The less travelled road of wildlife photography

Saturday October 12 2019

'Leopard cub' by Caroline Muchekehu.

Leopard cub by Caroline Muchekehu. PHOTO | KARI MUTU | NMG 

KARI MUTU
By KARI MUTU
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Photographer Caroline Muchekehu of Kenya is carving a niche for herself in the field wildlife photography. Her images portray wild animals in motion, moments of stillness, and intimate interactions.

Mara, Amboseli and Samburu parks are her preferred haunts while Nairobi National Park is a quick getaway into the wild. The Big Cats feature in most of her images.

One of my favourites is a leopard cub at the fork of a moss and lichen-speckled tree. Innocence, cuteness and charm spring to mind. But you also notice the clarity of the image and the harmonious colours in shades of sage, olive, brown and spotted fur.

An affectionate image has a lioness and cub seated in the grass, the youngster staring up adorably at its mother. Along the lion theme is a majestic male facing aside in the dusky hues of sunrise or sunset, his golden body hidden in the shadows of grass.

“I showcase these magnificent creatures in their natural environment and hopefully encourage my viewers to go out in the wild.”

Muchekehu has shot weddings and street photography but wildlife remains her main interest. Consequently, this corporate career girl is one of the few female wildlife photographers in Kenya.

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Her work is mostly on digital platforms such as KendiArt and Instagram. In July she held her first solo exhibition in Nairobi called Out of the Shadows. It included photographs of tigers from a trip to India earlier this year.

Muchekehu’s interest goes back to childhood when she received a bird book from her parents.

“Since then I developed an interest in wildlife,” she says.

In 2010 she got her first digital SLR camera, took a photography master class at the arts collective PAWA254 in 2015, then signed up for a 6-day photography safari in the Masai Mara the following year where she was the only woman.

Birds are still her passion and recent photos show a handsome grey kestrel with yellow eyes against bright green grass.

Two ostriches in silhouette walk during a golden sunset in a wide landscape and low horizon. There is an expressionist feel to this scene, similar to the black-and-white of a leopard sitting elegantly in the grass surrounded by an abstract backdrop of vegetation.