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“Crossing this river is the single most dangerous undertaking in a wildebeest’s turbulent year,” Combes explains. “In August, when the Serengeti shimmers with heat, the vast herds of wildebeest are desperate to reach the fertile grazing lands of southern Kenya. When the enormous hordes reach the crocodile-infested Mara River, tragedy can strike as some drown in crossing. Nothing can stop the animals in mid-crossing from trampling, jostling and panicking in their efforts to reach the safety of the far bank. This is not always the case, as in ‘The Crossing,’ which shows its herd making a comparatively smooth passage.
“I attempted to create a contrast between the struggling, tension-packed chaos of the left bank and the peaceful greenness of new pastures on the right. The inclusion of a stark dead tree, vultures, marabou storks, swirling dust and the ominous interest of two hungry lions hopefully emphasized the frantic atmosphere of the thousands still waiting to cross . . . while in the background, a pride of lions keeps watch.”