When I was photographing meerkats in Botswana, I wanted to create a shot that I had never seen before of these little critters - a silhouetted meerkat against a great ball of fire, the setting sun. When I started the project I had no idea it was going to be such a challenge.
To get the shot, the conditions needed to be just right - a clear day with a lot of wind so that there was a lot of dust in the air. Without dust the sun would never turn yellow and red and would just be a white circle in the frame. But more importantly, I needed to get a single meerkat between me and the setting sun.
During the day meerkats are very mobile, searching for food. Around sunset, they start heading back towards their burrows because they need to be inside before it gets dark - too dangerous to stay out. And when they head back home, they mean business - most of the time they were running, only to stop every now and then to check the surroundings for danger. That meant that I had to run in the same direction as well, at a distance.
The biggest problem was to predict where a meerkat, any meerkat, would stop to check for danger. I had to pick a spot, lie down and hope for the best. Obviously, this was a nightmare - try running around with a 600mm and get up and down smoothly. The first few days I was unsuccessful, but on the third day I picked the right spot when the conditions were just perfect.
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Hope to see you there!
©2013 Marsel van Oosten, All Rights Reserved. This image is not available for use on websites, blogs or other media without the explicit written permission of the photographer.