Last month, I wrote a review of some adorable baby animal books by Suzi Eszterhas. She was kind enough to stop by the blog and write a little about her time photographing wildlife. Welcome Suzi!
of the best parts of being a wildlife photographer is that every day is
different. And to get good shots, you have to spend a lot of days in
the field. And I mean A LOT. I spent nearly two years following a few
different cheetah families in Kenya’s Masai Mara. Spending every day
with one family, from sunrise to sunset, you see a lot: mom hunting
gazelles, cubs playing, cuddling with mom, and more. But the cheetahs
also see a lot of you.
When animals get used to your presence you become
a fixture of their landscape, just like a tree or a boulder. And out on
the African plains, if cheetah cubs grow up around you, they treat a
safari jeep like a boulder, climbing on the tires, jumping on the hood,
and chasing each other on the roof. The cubs even peered into my open
window, hissed and playfully pawed my shoulder. Of course, as a wildlife
photographer, I never touch wild animals. But these kinds of encounters are a privilege and a whole lot of fun!
are perhaps the best animals on the planet for close encounters.
They’ve had a long history of being studied by primatologists like Dian
Fossey. This has made them very relaxed around people and they often
ignore the fact that you are there. You can find yourself sitting amidst
a group of gorillas, watching them live out their lives around you
without a care in the world - feeding on wild celery, holding their
babies close, or beating their chests.
Being an invisible observer is a
wildlife photographer’s dream, but there are also times when the
gorillas interact with you and this can be mind-blowing. Sometimes they
just catch your eye and stare at you deeply; somehow, with eyes locked,
you get this feeling that you are staring at something very familiar –
something unmistakably human."