May 312012

This photo of a Baobab tree has a lot to do with elephants. The scarring on the trunk is the result of elephants. They use their tusks to peel these hollow trees and eat their bark. There are many of these elephant scarred Baobab trees dotting the landscape. The reason that this baobab wound up being captured by my lens is a bit gruesome.

The night before we’d gone on a night drive, bag of wine in tow. As we left the camp we were informed that we’d be passing an elephant carcass (killed by anthrax in the soil). The smell was palpable and we knew the drive was coming to an end when we smelled it again.

The next day we went on a sunset drive and asked to see the carcass. This request may sound odd to you and thinking about it now it sounds odd to me. At the time though, we had the opportunity to see a dead elephant and no-one hesitated in saying yes please. Upon arriving it became clear that it would be an experience. I’m not going to go into details as it was pretty horrendous, but the smell was heavy – that’s an odd word to describe a smell, but it’s the only one that fits. Five feet from the truck one member of our group was gagging uncontrollably.

After taking a quick look at the carcass and concluding that it wasn’t something I wanted to photograph (I’d been hoping for vultures) I made my way back to the truck. I saw this tree and decided to photograph it. It was pretty tricky as I’d brought my 70-300 lens. As a result I shot a panorama and stitched it together.

Baobab tree with scarred trunk under blue sky in Zambia

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