What to do when being chased by wild animals
Remember the photo of the two bears from last week? That was from photographer Dirk van der Merwe, whose work is on display at N.H. Audubon's McLane Center, 3 Silk Farm Road.
We wanted to find out more about the man behind the camera, so we sent him some deep questions to ponder.
Do you have a favorite place to visit? Ihaha on the Chobe River in Botswana, Ibo Island in Mozambique, the Kuiseb River in the Namib Desert. (It might be time to brush up on our world geography. Was that answer in English?)
How much camera equipment do you travel with? All my equipment fits into a medium size backpack. It includes two camera bodies, a 500mm, 100-400mm and 17-40mm lens, a tripod, flash and an assortment of batteries and chargers.
Have you ever been in danger while out in the wild? I have been treed by elephants and buffalo, had hyenas, jackals, buffalo, elephants and hippo in my campsite and have photographed a grizzly sow defending cubs against a big boar from pretty close but I have never been in any situation where I ever felt that I was in real danger.
What exactly does getting "treed" by elephants or buffalo entail? Treed means being encouraged to climb a tree for some other reason than admiring the view from up there. (Duly noted.)
How close can you get to the animals? Depends on which animal. I believe we can out run most field mice but that's about it. If you have enough experience you can take a guess at an acceptable approach distance but make sure you have a good backup plan. I have seen a guy trying to fit through a half open pickup truck window when a lioness stood up unexpectedly.
What do you do for fun when you're not taking pictures? Hike, scuba dive and play with my kids.
The exhibit, featuring landscape and wildlife photography from Southern Africa, New England and Alaska will be on view through Oct. 31. For information, call 224-9909.