Dawn Commute, Amboseli, Kenya

Archival Pigment Photograph

Signed, dated, and numbered from edition of 12 on recto. Signed, titled, dated, and editioned on certificate of authenticity.

I have long aspired to capture imagery of big elephant shadows in Sub-Saharan Africa. This is normally only feasible from the air on little bush planes and this practice is both expensive and hardly in keeping with the serenity of the subject matter. The far better alternative is to find vantage points high enough to be able to look down on the land below and perhaps capture shadows from nearby elephants.


On the edge of Amboseli National Park there is such a place. The problem then is simply that big shadows are only created for twenty minutes a day and there is absolutely no reason why elephants should choose to be anywhere near the vantage points during the best period for shadows. Amboseli is a 300,000-acre ecosystem, not a zoo.


I have been at the top of this hill perhaps twenty-five times at sunrise and finally, during the rainy season in April 2014, the opportunity came my way. The ground below was lush with greenery, but fortunately the elephants were walking in the clear and the shadows were not corrupted.


There is a great sense of place in this image – I can understand why some say that it captures the serenity of East Africa at dawn – all that is missing is that musky smell. – David Yarrow