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Hot Air Balloons over Wildebeest Migration, By Lisa Hoffner, Los Gatos, California, USA

Hot Air Balloons
over Wildebeest Migration

Connochaetes taurinus

Learn more about Connochaetes taurinus from the Encyclopedia of Life

Encyclopedia of Life

Masai Mara, Kenya
By Lisa Hoffner
Los Gatos, California, USA


Lisa Hoffner

In an endless cycle that follows seasonal grazing and water supplies, wildebeest form part of the world's largest remaining groupings of land mammals. During the famous migration from the Serengeti, they move west across the vast, open plains, then head north to face treacherous crocodile-infested rivers in order to reach the fresh grasslands of the Masai Mara before returning south. It is estimated that more than 1.5 million wildebeest travel about 1,000 miles each year on their journey following the rainfall, dodging predators, and searching for food.

“For years I had envisioned making an image depicting hot air balloons as though they are part of the great migration of wildebeest across Tanzania into Kenya. With the help of my balloon pilot friends, I gathered necessary information on wind direction and flight path where the greatest concentration of animals might occur on each day. Armed with that knowledge and lots of patience, I captured this image when all the elements aligned.” —LH


Canon EOS 3; 300mm ƒ/2.8 lens; 1/500 sec; aperture not recorded; Fujichrome Velvia 100 film; beanbag.