Vineet Thomas

Camera: Nikon Z6

Lens: Tamron 70-300mm

Aperture: f/9.0

Shutter speed: 1/640

ISO: 100

Description: What was the first beast I saw in the Masai Mara? Probably a Landcruiser. We came across a line of Landcruiser safari 4x4s waiting patiently to get a sighting of a leopard.

Story from behind the lens: What was the first beast I saw in the Masai Mara? When we first arrived in the Masai Mara I noticed the sheer number and variations of Landcruiser safari 4x4s. They could been the 6th addition to the Big 5. It remains part of the landscape in my memory. This particular photo was taken when we noticed a line of 4x4s. twenty plus, lining up for a rare leopard sighting.

It raised the thought about conservation and tourism. How they both can positively or negatively impact the area. The rangers kept the cars quiet and orderly so the animals could rest peacefully. Their job vital in ensuring the reserves are preserved. As a tourist, I felt guilty as I was part of the problem. However, after I had a wonderful conversation with a passionate local conservationist, I felt my trip may not be all destructive. He said 'tourists, locals and the wildlife must co-exist together as we all need each other.' In all honestly, you can't leave without a new appreciation of the landscapes and wildlife.