#WhyILoveSaruni 2019/2020 Photo Competition Winner

In the end, it was a complete ‘no-brainer’! Way ahead of the 34 other short-listed entries in our 2019/2020 #WhyILoveSaruni photo/video competition, as the winner, is…drum roll please….

John Broderick & ‘The Encounter Sequence’

The thrill and suspense of nature and the wild is captured incredibly in this fantastic series of action shots. We were all left wondering…what happened next… did it, didn’t it??? Let’s hear from John himself….

“The sequence was captured on our last full day at Saruni Wild in late afternoon.  We were with William Tinka, the expert guide that Saruni lodges assigned to us for the four days we stayed at Saruni Wild.
I spotted the Martial eagle perched high on a tree and began taking images.  The eagle took off, flying high in the sky out of view.  William (Tinka) said, “John, get ready.  The eagle is looking for dinner and I think it will dive for a kill.”

I set my camera for high speed action wildlife photography.  I began shooting rapid fire images with my Canon Mark IV 5D. I captured the resulting “The Encounter Sequence” showing the attack on the one-day old Thomson Gazelle who had been hidden in the grass by its parents.  The sequence is unique in that shows what I would term “The Way of The Wild.”  The eagle attacks, the young gazelle is mortally injured, and the eagle is driven off by the adult gazelles, who risked their own lives trying to save their offspring.  One of my images documents one the adult gazelles running horns raised through the eagles’ feathers while the other adult approaches the eagle at great speed.  Gazelles can run at 40-50 miles per hour.  The eagle flies away without the baby gazelle. Tinka told us that the eagle will be back for the baby gazelle after we drive away.  Tinka drove over to where the attack occurred and picked up and showed us the infant who was still breathing but had a deep wound in its neck”.

“Reasons why I was able to take the sequence.

1. Location-location: Saruni Wild in the Mara with excellent talented guide Tinka from Saruni Wild.  Tinka’s (William’s) knowledge and sharp eyes and keen interest in helping his guests is the reason I got a chance to capture the “Encounter Sequence.”

2. I was lucky in that I had a bit of time to get set up for the shots.

3. I have lots of experience photographing birds in flight, and I had the right camera and lens to capture the sequence.”

About photographer John Broderick:

“I live with my wife, Carol, in San Francisco in the winter and in the mountains of north-eastern California in the summer. I am a retired surgeon and an avid lifelong amateur photographer. I have been a consistent winner in wildlife, landscape, and macro photography contests in the area where we live in the summer.  Carol and I have been all over the world learning about the countries, their people, their cultures, and the animals.  I have documented our adventures with thousands of images.

This was my first visit to Kenya and to a Saruni Lodge, staying at Saruni Samburu and Saruni Wild.  Prior African trips were to Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.  We love Africa because of the people we have met and become friends with and the wonderful animals. My passion is photographing birds in flight.”

Riccardo Orizio, founder & CEO Saruni lodges, writes:

“The sequence captured by John Broderick shows an event that is not rare as such in the natural world, but that is rarely documented: the fight not only between different species, but different families of wildlife. One is an aerial being, the Martial eagle with its immense wings span, its powerful claws and its deadly, dagger-kind of beak. The other one terrestrial, the fast-moving, agile, vigilant and naturally suspicious Thomson baby gazelle, protected by adults who might look innocent, but have at their disposal short but sharp horns. A tragic but fascinating battle of wills that our winner has described very well. Who wins? The cycle of life and death, that is on show every day in magical Masai Mara. Action at its best”.

Congratulations to John who wins a 3-nights’ all-inclusive stay for two people at Saruni Samburu, Saruni Mara, or Saruni Wild, internal flights included.
We can’t wait to welcome you back to Kenya and to Saruni. John!