By Brendan Moyle 08/07/2020

One of the challenges of working on illegal wildlife markets, is you don’t really have scope to talk about your research into illegal wildlife markets. There is some stuff though that willbe coming out on Asiatic black bears in China, and before Covid19, I was delving more into rhinos. Which everyone knows are poached for their horns. But not as aphrodisiacs in TCM. I think I’ve been posting that last point for about 20 years so I am hopeful, that one day, people will learn that TCM is not in fact, about cures for impotence.

The two main African species are the white rhino and the black rhino. Both of these have most of their populations in south Africa and Namibia. And South Africa has been the front line on an intense war against poachers since about 2008. White rhinos are within many reserves reasonably common. So I have a few pictures of these.

The Black Rhino

Less common is the black rhino. Once abundant in Africa it disappeared from most range states through the 1970s to mid 1990s. So when I was able to see and photograph one, I took the chance.

Black Rhino
Black Rhino

This was taken late in the afternoon, with a travel rig camera setup. I was using a Sony a7R with the A-mount 70-300 SAM lens. It’s not really a wildlife lens and I don’t recommend it for that purpose. But it is light and compact and sometimes that’s you really need. The other thing about this photo, is it was all taken in manual mode. I even manually focused the lens, because I wanted the animal to be in a precise point in the composition. And that was also when the late afternoon sunlight was catching the folds on the side of its hide. It boosted the textures of the animal.

And that’s what is often so appealing about rhinos. They have a texture and shape to them I like. And I emphasised that with a black and white conversion. I did like the effect, and a lot of other people did too, because this became my best selling print in 2019. The photo links back to the original online gallery I have it