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Fair Weather Photographers Need Not Apply

As part of my residency at Alex Walker’s Serian camps in Kenya I’ve been lucky enough to accompany some of our guests on game drives throughout the Masai Mara.

Each morning has brought sunshine, but during most afternoons in the north the clouds have built to give torrential downpours. “Have a great drive” the camp staff say as we head off “...see you for dinner”. To my surprise one guest replied “Yeah - unless it rains - then we’ll be back sooner”....obviously this particular guest wasn’t a photographer!

In my book there’s no such thing as bad weather or bad light - just different opportunities and new creative challenges! For starters, the huge skies here in the Mara just crackle with drama as towering thunderheads convect, lightning flickers and the torrents begin to sweep in from the horizon.

rain incoming across the plains, Mara North conservancy

And it’s fascinating to watch how all the animals react differently in a downpour. Some, like the cheetah below, just hate it - she’s a picture of misery, every strand of fur sodden and whiskers drooping and dripping.

cheetah looking miserable in the rain, Mara North Conservancy

Others, like the elephants, can’t get enough of it. They abandon their lumbering dignity and frolic like carefree calves again, wallowing in puddles, rolling around and throwing mud in a giant splatter of happiness.

elephants just love the rain, Mara North Conservancy

Some of the most atmospheric shots I’ve taken have been here in the rain - this male lion is a favourite of mine, despite the light fading almost to nothing and it pelting down: it captures the moment and another poetic side to his beauty.

A male lion shakes rain from his mane, Mara North Conservancy

Even around camp it's fun to try and catch the drops!

A single raindrop splashes on the deck at Serian Ngare camp

So don’t be sorry if it rains on your safari - roll with it, revel in it or just plain endure it - whatever your approach to the rain you’ll be rewarded with some stunning and very different shots.

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