“This Photo Was Captured Over 26 Hours at an African Watering Hole.”


Photographer Stephen Wilkes created this incredible composite image, showcasing the various animals that frequented a watering hole in the Serengeti over a span of 26 hours. The photo transitions through time as you move across the frame, commencing with sunrise on the right.

This image is part of Stephen Wilkes’ Day to Night project, which showcases composite photographs of various locations. These images are captured over an extended period using a 4×5 digital camera and then blended into single frames. Wilkes’ project was previously featured in 2011 and 2012.

According to National Geographic, for this specific photograph, Stephen Wilkes spent 30 hours situated in a crocodile blind, which was positioned 18 feet above the ground in Seronera National Park within the Serengeti, Tanzania.

During those 26 hours, as Wilkes captured photographs, the watering hole was frequented by a wide array of animals, including elephants, hippos, zebras, wildebeests, and meerkats. Here’s a cropped section of the photo that provides a closer look at the details:

Stephen Wilkes typically captures an average of 1,500 photos, which amounts to roughly 20 gigabytes of storage, for each of his Day to Night pieces. He subsequently chooses the most compelling frames and dedicates several weeks to editing them together to create a single composite photo that illustrates the transition of time.

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