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The Leading Edge

By stevie
I've chosen to submit these migration shots as a series because they do tell a story.

The migration and, particularly, the crossing of the Mara river is, without doubt, one of the most spectacular wildlife phenomena you can witness. And I mean specatacular. You can hardly believe it the first time you see the mirating wilebeest and zebra - thousands of them, creating a massive cloud of dust as they move. The noise as they approach is incredible - a kind of rumbling thunder in the distance as they get closer to the Mara river and the crossing that is a battle for life itself. I arrived early by the river - you need to to get your view. The guide knew the place to get the shots - and I ended up between Andy Rouse and a bloke from National Geographic so I presumed I was more or less right for position.

Shot 1. The leading wildebeest - the front edge of thousands of animals. The herd instinct is such that one animal goes and the rest follow. For what seemed like an interminable period they look at the water; the waiting crocodiles and the vultures know what is to come.

Shot 2. A Leap of Faith - suddenly one animal makes the move - it's almost 'now or never' - and the herd responds. The Mara river turns into an explosion of action!

Shot 3. Follow the Leader. According to our guide, zebra are a more intelligent animal than wildebeest. They often 'navigate' on the migration and do better on the crossing. Here a zebra leads wildebeest to a good crossing point. These animals will live to fight another day.

Shot 4. Scramble to Survive. For others it turns to a frantic scramble for survival, crushing fellow beasts in the frenzy to cross the water. The first bodies drift downstream from the mass of beasts, killed and injured not by predators but by each other. Survival of the strongest.

Shot 5. A Tricky Problem. Not the best place to try and leave the water. The waiting crocodile knows it's just a matter of time........

Shot 6. The End of the Line. A wildebeest enters the food chain....

Shot 7. Jaws of Death. Mara crocodiles are big. Very big indeed, in fact......

Shots 8 & 9. Aftermath. It's like a battlefield after the battle - the explosion of action is over, all that is left is a strange silence, the bodies and vultures (so many vultures!) feasting.

Tags: Kenya Wildebeest Migration Wildlife and nature Mara crossing

Voters: robthecamman, williamsloan, pronabk and 62 more

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Irishkate Plus
9 41 118 United Kingdom
8 Sep 2012 10:32AM
What an amazing set of images so well taken to tell the migration story.
V1 is the aesthically pleasing and V7 the most graphic image of nature at it's worst!
V7 does show how large the crocodile is and I thought a wildebeest was large!
I probably learned more from these nine images than watching a whole nature programme.
Sterling work and reportage.

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DeSilver Plus
12 14 12 England
8 Sep 2012 10:49AM
Life on the edge. Stunning images.

55jase 14 188 2 United Kingdom
8 Sep 2012 10:55AM
Wow. I have seen this on tv. but to see it caught on camera. awesome. I love 7 & 9
rontear Plus
17 23 8 England
8 Sep 2012 11:01AM
Hope and carnage Steve, such a powerful set of images !! The aftermath of natures desire for fresh grass a price to pay !!
Joline Plus
13 30 56 United States
8 Sep 2012 11:12AM
A stunning documentary of this fight for life.
Chinga Plus
9 3 2 United Kingdom
8 Sep 2012 11:18AM
AMAZING! Wow.....
stevie 16 1.2k 2 United Kingdom
8 Sep 2012 11:31AM
Thanks for the UAs!
8 Sep 2012 11:52AM
Magical!!! Deep
Richsr 13 91 223 England
8 Sep 2012 1:15PM
Great to witness this Stevie, amazing images
Regards Richard
Jasper87 Plus
10 2.4k 158 England
8 Sep 2012 3:05PM
Amazing indeed, each image is so strong. A phenomenal set.

edrhodes 15 548 13 United Kingdom
8 Sep 2012 8:21PM
Brilliant mate, must of been an amazing sight.

LesF 13 182 9
8 Sep 2012 10:09PM
Photography at it's best, not one but nine stunning images Stevie.

Sezz 15 619 15 England
8 Sep 2012 10:38PM
Wow, V1 is awesome but so are the rest Steve, never seen reportage of this quality on here, story well told in every way!
My congrat's for your well deserved awards, pleace accept another one Smile

Sarah *
CaptivePhotons 16 1.7k 2 England
9 Sep 2012 8:24AM
Great series. The natural world can be beautiful and brutal and you've captured both in this set.
almiles 10 38 102 United Kingdom
9 Sep 2012 12:53PM
Incredible images, each one excellent in it's own right, especially V1 and V9 but as a series they are incredibly powerful and if National Geographic get anything so good they will be fortunate indeed! Thanks for sharing them with us all.
Tynnwrlluniau Plus
10 112 38 Wales
9 Sep 2012 1:54PM
Truly outstanding work. Congratulations.
stevie 16 1.2k 2 United Kingdom
9 Sep 2012 2:41PM
Thanks all and thenks fior the HC!
Glostopcat 14 255 2 England
9 Sep 2012 5:26PM
An oustanding set of images documenting one of natures most spectacular events
Buffalo_Tom Plus
13 2.3k 11 Wales
10 Sep 2012 10:24AM
Awesome set of picture Steve.Would love to witness this migration.
katieb 15 255 4 United Kingdom
10 Sep 2012 4:20PM
Amazing Steve.
Lillian Plus
10 23 17 United Kingdom
11 Sep 2012 7:36AM
Really envious, such outstanding shots, and this is next
best to being there seeing these quality images
16 Sep 2012 1:44AM
congratulations on some excellent work
philgood 8 7 United Kingdom
19 Sep 2012 10:52PM
Awesome images, Smile
dathersmith 13 565 12 United Kingdom
21 Sep 2012 7:45AM
Wow Steve what a fantastic series of images and what a story, must have been incredible to witness. In the company of Andy Rouse too, your guide obviously knew his stuff. All of your Kenyan images are superb, makes me so want to visit.


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