Shortly before the rains, this hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius – Shona: Mvuu; Ndebele: Mvubu) and several others were surviving in a puddle of water as this pan dried up. This beast struggled to get out of the water due to the thick clay surrounds and its purpose in doing so was confusing, since the image was taken early morning. Hippo are generally nocturnal browsers, away from water, so the beast should have been returning to water, not moving from it. Just 400 meters away a viable pan of water was occupied be several pods of hippopotamus.
(Canon 7D; f/6,3; 1/160sec; ISO-200; 115mm)
Picture ©2011 Andrew Field – Simply Wild Photography
Digital Wildlife Photographic Tips
All animals have comfort perimeters which, if breached, will result in flight. Movement into your subject’s comfort boundary will defeat the object of getting closer, since the animal will run. The human form or silhouette is a threat to any wild animal and where it is critical to get close, do so in a manner that breaks the human silhouette. Get down on your haunches and slowly slide forward, rather than walk, preferably under cover of surrounding foliage or features. Often, it pays to just sit and allow the subject to get comfortable with you, resulting in the animal coming into your comfort zone. Always remember wild animals are dangerous. Do not attempt to stalk any animal in its natural habitat without professional guidance and do not get out of your vehicle if this is a restricted practice.