One daring photographer’s face-off with a charging elephant has resulted in a breathtaking series of images.
Despite the elephant bearing down on him at full speed, Ben Cranke remained poised and composed in his camp chair.
Cranke, a 48-year-old Essex native, was sitting by the Savuti Game Reserve in Botswana’s Chobe National Park when a colossal elephant weighing five tons rushed out from the savannah.
Despite the tense situation, Cranke and the elephant stopped at a mere 30-foot distance from each other.
Knowing from previous encounters that the first charge is often a false attack, Cranke held his ground as the elephant, standing at a towering 12 feet, made his move.
After three attempted charges, the elephant determined Cranke was not a threat and retreated in tranquility.
Recalling the incident, Cranke said, “I was in the deep shade of a Camelthorn tree by the Savuti channel, escaping the blazing heat.
The elephant emerged from the surrounding savannah to drink from the water’s edge opposite me. Unaware of my presence initially, the shifting breeze gave me away. I sat undisturbed, savoring the thrill of being so close to such a majestic creature.”
“When the elephant perceived me, it attempted to intimidate me by charging into the channel,” he continued.
“Anticipating this, I’d adjusted my camera settings to capture the scene. With previous encounters with elephants, I guessed his charge would be false.
Hence, I only lifted my camera to take continuous shots when it charged. However, I admit there were moments I second-guessed myself.”
His prediction proved accurate when the elephant stopped just meters away from him. Cranke said, “After the initial charge, the elephant backed off briefly before charging again, swinging his trunk and spraying water towards me. I remained seated, switched my camera to portrait mode, and took another series of photos.”
“After his third charge, which brought him within 30 feet of me, the elephant must have figured out I posed no threat,” he added. “He then retreated to the edge of the channel, watching me while cooling off and drinking.
Eventually, he retreated into the bush, and I returned to camp for a cold beer, feeling utterly privileged to have had this encounter.”
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