Top nature photographer James Hager captured these wonderful images of baby elephants in South Africa’s Addo Elephant National Park, which was originally founded to conserve the elephant population of the area. “I try to capture the essence of the animal,” James says about his wildlife photography.

Baby African elephant with mother image
African Elephant (Loxodonta africana) baby and mother, Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa

James considers the way to get great shots is a mix of practice and good fortune.  “Sometimes it’s just luck – I was in the right place at the right time and I was ready to take the shot. Of course, the more you practice the luckier you become.”

Close up of baby African elephant running
African Elephant (Loxodonta africana), baby running with its ears out, Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa, Africa

James uses a Canon DSLR system with prime and zoom lenses that range from 17mm to 500mm. For subjects like these elephants, he more commonly uses his telephoto lenses, so as to be able to shoot from a distance.  “The 500mm telephoto is my main wildlife lens because it not only gives me a good reach to photograph skittish subjects, but the narrow field of view helps me control the background,” he explains.

“If you want to make a living as a nature photographer, it must be your passion,” he adds. “It must be something you are driven to do.”

Wild African elephants with baby in National Park
African elephant (Loxodonta africana) group with baby, Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa, Africa
Muddy baby African elephant image
Baby African Elephant (Loxodonta africana) standing by its mother’s leg, Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa, Africa

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