Dusk 'Til Dawn: Wildlife Through the African Night
After 'golden hour' is over and as the last light fades, many photographers move on to sundowners, dinner and a fine night’s sleep under the African stars. But I’ve always been curious about the dramas that continue on the plains throughout the hours of darkness. I began to spend time at an overnight hide in South Africa, and the experience, including the dreamlike state I often enter in the small hours (whether through lack of sleep or artistic inspiration remains unclear to me!) inspired this collection.
For me there are four stages to nights on safari - dusk, darkness, dreaming and dawn. I’ve dedicated a wall to each stage as I experience it.
The Dusk Wall represents a time of dynamic awakenings. Most predators sleep through the heat of the African day, to wake refreshed and energetic around dusk, just in time for the Golden Hour. Plains game herds together for safety in numbers as darkness approaches.
The Dark Wall follows night activity: many animals come to drink at waterholes during the drought months, risking running into predators to access the life-sustaining waters. It is also a time where we may confront our own fears. Colours become secondary in the dark - texture comes to the fore, with the darkness itself defining form. The lighting for these shots is a mix of natural ambient, vehicle and daylight balanced spot lighting.
The Dreaming Wall represents the subconscious state I enter as my mind processes the previous day’s encounters during sleep - the effects are realised through a complex fusion of extended shutter speeds, intentional camera motion, lens manipulation and stacked images.
The Dawn Wall is simply full of new light, new life and the new hope that the start of each new day brings.
I have chosen unframed acrylics for this collection as it allows these wild subjects to retain a sense of unconstrained freedom within any space.