Almost exactly a year after I took one of my strongest images, “Drought” I found my lens once again pointed in the direction of two fighting zebras. There are clear similarities and differences between the two. The obvious similarity is that both frames display zebras reared up and in heated battle, but here a far more endangered species is shown. There are roughly 2,500 Grevy’s Zebra’s left in Africa with the vast majority being located in Northern Kenya. The Lewa / Borana Landscape is simply the best place to photograph them.
The challenge that comes with photographing in Borana is that in almost every direction there are huge rocky hills making a clean background a real difficulty. I find big skies so important in my photography to accentuate the drama within the scene. My usual way to combat this is to use wide angle lenses from a ground up perspective but the grass was too long, and the subjects chased and fought for over 10 minutes moving considerable distances which made remote photography impossible. Therefore, unlike in “Drought”, I selected a telephoto lens, but stayed as low as possible to ensure the Zebra’s heads were set against a minimal background.
I was lucky enough to witness this epic duel but equally lucky that they reared up in such a dramatic way just 15 metres from me. Much of the fight took part behind trees and bushes some distance away. The beautifully backlit scene is what truly brings this image alive. It is as if the grass has turned into flames and the clouds into smoke. Nothing else would do for a duel at dusk.