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18th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest Natural World
HIPPO FIGHT SPLASH

During my photo trip to the Masai Mara in October 2018, I stayed at a camp on the banks of the Talek River. I departed at 5:30am from the camp on my last morning there, in order to go to the nearby hippo pool and try and make creative images as the hippos went about their business. The period before sunrise was especially interesting as the circumstances permitted moody visual interpretations such as this one. I wanted to play with longer shutter speeds to try and get a fairy like splash effect in case of major activities in the water and my efforts and patience was rewarded when these two bulky males had a go at each other. They, like leviathans from the deep, rose above the water level and swung at each other with their huge mouths wide open, massive ivory tusks flashing dangerously. When the male on the right of the picture swung at the male on the left side, and missed, its head then struck the water creating this volcano like eruption. Hippos are territorial, and males battle each other to ensure dominance and control over real estate and the pods along with the females that come with it.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 10.2018
Date Uploaded: 11.2020
Photo Location: Kenya
Copyright: © Amartya Mukherjee