When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”— Ansel Adams
Over the past few days I have felt like the luckiest person in the world as I experienced the wonders of the Serengeti and Ngorogoro Crater here in beautiful Tanzania. It’s hard to describe the awe you feel witnessing some of the most beautiful and fascinating creatures to be found on the savannahs of East Africa.
While we journeyed across the Serengeti and through the Crater, we were accompanied by many, many others. The safari business is huge in East Africa and people come from all over the world to witness the magnificence of the Serengeti. I lost count of the number of different safari company logos I saw on vehicles.
Our journey was also, of course, accompanied by the continual click and whirr of cameras and shutters. Every visitor desperate to capture that perfect shot of these incredible creatures on their once in a lifetime trip.
While wanting to capture these moments is understandable, I felt sad at times: sad that they were missing the spine-chilling moments because they were too busy trying to get their distance shot in focus; sad that they were ignoring the magnitude of what was surrounding them as they peered through their lens; sad that, in their desperation for the perfect shot, they were oblivious to the actual creatures that were in front of them; sad that they couldn’t put down the camera and soak in the wonders and take mental pictures to hold tight to in their memories.
Many of the safari cars had constant chatter coming from them in a land that leaves you speechless. I could not understand where all these words were coming from as I watched in awe. I felt like they were too busy talking that they forgot to just sit and take it all in.
For me, while I took pictures, there were many times I just wanted to watch. There were many times I just leaned against the car and let the gentle Serengeti breeze blow through my hair and watch the millions of wildebeest and zebra grazing. There were moments that I have ingrained on my memory and mental pictures that will forever replay in my minds eye.
As Ansell Adams said “Where words are unclear, I shall focus with photographs…”
There are no words to describe the rawness of feeling as you drive along surrounded by a pride of 14 lions, looking into their amber eyes as they stand inches away from you.
There are no words to describe the wonder you feel as you witness a group of enormous vultures and cranes battling over dinner.
There are no words to describe the wonder and beauty of the silhouette of a lioness looking out across the plains from a perfect vantage point.
“…When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”
There were times when only silence would suffice.
Words or pictures could not describe the strange and haunting sound of the hyenas only inches away as we lay in our tent.
Words or pictures could not match up to the sheer awe-inspiring vastness of the endless savannah.
And, while those surrounding us got frustrated at not getting the perfect shot, we gazed in silence – there were no words or pictures to describe the stunning heartbeat-skipping moment we spotted the extremely rare and endangered rhino grazing in the distance, with the silhouette outline of his horns in the mist.
Sometimes we need to put the camera down and keep some memories only for ourselves.