It was great to see one of my photos printed once again in the Sunday Times on August 30th. I was proclaimed the Travel Photographer of the Month for this shot of lechwe at sunrise in Zambia’s Busanga Plains! What a privilege to have had the opportunity to go to the Busanga Plains in the first place, and winning a prize tops off the experience (see Wildlife Photographer of the Month). Stay tuned for more of my Busanga images in print in the coming months.
The Sunday Times printed:
It took Morgan Trimble and a researcher friend seven hours by 4×4 to reach the remote Busanga Swamps of Zambia’s Kafue National Park, whose entrance is about an hour ’s drive southwest of the capital, Lusaka. Arriving at their destination, they set up camp on a night in June, their flimsy pop-up tent the only barrier between themselves and the lions of one of the park’s wildest and most isolated regions.
“At about 1am, we could hear two lions roaring. The roaring grew louder, until we knew the lions were almost in camp,” recalls Trimble, a 31-year-old ecologist, writer and photographer. There was nothing for it but to dash for the safety of the 4×4 — and keep their fingers crossed the lions would simply move away.
Ten minutes after the predators had prowled past their tent, Trimble and companion were back in it, happily coiled into their sleeping bags for a few hours of sound sleep.
“The lions were gone and we were confident they wouldn’t be back to bother us,” the laidback photographer insists.
Up at dawn to photograph the “prolific” swamp things of the Busanga region, the two were blessed with “spectacular morning mists” hanging thick and low.
That mist, which can be seen in the Sunday Times Wildlife Photograph of the Month, “was an incredible photographic feature”.
To highlight the male lechwe amid the scene’s soft light, Trimble placed the foreground and background out of focus, etching the horned animal’s silhouette into a sharp, dramatic outline. “It was tricky getting the exposure right at dawn — I used exposure compensation to make the image darker than my camera wanted it to be.”
She confesses: “I’ve entered several images of my Busanga dawn outing into this competition — but I think this shot truly captures that swamp’s special, remote sense of place.”
See the image caption to find out why the judges chose this photo as the month’s top shot. Trimble’s photograph wins R5 000 from the Sunday Times, which also places her in the running to win a R120 000, seven-day safari for two people to photograph the Maasai Mara’s 2016 Great Migration. The Sunday Times Wildlife Photographer of the Year and runners-up will be announced in December. Congratulations Morgan!
MIST OPPORTUNITY: Morgan Trimble of Cape Town expertly seized on the first-light mists of Kafue National Park, Zambia, to create a haunting image of the park’s little-known and difficult-to access Busanga Swamps. A lechwe — a wetland antelope — is depicted in a crisp silhouette.
The judges said: A great moment, as well as mesmerising light and composition make for a superb image that evokes beauty and drama. The tree to the right and the lechwe are in strong symmetry, sparsely spaced and sharply lit, making for impressive aesthetics.
Thanks, Sunday Times!