In a nice essay for the Christian Science Monitor, Daniela Petrova talks about her quest to see the Big Five game animals while on safari in Kenya. In the end, though, she passes up a chance to see a leopard in order to savor a sunset when she realizes that the pictures she sees with her eyes can often be more memorable than the ones she takes with her camera.
Toward the end of the day, we see a large herd of elephants. I reach for my camera – but then I stop myself. I decide to watch them instead as they move in a slow procession through the brush, their ears flapping back and forth, their heavy feet crunching on the dry grass.
Over the past two days, I have filled two memory sticks with images, but I haven’t really seen much outside the lens of my camera, I realize.
As the sun dips lower toward the horizon, we stop by a large acacia tree in Ngama Hills to take in the view. Below us, the vast Mara is dotted with herds of zebras and gazelles. A soft, warm wind rustles tree branches. A bunch of wildebeests are grazing 30 feet away from us. …
I’ve seen four of the Big Five, and I have scores of photos to prove it. But my favorite picture – the one I will take home not in my camera but in my mind – is of the ungainly wildebeests in front of me, their long beards glowing golden in the sunset.