Chris Fallows Photography- Final Quarter 2023

Let’s get stuck right in! 2023 has been a year of diversity in terms of different realms and subject matter.

There are few fine art wildlife photographers who photograph both in the ocean and in terrestrial environments.

There is probably good reason for this as it is a constant challenge to quickly switch from one realm to the other, by virtue of using different techniques for topside one week, and then needing to change completely for shooting underwater the next.

In my cage, walking on the seafloor – short lenses, wide angles.

Low down, and in the grass – longer lenses & shallower depths of field.

As our objective is to truly immerse ourselves in the wild, and spend time getting to understand our subject matter, whenever possible we choose to drive our own vehicle and camp self-sufficiently, and likewise at sea, we captain our own boat, often far offshore. 

Both these choices mean detailed and careful planning is required, as heading into properly wild environments, be they on land or sea, demands this.

I find the flip flop from the ocean to the earth mentally and physically easier to deal with than the reciprocal, as I think the ocean brings with it an entirely different suite of challenges.

The most notable of these is that of weather impacting each and every aspect of what is required to take a truly outstanding image.  The ocean is a far less accommodating environment than the land, especially down in the latitudes we mostly find ourselves working.

2023 was thus a year that was quite complicated with the variety and complexity of expeditions we undertook. Here I share some of our highlights.

The Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Botswana

Our target in this wilderness was to be black-manned lions, the most magnificent representation of the species still remaining in Africa.

Over the past four trips, spanning nearly two months in total, Monique and I did not find a single truly beautiful black-manned lion in an area that allowed us to create a minimalistic, yet complex work that was dependent on many unique ingredients coming together.

This time however, was very different.

When only 10km down the road, in a particularly suitable area for my style of work, we spotted a dark shape in the distance. I raised my binoculars and unbelievably saw our quarry. It was a beautiful black-manned lion walking towards us; and towards one of our preferred photographic areas.

When only 10km down the road, in a particularly suitable area for my style of work, we spotted a dark shape in the distance. I raised my binoculars and unbelievably saw our quarry. It was a beautiful black-manned lion walking towards us; and towards one of our preferred photographic areas.

Read the full blog here

New release – Destiny

Namiri Plains, The Serengeti, Tanzania

Our next trip was of a completely different nature and we were off to Asilia Africa’s, Namiri Plains  in The Serengeti, Tanzania. This is probably my favorite location in Africa for almost guaranteed cheetah and lion action.

Unlike camping and being self-sufficient like we are in most places, at Namiri Plains we stay in luxurious tents and have an expert of the area as our guide.

We had chosen to visit in March as our previous visits had been in drier months. We were curious as to how the dynamic of this area changes when the rains came.

We were not disappointed as our trip coincided perfectly with the arriving and massing of the Great Migration. On one morning alone there were nine predatory kills we could have viewed; we saw multiple cheetah sightings each day; and our primary goal of photographing cats on kopjes was met and exceeded with multiple opportunities.

Once again, one of the greatest privileges was being just one of very few vehicles in the area, and on some days we were vehicle alone.

I managed to capture a powerful image of a beautiful male lion standing ‘Lion King-like’ on an oval chunk of granite, whilst in the distance a storm cell unloaded its promise over the Serengeti plains that were teeming with the first great herds of the migration. Truly a scene that sums up the majesty of Africa.

New release – Bless the Rains down in Africa

Additional BlogThe Serengeti Cat walk

Fuvahmulah, The Maldives

In April we headed to the tiny island in the far south of the Maldives called Fuvahmulah.

Our quest here was to be Tiger Sharks. Having dived with tiger sharks in The Bahamas in crystal clear shallow waters, it was going to take a lot to beat that experience, but I have to say, Fuvahmulah did so with aplomb.

Read the full blog here

West Africa

In May, from east of the African equator, we headed West where I was invited to be a guest speaker on Seabourn Cruises for a trip up the West Coast of Africa.  My particular interest here was to learn about the region, what marine species occurred here, and what the threats facing this area were.

I also felt it was important to visit the animal fetish markets and learn about Vodun, a religion heavily practiced in Ghana, Togo and Benin, all countries we were going to visit. As much as I knew I would be disturbed by what I saw, I needed to understand what drives these markets and what their scale was like.

Read the full blog here

South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

In early September we headed off on our next major expedition as we drove the 4,500 km to the Nsefu Sector of South Luangwa National Park in Zambia.  

This was a long drive, made that much more challenging by ever worsening roads and difficult border crossings the further you go.

Kazangula border between Botswana and Zambia was the first challenge. Although this would be our 12th trip driving 10 000km or more in Southern Africa, I never get used to these Zambia border crossings.

Fatigued and fuming we pushed on, through Lusaka and then towards Luangwa on the Great East road that included a 200km section that should have been called the great-potholed-road! Added to this, a dizzying mix of hundreds of heavily laden trucks, mountainous passes, blind corners and steep run offs were enough to drive you to drink if you weren’t there already!

Finally we arrived at our destination, 4,448 km from home. Here, we to experience some truly fascinating elephant behavior, coupled with sensory experiences reminding us why we love the bush so much.

Read the full blog here

Southern Tanzania

Taking an exceptional fine art wildlife image is the end product to my work, but most often there is a journey involved to get to this point. I feel that if I do not take this journey and simply rock up as a tourist photographer, my resultant work is without a soul.

On our most recent expedition Southern Tanzania, the penny really dropped as to what a truly wild place is all about.

Visiting both Kilombero in Nyerere National Park, and the Usangu Wetlands in Ruaha National Park, has given us a chance to experience two of our planet’s great wilderness areas in its rebirth. They have been kicked, punched and set on fire, but for now, they are healing and waking up through the care of dedicated foot soldiers restoring these Eden’s to their former glory.

Monique and I walk away from this experience inspired that such truly wild places still do exist, determined to tell their story, and motivated to support the efforts of those brave enough to be involved.

Here, we met true heroes, those that fight for the protection of the wild and its biodiversity, and by virtue of that, they fight for our future as humanity too.

Ruaha Natiobnal Park – Jabali Ridge and Usangu Wetlands

Nyerere National Park – Kilombero Consession

Forest Canopies to Gallery Canapés

2023 saw successful exhibitions in Dubai and London.

Dubai – I was honoured to launch my Art with Purpose collection of wildlife Fine Art photographic works for the first time in the UAE with Dubai art icon, Neel Shukla at his ‘Four’ Gallery

London – Saatchi Gallery

Last One Standing featured as a unique Art experience that combined narrative and Fine Art Photography into a digital experience, conveying a vital message about our natural World.

I wish to say a huge thank you to Lekker Gallery CEO Damon Crowhurst as well as to Joy Lopez for so passionately representing our work and narrative.

In closing …

In a world that is ever increasingly digital, automated and often built on mistruths and manipulation, I believe it is more important than ever to showcase that which is authentic and raw.

I wish to showcase the icons of the natural world that function on simple laws of survival, and that are underpinned by ecological balance that we as humans seem to have become the detached anomaly.

In this endeavor, Monique and I will continue to crest the next horizon and spend time showcasing and elucidating on the truly wild places, and real living icons of our planet.

This quest would not be possible without first understanding the challenges of what it takes to protect these wild places, and be inspired by those who make our mission possible.

The anti-poaching rangers, the veterinarians and researchers, the pioneers who come in and raised the phoenix, the funders and donors, these are the people who breath air into the lungs of our planet.

The works captured for my limited edition collection from these wildest of places are a celebration of the efforts of someone who has walked the hard yards before me.

To all of you, I say thank you. You are the soul to the skeleton that is my imagery.

best regards

Chris & Monique

Copyrighted by Chris Fallows @2020