Very little light remained in the sky on the evening this photograph appeared; the original Fujichrome transparency is drowned in shadows and garish blues. It’s nothing I’d print, and until I ran across it the other day I didn’t remember that moment at all—not surprising, since it was less than a second out of 120 rolls of film I shot during our 1999 visit to Kenya.
But after I scanned the slide and began playing with it, the mood and memories of that day in Samburu National Reserve returned (I had to look up the name of the river). This scene was close to the safari lodge where we stayed; the Uaso Nyiro was barely a creek-sized flow in many places, and opposite the lodge, no more than a hundred yards from our tourist comforts, a large (aren’t they all?) crocodile had spent most of the day…waiting. We were assured (warned) that it often hid beneath the river’s overhanging banks.
Crocodiles are easy. They try to kill and eat you. People are harder. Sometimes they pretend to be your friend first. —Steve Irwin