100 Days of Sentience – January 2024

Day 1/100

A Breath of Fresh Air

Just as the great equatorial forests are the lungs of Planet Earth, sequestering carbon and producing oxygen, so too are the microscopic creatures called phytoplankton, the marine equivalent. They however, repeat this process on an even greater scale just under the ocean’s surface.

The whale’s poop is a major contributing fertilizer that ignites the whole process by nourishing the growth of these phytoplankton. 

Phytoplankton then photosynthesize these nutrients to convert carbon dioxide to oxygen, and are responsible for up to half of the oxygen we breathe.

It is thus both amazing and fitting that this whale’s exhalation resembles a golden tree, the fragile tree of life that we are so reliant on.

Day 2/100

Diamonds in the Rough

A breath swept away, a sound unheard, a torrent of water all but forgotten …

In the wild seas they carry on, oblivious. For in the crosshatched waters there is a beauty, an ocean of sparkling diamonds within which it’s miners seek their measured sustenance come rain, wind or shine.  

Day 3/100

Wave Dancer

Upon a shimmering stage they leap, they dance, they cavort. They care not if you watch, nor do they do they object if you do.

They dance, they leap, they cavort …

Day 4/100

One for All, and All for One

A moment in time not to be forgotten as nearly sixty elephants snake across the ravaged landscape as they have done for centuries before.

Following in harmony, one behind the next, they know that unity means strength, security and shared wisdom.

Day 5/100

Tenacity on Texture

With crossed sword, wrinkled skin and arched back, this magnificent female leads her herd across the cracked and aching earth. Both mother and soil parched in their hunger for a drink.

Day 6/100

The Apple Ring doesn’t fall far from the Tree

Like the pied piper, Mana Pools National Park’s most famous elephant, known as Boswell, leads the minions that follow him.

The hordes of other elephants know that Boswell’s size and ability to stand on his hind legs will allow him to reach up and pull down branches and apple ring acacia pods that they can’t. When the fruits of his labours come crashing to the ground, all around him will attempt to share in the spoils.

Day 7/100


The largest living creature to ever grace our planet. They are immense, they are powerful … they are whales.

Every time I look at this image, I feel their enormity more so than any other image I have ever taken.

It is of a giant that would vanish a few seconds later by it’s own choice, and one that my kind nearly vanquished forever.

I marvel at the serenity of the former, and cringe at the ignorance of the latter.

Day 8/100

Waves of Change

With feathering crest, a curling wave rolls timelessly from pole to tropics, atop a sea of flesh that embodies hope.

Day 9/100

Fragments and Figments

Akin to waking up with fragments of half-forgotten dreams that defy recollection, a fluke materialises, then disappears behind a liquid curtain of illusion, forcing you to question its existence at all. 

Day 10/100

Making a Trunk Call

As I reach up, I feed upon your flourish.

I depend upon you, but in turn, you depend upon me.

For look around, it is from the tiny seeds that I have nourished and carried for you, that your kind may grow.

Perhaps it is for that reason, in both form and function, that we resemble each other.

Day 11/100

Of Life in Limb

Why is it, that when I look at this photograph I feel such peace?

Is it due to the feeling of being an observer, looking into a world we see as harmonious?

Is it because we see balance, both literal and figurative?

Or is it because of the serenity those of us who have walked in the forest with these creatures associate with such a scene?

Day 12/100

Sisters of the Scimitar

With huge tusks crisscrossing, one to the left, the other to the right, these two magnificent sisters walk the same path as they have probably done for decades before.

Such scenes in modern times are special and rare, harking back to ancient days where genes and lineages weren’t disturbed by progress, trade and their associated incumbent tragedies.

Day 13/100


Each time I need to feed, I go into a world where I cannot breathe; and every time I need to breathe, I cannot feed.

Day 14/100

Forget Me Not …

My voice carries through the oceans, my breathe through the air, but it is your time with my gentle presence that will live deep inside your soul.

Day 15/100


Each breathe, an escape of the souls of fallen kin, dredged from a thousand leagues below. United, if but only for an instant, they wisp-fully dance upon the ruffled stage before the pullback down to the depths beneath.

Day 16/100


Like arteries running across the landscape, paths crisscross the African Savannah. Each a connection to a food source or watering point, a network of survival.

For a mother and leader, knowing this network is vital. With each season the paths change, but her instincts never waiver

Day 17/100

Balanced Approach

A spectacular matriarch approaches to where I photograph her from. With huge symmetrical tusks, her size is amplified many fold as she walks to within a few feet of me.

Her approach is neither aggressive nor benign. It is measured, speaking of both tolerance and protection.

Day 18/100


I am always amazed at the poise of an elephant that is in a state of contemplation.

So often they will stand dead still, strike a pose, and keep their huge frames perfectly balanced. This wonderful female and I spent five minutes discussing life. Her – flicking her tail, me – tripping my shutter … sans a word exchanged. 

Day 19/100

Making their mark

Each of us leave a mark on the World. Some big, some small, some hardly noticeable at all. Perhaps those that strive to leave no mark, leave the biggest mark of all …

Day 20/100

The Great Wing

A huge fluke raised aloft of the ashen sea stands sentinel as the metaphor of the Ocean.

Perhaps this image, more so than any other I have captured, encapsulates the enormity of this greatest of all living souls.

The Great Wing – Limited Edition Print

Day 21/100

Shackled to the Sea

I cannot break its grasp, when up above it, I feel its embrace on my skin by touch, and mirrored by countenance on my tail. Down below, it swallows me whole into its watery embrace. We are one, I and the ocean, partners in life through tempest and tranquility. 

Day 22/100

Life on another Planet?

I find this image triggers so many emotions.

This is on our Planet, our wonderful Planet where such sights still do exist.  

I well remember the elation of taking this rare photograph, but what I recall even more is the moment thereafter. 

I put down my camera and watched, listened and absorbed as dozens and dozens of sentient beings silently crossed the moon-like landscape, a spring moment imprinted on the seasons of my soul.

An African Dream – Limited Edition Print

Day 23/100

Gentle One

You just look at me where I lie, so desperate to capture your image. You do not say anything, yet you say so much. Perhaps I should not take your photograph, but rather your manner?  

Day 24/100


Today the Great Tuskers of Africa number less than fifty, and occasionally, one or more of these rarest of giants can be found banding together.

They stand as a brotherhood, a testament to what once was, and what can still be.

I took this image unprotected, not more than a few feet away from these elephants. I was not brave, nor was I scared, for this gentlest of souls paid me no interest at all.

I ask, is it the mark of a man’s strength or weakness to fell such a soul? And is it his right to steal such a trophy of the heart from all?

Brotherhood- Limited Edition Print

Day 25/100

A Tale of Two Halves

For the first two decades that I spent at sea off the coast of South Africa, we hardly ever saw a humpback whale.

However, the last two decades have seen a steady increase in their population to the point where we can at times witness over a hundred in a single feeding group.

These great creatures are arguably the ocean’s finest example of what can be achieved when a few brave individuals stand tall, and put compassion and morals ahead of exploitation.

A Tale of Two Halves – Limited Edition Print

Day 26/100

Two Scoops

Like sugar spilling off a slice of black forest cake, a whale hoists it’s fluke aloft, water cascading torrent-like down its wedge shaped foil.

The sight is one that mesmerizes. Like flames in the wind, or waves against the rocks, the giant spatula of the sea never ceases to transfix.

Day 27/100

The Magic Umbrella

Dry on top, yet wet underneath. What sort of a strange umbrella is this?

Day 28/100

Icon to Many

I grew up going to South Africa’s Kruger National Park, and even from a young boy, I dreamed of seeing a tusker, those incredible few elephants who have ivory weighing more than a hundred pounds apiece.

The Magnificent Seven, as they were called, were spoken in hallowed and wondrous manner by all who gazed upon them. Shawu, Mafunyane, Shingwedzi and the like, living icons of our country.

It wasn’t until 2002 that Monique and I had our first encounter with a great tusker, Mabarule, the gentle soul with a huge right tusk.

We sat with him for six hours, transfixed, but also honesty, I was unable to drive away. Just being next to a creature so spectacular was magnetic.

I can still see Mabarule lifting his twin sabres of ivory and placing his head to rest against a tree, and by so doing, taking this huge load off his shoulders and frame. He stayed like that for maybe an hour, asleep and resting. I will never forget this moment with this wonderful soul.

Decades later I have spent time with many more. Tim, Tolstoy and most recently, with Craig. Each time akin to standing with a wizened soul like Gandhi, Mandela or King Charles, those rare individuals who stand tall amongst the masses.

Day 29/100

Tomorrow’s Promise

Able, an emerging tusker and curios soul, stands motionless watching and trusting me.

For half an hour we looked at each other. Then finally, he walked up to where I lay alone, reached out with his trunk, and gently touched my lens with a slobbery embrace.

I still feel that moment, that most gentle of touches from this future king of Kilimanjaro and bearer of double-edged genes.

Day 30/100


There are few male elephants with huge tusks, but even fewer females.

This spectacular female is a queen I have had the pleasure of seeing several times. She is the Matriarch of her herd, and with each visit she has approached to where I have photographed her from.

When about 10 feet or so away, she reaches out to smell me with her trunk, neither friend nor foe. Just a leader setting her boundaries that I understand and respect.

Matriarch – Limited Edition Print

Day 31/100


Each a finger print, each a code, each unique and each often showed.

Every underside of a humpback whale is unique and can be used to identify an individual. The beauty of this is being able to learn about their movements from photographs without having to touch, catch or tag the animal.

HappyWhale is an automated whale recognition platform conceptualised by Ted Cheeseman. The platform enables citizens and researchers alike to contribute towards understanding whale movements globally.

Whilst my Fine Art photography is about creating high quality art works to support Monique’s and my conservation goals, it is also as much about sharing a narrative and contributing to the conservation efforts of others.

As such, each time I take a photograph of a whale fluke I now send it to Alex Vogel and the team at Happy Whale in order to contribute towards their educational and research efforts.

In the next few posts to follow, I will share with you a small collection of my works of fabulous flukes, of which we will find out who they belong to, and where these purveyors of plankton have been.

Copyrighted by Chris Fallows @2020