Close encounters with Hylton Herd
January 15, 2013
These photographs of the very elusive Knysna elephant/elephants, were taken by Hylton Herd, of Hylton Herd Photography while with the Scientific Services Team at SANParks.
“I joined the Department of Forestry after qualifying from Saasveld. I was brought up in Zululand where my father was game ranger, and I always knew I would to need work with nature … I was fortunate to get the post in the Knysna forest.
I was manager of a team of 30 responsible for conservation. I loved the alien clearing in our beautiful river gorges and also loved the maintenance and the development of the outdoor recreation areas, hiking trails, etc. After ten years of management, I joined the Scientific Services Team of SANParks and studied towards my M.Tech degree.
My deep interest started in photography when I bought a camera to show my supervisor photographs of what I saw. A good photograph is so much more than a snapshot – the camera sees differently to the human eye. I carried my camera everywhere, documenting anything interesting I saw in the forest, and from these photographs compiled a visual forest library. Canvasses of my images of the beautiful SANParks facilities decorate the walls of the offices and boardrooms.
I was then given the unique opportunity to search for and determine the number of Knysna elephants that still exist in our forest, based on photographic evidence. This led to
me being a key figure in the film “The Search of the Knysna Elephants” (2008) with Mark van Wijk as director. This was broadcast on Animal Planet.
To be in such close contact with these illusive elephants is a very special experience and is very difficult to put this into words … it is magical. I was extremely fortunate to have at least 10 encounters.
In 2012 I risked leaving my comfort zone and established a small photography business where I take photographs of family/wedding/event/architecture/community projects and general location photography and videography. I love capturing that specific moment I guess, looking and waiting for that something special to happen.