WPY 2013

Photograph Details

Commended 2013

Animals in their Environment

Gregoire Bouguereau, France

Storm panic

As a storm began to brew, this group of males in the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, got more and more agitated. 'I have often observed elephants getting very restless when weather conditions are unstable, and particularly in strong wind,' says Gregoire, 'and this storm turned into an extreme one.' A sudden gust foreshadowing what was to come reached the small group. 'The elephants immediately started to trumpet in panic,' says Gregoire, who took this picture when the agitated giants, caught in the rising sandstorm, fled in front of his vehicle.

Technical specification

Nikon D800 + 16-35mm f4 lens; 1/400 sec at f11 (-0.7 e/v); ISO 200.

Serengeti National Park, Tanzania: latitude -2.33333, longitude 34.8333 Serengeti National Park, Tanzania: latitude -2.33333, longitude 34.8333

Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

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Gregoire Bouguereau, France

« I got my first camera when I was a student. The contemplative dimension of photography appealed to me immediately, and this camera – the perfect excuse to set out – became a faithful travel companion. The vast African expanses, which I had already read about in books and seen in documentaries, were a part of my childhood dreams; the kind of dreams that cling to you wherever you go and may be conjured up at the first opportunity to fulfil them; dreams that are all the more vivid for having been cooped up for so long… So I can’t reasonably say that my finding myself in the midst of African wildlife one fine day all happened by chance. Right from the start, the simplicity, the freedom of this life in its natural setting, deeply fascinated me. It was like a revelation, coupled with an encounter, and marked the starting point of a unique experience… South Africa – that’s where it all began; that’s what disrupted my original travel plans. Among the multiple life forms that were unfolding before me, my attention was especially caught by a female leopard. This mesmerizing encounter led me to try and find as many opportunities as possible to observe her, to get to know a little more about the day-to-day life of one of the most mysterious creatures of the bush; that’s how I got to witness the formative experiences of three successive litters – the focus of Saseka, my first book. Whenever I spend a long time in the wild, I am deeply moved by the feeling of being a part of it all. What makes this emotion so special and powerful during these immersions in this environment is that I have never experienced it anywhere else so far. It is impossible to ignore such a feeling and not attempt to understand it, and, in addition, to help others understand it in turn. It is hard to set such an objective if one is not prepared to delve into this phenomenon and observe it long and hard. The projects I am currently involved in are therefore managed in collaboration with scientific research teams and conservation programmes and have as much to do with ethology as with photography. » – GB