Stunning sunrise and sunset pictures capture the silhouettes of some of South Africa's most recognisable animals

The Lion King: Photographer Andrew Schoeman captured this striking image of an alpha male lion prowling across the wild fields of South Africa
Seeing some of the world's most majestic creatures in their natural African habitat is always a momentous occasion. But, as these beautiful pictures show, watching them in their element during the twilight hours is all the more spectacular.

Photographer Andrew Schoeman, 40, captured these stunning images of mammals and birds prowling the wilds of South Africa but appearing as silhouettes against the contrasting background of the setting and rising sun.

Land of the rising sun: A yellow billed stork at sunrise can be seen flying across the African plains as the sky lightens up behind

His vivid images show everything from an imposing alpha male lion and hefty elephants to tiny bee-eating birds and Cape Turtle doves.

Mr Schoeman, who works as a freelance photographic guide on safari, took the shots at sunrise and sunset.
Born to be wild: Silhouettes of elephants as they march across the African terrain near the Chobe river in Botswana

They include a herd of elephants fresh from swimming across a river or enjoying a dust bath and a giraffe appearing to dwarf the bright sun.

Mr Schoeman, from Nelspruit, said: 'I love the colour in the images. A lot of photographers only want sunlight but I feel there are many opportunities after the sun has set or the light has gone.

On the prowl: Photographer Andrew Schoeman captured these two Cheetahs as the sun begins to set in the horizon
'For me a silhouette tells a story and there is something special about capturing the moment in time just before the sun has gone but there are still great colours in the sky.

'I need to be very accurate with my exposures otherwise I can lose the colour in the sky and I enjoy the challenge of getting the exposure right and still having a sharply focused image and a nice composition.

Love birds: Two doves can be seen perched on a branch as the sun rises in the background

'The light fades very fast at sunset and it gets bright very quickly at sunrise so the window of opportunity is very small - but I love the challenge.'

Mr Schoeman photographed the giraffe and African Fish Eagle from a boat in the Chobe river, Botswana. And the elephants were taken soon after they had stopped at the water's edge to drink.

Dwarfing the sun: A giraffe appears to tower over the sun as it sets, pictured left, and a Fish Eagle looks content watch the evening descend, pictured right

Lone ranger: This elephant appears to have broken away from its herd in this image taken by photographer Andrew Schoeman

Mr Schoeman said: 'A few of the elephants had a bit of a dust bath on their way back to the woodland, creating this beautiful moment.

'It was dry and dusty and I love the way the colour, the dust and the silhouettes of the 'ellies' combine. This family scene is one of my best images.'

Early riser: This silhouette shows a Cheetah waking up as the clouds start to disperse to reveal rays of sunshine on a cool morning

A cheetah is pictured sniffing the ground as clouds slowly disperse on a cool morning, allowing rays of sunlight to break through.

The Carmine Bee eaters were spotted at a nesting colony home to thousands of birds, flying around and squawking.

Mr Schoeman saw the lion on a chilly, cloudy morning. He said: 'We were on a drive and saw this lion with the amazing sun and clouds behind him.

Birds of a feather: Photographer Andrew Schoeman captured these tiny Carmine bee eaters flying off into the sunset

'We got into position a few minutes before he got up and I was able to capture this image of him. I think the sun and cloud in the sky look brilliant, with him lifting his paw in the air.

'I love the fact that it is a powerful animal with a beautiful sunrise, the colours in the sky are great.'

Breaking dawn: A Cheetah watches the sun rise over wild terrain of Botswana in this picture by Andrew Schoeman

Source : dailymail


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