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Gabon's Coastline

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Hippos by the Sea
Photograph by Michael Nichols

With no hunters or developers or motorized safari tours to fear, a mother hippopotamus and her offspring wade into the warm equatorial waters of the Atlantic Ocean in Gabon's new Loango National Park in central Africa. The hippos (Hippopotamus amphibius) are part of a spectacular array of wildlife—from forest elephants and sea turtles to manatees and leopards—that inhabits the park. Established in September 2002, the 380,000-acre (150,000-hectare) sanctuary preserves one of Africa's last great coastal wildernesses. To document Loango's wildlife, much of it unaccustomed to seeing humans, photographer Michael "Nick" Nichols spent five months camping in the park, relying on stealth, perseverance and, in the case of the wading hippos, luck to make his pictures.

Photo Fast Facts

Camera: Canon EOS 1V
Film Type: Ektachrome 100
Lens: 70-200mm f/2.8
Speed and F-Stop: 1/8 @ f/2.8
Weather Conditions: Clear
Time of Day: Dawn
Lighting Techniques: Natural light
Special Equipment or Comments: I had no time to use a tripod.

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