Kevin Dennes and his amazing photos from Africa and Alaska

Kevin Dennes, a resident of Beauty Point Retirement Resort since late last year, recently presented some of the amazing photos he took when he led a group of photographers on a tour of Africa in 2014. A couple of months later, Kevin showed some of his best photos from a tour of the Antarctic in 2011.

So for anyone who missed these wonderful presentations, here’s a selection of some of Kevin’s best photos from these presentations.

Kevin has been a professional photographer since he was 18 and for most of his life, he worked in the medical and scientific field, developing some photographic techniques that are still used to this day. But on the more personal side, he says: “My own particular interest was travelling to and taking photos in Africa, in the Antarctic, the Arctic – and the bears in Alaska.”

“I’ve done a tremendous amount of travel – most of it paid by someone else,” Kevin adds. “I’ve traveled and photographed on the seven continents and it’s been a wonderful experience for me.”

At one time, Kevin worked for National Geographic but most of the photography he did for them was used for research material. During the time he worked with National Geographic, he says the company did a lot of photography purely for research purposes and these photos weren’t for use in the magazine etc.

Assignment in Namibia

“In 1978 I had my first assignment doing lion research photography in Namibia at the Etosha Lion Research Institute which was a wholly-owned National Geographic project,” says Kevin. “It was in the Etosha Pan – right up near the Angolan border. The zebra and wildebeest and a great range of antelopes would migrate over the Angola border in their annual migration in search of greener pastures and they’d get shot for meat and trophies, which raised a huge amount of money for those organising the trophy hunts.

“In order to slow some of this migration down, they put spear points down to reach the water table  and this way the windmills would keep water permanently in the water holes. It saved a large amount of the lions, leopards and other cats by having permanent prey down at the Etosha Pan. They won’t migrate if there is plenty of food for them,” he said.

In July and August of 2014, Kevin took four groups of photographers to Africa on a various tours. “Africa is an extremely large continent and most of the photography I’ve done there has been in Eastern and Southern Africa,” he adds.

“Here is an olive bee-eater which flies very quickly and this was a very difficult shot to get,” says Kevin. “It takes an absolute fraction of a second to get this just right – to get the wings in exactly the right position” he adds. This photo was taken in Kenya.
This is a photo of a tawny eagle with a spitting cobra that he’s just caught. “Photographers worldwide would give a lot to have been there in order to get this shot,” says Kevin. “You’ve got to be very lucky to get a shot like this. I would trade a lot of other shots I’ve taken to get this one of the eagle – to get the wings in just the right position and the snake is obviously still alive. You might go back 1000 times to the same spot and not get a chance to get a shot like this again,” he adds.

 

Here we see two Walruses as they gaze at the camera. Kevin says they are part of a group of Walruses and they gather in herds to protect themselves from the polar bears. “Most walruses weigh over a tonne,” adds Kevin.
This is a stunning photo of a polar bear looking right at the camera. Kevin says if he was on the ice, seeing a polar bear up this close would be extremely dangerous – “You would die!” Luckily, he took this photo from the ship and he would have been around five metres from the bear. Kevin says he likes this photo because the bear is “looking straight at me.”

 

 

 

 

 

Here we have a six-metre long Nile crocodile attacking a wildebeest as the herd tries to cross the Mara River in Kenya. According to Kevin, the crocodiles know the wildebeest and zebras will need to cross the river at certain times of the year so they wait for them. The wildebeest have to cross the river in order to get to areas where it’s rained and there’s more feed. The wildebeest and zebras do this migratory trek at certain times of the year. As you can imagine, this was a difficult shot to get and Kevin adds: “I had to wait about six hours to get this shot. I know how the system works. If you see a herd of wildebeest you know they will cross at some time that day – particularly if the zebras come and join near them.”

 

Here we see a grizzly bear eating wild salmon at Brooks Fall at Katmai National Park in south-west Alaska. Kevin says he had to fly for four hours by light plane, land on a lake and then hike to this spot to take this photograph. “This has to be one of the most photographed places ever of grizzlies catching salmon,” Keven says. “Remember the John West ad where the guy goes out and catches one of the salmon jumping upstream? Well that was all filmed here,” he adds. “Millions of fish jump as they struggle their way back to where they were born three years previously. The bears each have their own spot where they catch fish from and they’ll fight to the death to protect their spot. So it was a very difficult shot to get. I took about 2000 shots before I got two or three shots of this sort of quality. You’ve just got to keep shooting!”
Here we see a magnificent large male leopard lounging in a tree in Tanzania. Kevin took this photo while on the photographic tour of Africa in 2014.