After an exciting evening of watching yet another herd of Wildebeest and Zebras cross the Mara river and then observing a part of the herd aborting the crossing, we moved on deeper into Masai Mara national park. We hadn’t gone very far when we noticed this herd of African Elephants in the distance. The promise of photographing a herd of African Elephants in the evening sun was an opportunity that we did not want to let go.

We approached the herd cautiously and from a distance we spotted a young bull Elephant grazing close to the safari route. We decided to move closer to him so that we could have him within the range of my trusted 300mm f2.8 lens; of course with the convertor on. When we reached a position where we got frame filling compositions at 600mm, we stopped the vehicle and switched off the engines and waited.

African Elephant

We clicked a couple of images and when I took a closer look at them, I noticed that this Tusker was in ‘Musth’ (a condition where there is large rise of testosterone hormones resulting in ‘Musth’ fluid flowing from the temporal ducts, at the side of the head; this is normally accompanied by highly aggressive behavior). We maintained a safe distance and observed this African Elephant bull handle his excited condition.

African Elephant in musth

While we were observing this Tusker, another tourist vehicle was observing a mother and calf a little ahead of us. At a point, the mother and calf got a little closer to the parked vehicle and I focused my new camera setup (D700 mounted with 70-200mm f2.8 lens) on them and captured the interaction of the mother Elephant with the tourist vehicle.

African Elephant Herd

And finally, as the sun was setting on this herd, we left them to forage peacefully and took this parting shot of the African bull Elephant in ‘Musth’ before heading back.

African Elephant in Musth

African Elephant

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