Ben Osborne (United Kingdom)
‘I staked out this waterhole in Botswana’s Chobe National Park for three weeks, taking pictures from my vehicle of thirsty elephants and other animals coming to drink. Sometimes the waterhole overflowed, and this huge bull was the first to indulge in a head-to-toe spa. I focused on the centre of the action, an explosion of texture and colour.’
Africa’s elephants are both admired and persecuted. In the 1980s, numbers were halved because of the ivory trade, banned in 1989. However, some southern African countries claimed selling ivory helped fund conservation programmes and in 1997 were allowed some exports to Japan. That was overturned in 2000 by the Convention in Trade of Endangered Species, until a reliable way to monitor illegal killing is established.
Canon EOS 1D Mark II N + 70-200mm f2.8 lens (set at 135mm); 1/50 sec at f5; ISO 400; beanbag.