Two Cheetah brothers killing Wildebeest

PhotographerKarin Van Couwenberg
PrizeHonorable Mention
Entry Description

Serengeti in Tanzania, Africa. We were following these two cheetah brothers for more than 10 hours, waiting for some action. During the morning hours they were walking around and resting. They seemed very hungry. Around noon it was so hot that they were sleeping in the shadow of a tree and we waited patiently. Around 16hrs they were getting active and were investigating a big herd of Wildebeest in the distance and got closer. All of a sudden one of the cheetah ran into the herd. The other cheetah was approaching from the opposite direction and they attacked this Wildebeest. It took more than 15 before they managed to kill the adult Wildebeest. Out of nowhere a group of 10 Hyena approached and in a second they have stolen the kill. The poor cheetah brothers did all the work, but unfortunately didn’t get any piece of meat.

About Photographer

For me, nature and wildlife photography started simply as a way to record my adventures and trips so I could remember and revisit them for years to come. What started as an afterthought gradually evolved into a consuming passion. Seeing a subject in a new light and trying to capture an expression that describes the animal’s personality, a moment of tenderness, a sense of family life or a unique behaviour, is always a challenge for me. I’m always trying to reveal an animal’s soul by creating interesting and engaging images. I love Botswana and Tanzania a lot. It is easy to photograph a sleeping lion, but the challenge is to make a “different” lion picture. I once was in Tanzania and it was raining the whole day. We located a pride of lions. One of the males was soaking wet and you know from experience that he is going to shake his manes after a while and that is the special moment you are looking for. Passion is very important, even if you have to stay out in the bush for the whole day, you have to be passionate. It happens that you go back to your tent after following an animal the whole day without one good shot, but do not forget that you had the privilege to stay with the animal and were part of his life and routine. Another important quality is patience. It is so important to learn their behavior. This will certainly help you to predict certain actions so you’re always ready to press the shutter. What I also would like to point out is to leave an animal in his comfort zone. I don’t push to have the ultimate shot. I rather leave my camera aside and enjoy a scene than making the animal uncomfortable. We are a guest in their natural surroundings. I would like to tell something about conservation photography too. I am sure that you agree that the wilderness of our natural world is under increasing pressure and that is why that I, together with two other wildlife photographers, realised my second book “The Magic of Hope”. Dr. Jane Goodall has written the foreword and supports the project. She reminded us that every little bit counts. Nowadays, we are spinning a web of destruction on this planet, but we need to believe that there is hope. Through “The Magic of Hope“, we connect the purity and innocence of the next generations to the confidence and wisdom of generations present and past. The internet and social media platforms have opened up massive opportunities for young people to experience nature and it takes just a little encouragement to get them involved and reconnected. Our project begins from children’s drawings in Africa and Europe depicting their view of wildlife, to messages of hope from conservationists and iconic individuals throughout the world together with our photographs.