Chris Fallows Newsletter – First Quarter 2022

Close but no Cigar…

The last few years have indeed offered me many incredible opportunities to spend time learning about our planet’s iconic species and finding ways in attempting to capture the essence of each.

Some expeditions have been fruitful, whilst others have been sparse. This is the nature of the game as my objective is to create a body of work that is as exceptional as my subjects themselves, and this takes time.

Some years, despite spending upwards of a hundred days in or on the ocean, and another hundred days in wilderness areas, I may not get a single truly exceptional photograph.

This is the embodiment of what I do, but it doesn’t mean we don’t see things or have incredible experiences, its only that I know I can do better artistically.

On a recent two-week expedition to one of our most favorite wild and remote locations, Botswana’s Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR), Monique and I camped in the wild, not seeing another person for 10 days. We were completely immersed in the wilderness, and we had to be totally self-sufficient by bringing in our own supplies of food, water and fuel. This meant rations of just 10 liters of water between us each day for drinking, cooking and cleaning, in 40C heat. This lends a small amount of understanding to what our subjects face on a daily basis, 365.

Despite the sometimes challenging conditions, being immersed is what we love the most. It is what allows us to truly connect with the wildlife by spending time observing and becoming one with the ebbs and flows of our immediate environment.

It is also the way I am able to gain the trust of my subjects. They see me day after day, and know they can choose to approach me if they want, on their terms. As a product of this, I am able to capture my most intimate and impactful imagery.

My office in the bush – “In Africa” rather than “Out of Africa”!

This expedition was planned around an image in my mind that I wished to create.

For me, The CKGR is the home of the most spectacular black-manned lions in all of Southern Africa.  As my canvas, I also wanted to make use of the habitat created by the generally rainy conditions at this time of year.

The surroundings were just about perfect with a number of areas of high grass, giving softness to the images that I feel is an important aspect of my style. However, the two other key ingredients were missing. Not a drop of rain and the scarcity of lion sightings based on the fact that the only functioning water hole for nearly 100km had been allowed to fall into disrepair.

So lions, alas, were not meant to be. Instead it was the smaller things that shone brightly, jackals in particular. Whilst not strictly foxes they certainly are wary, calculating and cunning and generally difficult to get close to in any area where they have not been habituated, the CKGR being a classic case in point.

This time however, due to our routine of patrolling the track past their den day after day for two weeks whilst looking for lions, the pups became very curious of me whenever we stopped. In fact, it got to the point that they would run down the gravel road to where I sometimes sat and would come right up to me.

This afforded me fantastic opportunities to capture moments of a young animal’s playful innocence and naivety in their very uncompromising world.

As the saying goes, “when you get given lemons, don’t complain, just make lemonade” and these young jackals were certainly special.

The Jackal misses nothing…

We seldom see leopard in the CKGR but had another fantastic encounter with a young female who was equally bold thus allowing me to capture scenes of her moving lithely through the grass, just a few feet away.


Perhaps the biggest surprise was of two separate wild dog sightings of approximately three and then fifteen dogs, they could possibly have been the same pack.

It was incredible to watch them run down the two spoor road, and in order to look over the high grass that bordered it, they would bounce up and down whilst going at a jogging speed. It was almost comical seeing these mickey mouse heads appearing and disappearing as they trotted down the road.

Mighty Mouse

So, this time around, despite fantastic encounters with these other species, I unfortunately didn’t take one image befitting inclusion into my Fine Art portfolio.

However, I’m happy with that and it’s the way it goes. In a weird kind of way, I almost like the fact that I don’t always walk away with the creation of an art piece because it gives added value, and pride, to those art works that have made the final grade.

I also never lose sight of the fact that my work is a product of my privilege, and quite often that privilege is just being there. This is perhaps the most important lesson.

In the footsteps and wake of Giants

Great White Sharks grab the headlines, and they stir in humans a broader range of heightened emotions than any other creature. It is for this reason that they enjoy celebrity status with weeks of television shows dedicated to them, and rightly so.

Any animal that has been around for 50 million years, swims at up to 30 miles an hour, leaps 15ft into the air and has the potential to bite a human in half and swallow them in two turns if it so chose, well that’s a pretty formidable creature.

But whales, just like elephants, touch our souls.

They are the symbol of the sea and the vision of a whale’s tail being hoisted above the ocean, gallons of water cascading off it, and then slipping quietly below the surface is the ultimate rendering of tranquility.

There are many good photographs of whales, a few great photographs even. But a truly exceptional image that transcends an animal photograph, and becomes one of art, is rare. So rare in fact that it stands the test of time.

In 1987 Bob Talbot captured a photograph titled, Megaptera, which I believe has been the benchmark by which all images of this iconic symbol of the ocean should be judged. It was truly outstanding, it had mood, symmetry and above all fantastic elevation.

Perhaps that’s why Bob sold hundreds of thousands of posters of this iconic work.

Bob Talbots Iconic “Megaptera” 1987

The impact of the image is created by Bob’s low angle shooting up at, rather than down on his subject from an intimate proximity. Add to this, shooting into the light and the moody attributes of sky and ocean with a background that does not distract, creates the winning formula. It is a work of someone who understood the attributes needed to take a work from good to great, and is the culmination of years in the field learning what these characteristics were, and waiting patiently for all of them to combine.

Megaptera is a work hard to fault.

For 35 years it has stood the test of time. Certainly for the past decade I have tried to find a way to create a work approaching the standard set by Bob.

I can tell you it is extremely difficult. It’s not about technology as today’s gear is far more advanced. It is all about technique, both conceptually as an artist and with the understanding of your subject as a naturalist.

After thousands of encounters with Humpback whales in South Africa, Madagascar, Antarctica, Alaska, South America, New Zealand – in fact pretty much everywhere they are numerous, I finally discovered a technique that allowed me to get close to these animals whereby they were comfortable to approach me and interact with me on their terms.

Ultimately, this meant I had finally found a way to create a work that in some way wasn’t embarrassed by Talbot’s, but also one that had its own identity and strengths.  

Leviathan, is for me probably as close as I can get to the perfect symbol of the ocean.

It is captured at extremely close proximity to the humpback whale with a moody sky and sea. And, it is perfectly symmetrical with the nodules on the spine adding a sense of architectural strength and character.

The aspect that I truly love, is that the whale is swimming directly towards me rather than away from me, demonstrating a trust on the animal’s part to engage. 

Leviathan 2020

Whilst the symmetry, elevation, mood and proximity are all important, what I realized in my pursuit of the ultimate artistic tale of the whale was by investing my soul, and not just my energy into capturing an image, the results were far more creative and evocative.

Often with eyes closed, Monique and I would just listen to them, dozens and dozens of whales exhaling all around us. Like the gentle, deeply resonant calls of elephants, the sounds would flow through us, and the mist of their exhalations that fell over us felt like rain touching my souls barren soil. During these experiences I was so grateful for having the gift of functioning eyes, ears, a nose and skin for the presence of these giants in close proximity was a revelry for the senses.

The resulting collection of works is a product of watching, learning, trusting and being trusted.

A Tail of Two Halves 2020
After the Fall, The Rise
A Wave of Hope

Representation, Exhibition and Public Speaking


Our art works continue to find new homes and it is humbling to see them worldwide in prestigious homes and offices, as well as being appreciated by lovers of our natural world.

A number of our best known works have now moved into the next pricing tier in their respective editions of twelve, and continue to sell well as they approach the end of their availability.

These include The Pearl, Air Jaws and The Fig and Elephant.

Works are currently being exhibited at London’s The Arx Gallery,  and Box Gallery.

A full collection of work is also on display at the banking offices of Weatherbys Private Bank in Wellingborough, London. We are proud to have Weatherbys furnish their new offices with our fine art works as a symbol of their commitment towards highlighting our Planet’s iconic biodiversity and working towards sustainability.

Whilst our main objective of selling our art works is to raise funds for our own goals of rehabilitating and rewilding suitable land in Africa, it is equally important that we spread the message of why we need to do so and support others who are trying to achieve similar objectives elsewhere.

In this respect I am lucky to have a body of work and experiences that helps me to visually tell the story of our planet’s icons, why we need to change our ways by adapting to live sustainably, and most importantly, protect our biodiversity.

In the past few weeks I had the pleasure of being invited to address a collection of high profile persons at Dubai’s Capital Club, as well as presentations at The American School of Dubai.

It was energizing to see how many people, young and old, were moved by the imagery and narrative.

Whilst it is always humbling when people compliment and purchase my work, I always get a lump in my throat when I see how young kids react when I share my experiences with animals. I truly hope we can make sure that in their future, they will have the same privileges I have had to see and enjoy our natural world.

We would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Michael Markland from Kashaf Global, who so generously set up our visit to Dubai that afforded us a platform on which to engage with some of the UAE’S most influential business people and institutions.

We are aware that many people who do not work with nature do also have conservation objectives, and it has been a great experience putting into practice the idea of combining different strengths to ultimately make a difference. Michael, a huge thank you again, and we look forward to working together on very meaningful projects in the future.

For those of you located in Cape Town, over the next couple weeks I have several talks scheduled, and we look forward to seeing some of you there.  

In Person – Café Roux, Cape Town 19th April – All proceeds to Zambezi Elephant Fund

Tickets can be purchased here .

In Person – Simonstown Shark Museum, 23 April 16h00 Cape Town- All proceed to TEARS animal shelter.

In the upcoming months we will be spending our time with Great White Sharks, Elephants and Albatross, with the prospect of a mega pod or two of dolphins on the horizon thrown in.

And in the next quarter, we look forward to updating you on our experiences as well as other exciting opportunities.

Best regards,

Chris & Monique

Copyrighted by Chris Fallows @2020