By Abigail Marlow
THE AMAZING behind the scenes reality of being a wildlife photographer is shown by these incredible up close shots with Africa’s mightiest beasts.
One image depicts a photographer standing just a few feet away from a pair of colossal elephants while another snap shows a brave photographer within touching distance of a cheetah as he clutches his camera.
Sam Turley (30) is the photographer behind these insightful images which were captured during his time as a wildlife photographer and tour leader in Zimbabwe.
“The images were taken at Imire Rhino and Wildlife Conservancy, Zimbabwe,” he said.
“My clients and I were out photographing a beautiful herd of Zebra at the time when I saw the two elephants walking in our general direction.
“They were quite a distance away and so I had time to position my clients in an open area where I thought the elephants may come to feed.
“Slowly they both approached us and within no more than ten minutes they were within about three metres of us.
“They both seemed fascinated by our intentions and they, therefore, hung around for a while which offered my clients some incredible photographic opportunities – an experience I am sure that they will never forget.”
Sam encounters a variety of animals during his time working as a tour leader and running photography workshops, from elephants to cheetahs and rhinos being especially drawn to elephants due to their emotional intelligence.
There are just three elephants at Imire Conservancy as many became orphaned from culling practices. Between 1965 and 1988 around 50,000 elephants were culled in Zimbabwe with whole herds being wiped out. The elephants at the centre were intercepted from the trade and hand-reared until their timely release into the wild.
“The presence of elephants is always such a privilege and I hope that my images of them will help people to connect with them and to understand the importance of conserving them,” he said
“The thing I love most about my images is when they invoke an emotional reaction from the viewer.
“If I can hold somebody’s attention long enough for them to really think about an animal or conservation issue that makes everything I do worthwhile.”