Inside job

Charlie Hamilton James's Image

Charlie wanted to capture an African vulture feeding scrum from its centre, so he positioned a specially adapted camera inside multiple carcasses.

After three weeks and thousands of photographs ‘this was the only shot that worked,’ he says. The low angle captured the action as these endangered Rüppell’s and white-backed vultures gorged on carrion and bone. Vultures use cunning tactics to locate carcasses, which include looking for behavioural cues from other vultures. They also keep an eye out for eagles, which are more likely to spot a kill first, following them to the carcass, tucking in once the sharpbeaked eagles have made the first incision.

Behind the lens

Charlie Hamilton James


Charlie Hamilton James is a wildlife and conservation photographer for National Geographic Magazine. He specialises in stories and issues in South America and East Africa. He has shot 14 stories for National Geographic.

Image details

  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7
  • 7-14mm f4 lens at 7mm
  • 1/500 sec at f5.6  •   ISO 800
  • Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
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