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My 5 Favourite photos of all time – a guest post by Chad Cocking

Posted by on November 11, 2013

Chad is one of my favourite photographers! A great friend too, to whom I am eternally grateful for the beautiful images that he has allowed me to use in my blog over the last year. Thank you Chad! See more of his fantastic photography here

I have been asked a few difficult things in my time as a guide, but few have come more difficult as having Rachel asking me to pick my five favourite photographs ever!  How does one go about narrowing it down so much – I can’t even pick my five favorite photographs from the last month, let alone the last 7 years!  Regardless of the difficulties and the thought that I will always pick one I don’t really like, I have decided to give it a go anyway, and what follows are five of my images that I hope best typify me and my photography – although, reducing over 200,000 images down to only five can barely be construed as “capturing my style”, but I hope you enjoy them anyway!

Chad in action!

Chad in action!

Rhinos Under a Rainbow
This was just one of those fortuitous scenes that every photographer dreams of!  I had been heading way south in the reserve, desperate to see some lions that had vacated the north; on the way down, I got a bit wet with a burst of rain, but not long afterwards, the sun popped out.  The lions were still drawing a lot of attention, so I decided to kill a bit of time going to see a small crash of rhinos that had been found feeding on one of the many sonic sights down south; it was only when I approached the sighting that I looked up and realised what an incredible scene was being painted in front of me.  All I had to do was position myself and click the button – mother nature did the rest!  I always hope that this image can represent the end of the storm that faces this poor species, and that in the not too distant future, the grey cloud that is hanging over their existence will lift, and that a bright future awaits them.
Rhinos under a Rainbow

Rhinos under a Rainbow ©Chad Cocking Wildlife Photography

Leopard Rock 

Of my 200,000 images I have taken, at least 199,000 are probably of leopards!  I have really enjoyed following these amazing cats over the last few years, and grown to love them and their ways far more than I thought possible!  While leopards are dead easy subjects to photograph – their natural beauty does the work for you – I have surprisingly few good leopard shots.  Being such a common photographic subject, they have been photographed in almost every conceivable manner and position, and it is difficult to come up with something new.  But, for me, this image was never something new, but just an image I had always wanted in my gallery – a perfect leopard perched atop a perfect rock.

Leopard Rock ©Chad Cocking Wildlife Photography

Leopard Rock ©Chad Cocking Wildlife Photography

Fighting Stallions

I have a tendency to always favor my newer images, and this is no exception!  I might well look back at this blog post in a couple of years and wonder why I chose it as one of my favorites, but for now at least, it is firmly up there.  Yes, it is again an overdone shot, and how cliched turning a zebra shot into a black and white image, but you know what, photographers do it for a reason – because it works!!!  These two young males were part of a bachelors herd and were having a playful jousting session when we found them one morning.  I don’t often get to photograph animals in the open, so I relished this chance and spent some good time capturing the action as they tried their best to bite the opponent.  By the time we left, I had snapped off more than 100 pics and the two males had decided that eating grass was more fun, and we left a remarkably calm scene.  Leaving that made me wonder just how much I must miss in the bush by a matter of mere minutes! 

Fighting Stallions ©Chad Cocking Wildlife Photography

Fighting Stallions ©Chad Cocking Wildlife Photography

Elephant Calf 

Not technically perfect, not a unique moment, and not an image that immediately jumped out at me as being one of my favorites.  It was however one that stuck out when I was going over my recent images, and I think I like it most as it screams of life – be it the new born baby elephant searching for its mom’s teat, or the light sparkling in her little eyes (something difficult to achieve with elephants I have learnt) – but despite the cold, gloomy conditions I photographed this calf in, I still really like the end result.  Also, despite two of my images in this selection being monochrome, I am actually not a big fan of it in wildlife photography (maybe that is my subconscious telling me I should do more of it!!!)

Elephant Calf ©Chad Cocking WIldlife Photography

Elephant Calf ©Chad Cocking WIldlife Photography

White Lions of the Timbavati

Okay, I am sure you are all probably as sick of this image as I am, but how could I not include it in my top 5?  I have seen this image so much, that I can’t really stand to look at it anymore, BUT, it was one of the best moments of my photographic “career” when I clicked that shutter button.  It is the only time in my life that I knew that I captured a truly spectacular scene, and that proverbial “once in a lifetime moment”.  Again, it was an image of good fortune; I did nothing but anticipate the pride’s movements and hoped to be at the waterhole when they arrived to drink after finishing off their latest kill.  On the first day, they didn’t even move, but 24 hours later, we tried again, and this time, luck was more than on our side!  The two lined up so perfectly, and for a split second they both lapped at the water while staring straight at me – I got the shot, and as soon as I took it, I knew it was an image that would travel the world.  It has been three years since I took this image, and I am still dying for that moment when I can capture a shot that I know will have the same impact on me an my photography!  Hey, maybe it happens tomorrow?  And even if it doesn’t, I will still go out there and try!

White Lions of the Timbavati ©Chad Cocking Wildlife Photography

White Lions of the Timbavati ©Chad Cocking Wildlife Photography

Will be interesting to see what images I say are my favorite if Rachel asks me to do this again in a years time!

See more of Chads wonderful photos here

4 Responses to My 5 Favourite photos of all time – a guest post by Chad Cocking

  1. Ant

    Love the Zebra image, Chad, especially for the graphic appeal.

  2. Zabi

    The 2 lions drinking, what a great shot!!!!!
    But I like the baby éléphant, because it’s always amazing to stand near this so bigs animals and I dream to take on day, a picture like that.
    In the bush, there always, grass, trees or branches between you and the subject. And B and W is really good for animals like éléphants and rhinos.

    There an other picture, I remembered perfectly, the aardwark reflecting in a pond with a marvellous light …

    Thank you for sharing your pictures with us.

  3. Frank

    We were very lucky to meet Chad on our trip to Motswari last year. We nic named him “The Legend” as we missed nothing. He is such a nice guide really knowledgeable and fun to be around. He can also take a picture. His blog is worth checking out, he has a Pangolin that is really modern art.

  4. Zenda Wheatley

    I have followed Chad for a number of years and even though he may be sick of the lions photo I think it is just amazing. That white lions’ eyes mesmerize me! All his photos are amazing and I am sure he had great difficulty in choosing just five but did a great job!!

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