984Every day brought new adventures. The landscape varied from the parched northern land to the lush greenness of the south where animals came to drink at the waterholes. And what excitement there was! Being cornered by an elephant in musk or being in the middle of a fight between two alpha male baboons were just two of the eventful happenings that occurred, and in the background, there was always the worry that he wouldn’t see those elusive Big Cats…

Gifts from nature

But then Sue’s words came true; the gifts arrived in abundance. It was like Christmas and birthdays rolled into one. Hoping for a big wise old ‘tusker’ we found our Rumble Drum in Shingwedzi and dear old Wally Warthog with just a stump for a tail, male impalas locking horns, Tops Giraffe, Hatty Hyena, mischievous Merlin Monkey all perfect for the Tales.

Everything that was wished for was ‘in the can’. Mission accomplished!