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Serengeti Spy: Views from a Hidden Camera on the Plains of East Africa Hardcover – September 1, 2012

4.9 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* What would it be like to travel East Africa on foot, like our hunter-gatherer ancestors? What would it be like to meet the animals of the vast Serengeti-Mara ecosystem on their own terms, as their predator, prey, or equal? Shah, who with his brother, Manoj, has been photographing the Serengeti for almost 20 years (The Circle of Life, 2003; African Odyssey, 2007), decided to explore this point of view, to try to get close to and even among the animals and to see them as they see each other. Inventing a tortoise-like remote camera and linking it to a TV monitor in his distant truck, Shah was able to trip the shutter when he saw an image he liked. The results are an amazing set of from-the-ground-up views of the iconic wildlife of the Serengeti. The camera angle, coupled with how close the camera could be placed to the animals (by using waterholes, game trails, etc.) gives an immediacy to the images that even the best use of long lenses cannot match. Wildebeest literally leap over the camera as they cross a river. We are in the middle of the action at a carcass as jackals vie with hyenas for any leftover scraps. We even come face to face with a troop of curious baboons as they investigate the camera. A wonderful new look at a much-photographed cast of animal characters. --Nancy Bent

About the Author

Anup Shah has been a wildlife photographer based in Kenya and England for more than 30 years. His images have appeared in National Geographic and many European nature magazines and calendars. Shah is the coauthor of two Abrams books: The Circle of Life: Wildlife on the African Savannah and African Odyssey: 365 Days.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 204 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams (September 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1419702785
  • ISBN-13: 978-1419702785
  • Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 1 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #190,096 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
There have been many television programmes featuring footage of animals shot from `remote cameras' - and indeed many infra-red triggered shots of animals in the wild featured in well known photographic competitions. However Serengeti Spy is the first book dedicated entirely to ground level photographs, concentrating on the East African grasslands and on well known species...but revealing them in a fresh, very personal way.

Anup Shah spent months hiding multiple cameras in key locations across the savanna in order to capture intimate images of animals living in their environment, with no human presence to affect their behaviour. The result is the most amazing portfolio of the usual characters (lion, cheetah, elephant, wildebeest etc) but in the most unusual of poses and from strikingly low angles.

This book does not shy away from huge image usage - from the cover, inside jacket to a glorious number of stunning double page spreads... this is a perfect coffee table book indeed. Should you manage to stop marvelling at the images for a minute however and turn your eye to the text then Shah supports his art with well crafted words that supply the detail to the animal's behaviour, the season it was taken in, what the animal did prior or after the shutter was released. It's an effective combination - lots of images, not too much text.

Shah's intention was to view a well-known area to himself from a different perspective, that of a hunter-gatherer. Not many of us will ever be able to creep up on a lion feeding on the flesh and bones of a gazelle, perhaps not many of us would actually want to, but it's a real privilege to be amongst the legs of adult elephants, standing protectively around a small vulnerable calf, finding its feet for the first time.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Anup Shah uses mobile camera platforms to get right into the very breath of the Serengeti. Animals that you have seen before are given new perspectives and appreciation. Ever been in the midst of a wildebeest migration? Anup Shah had his cameras there. For too close for comfort is the name of the game for the remote cameras and every image is a thoughtful composition about the very nature of nature.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Beautiful. Magnificent. Moving. Captivating. You have never seen anythinglike this, I guarantee.
I bought it for my 10 year old granddaughter. She is going to LOVE it. There are a few photos I was concerned about. One was of a stranded baby animal. You know it's end is not going to be pretty. It is heart wrenching, so I talked to my daughter ahead of time and she's ready for the strong feelings the photos will bring up. Great life lesson.
Very highly recommend.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Awesome book! Great photos! I've never been to the Serengeti, but the hidden camera pic's really capture the essence of the Plains of East Africa! A must for any animal enthusiast book collector! I know you're not supposed to judge a book by it's cover, but look at the gorgeous lion on the front, can't help but love him!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A truly unique perspective of wildlife from a decidedly different angle. The photos are simply beautiful, and are a definite departure from most photography. I believe this book will be enjoyed by any fans of wildlife.
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Format: Hardcover
I suggest you read the reviews on the major Amazon page for this book.
After getting by first book of photographs by this author, I got the others.
I really like his work , both visually and what I can learn about animals from it

On the whole I like really crisp images of animals and their world with some images that are more artistic..
Gettting those truely rare shots is hard work. Some photographer's stake out say a small waterhole and wait to see what shows up. They will get a number of good shots , but only a few really amazing shots-- it's just so hard getting all the ingredients right at the right time.
Anup Shah used hidden cameras-- he clearly knew the area very very well to get some of the shots he did. It is one thing to put some cameras outside an Hyaenas den , but quite another to put cameras were kills occur. There a number of shots of animals that have been killed, with various animals plus birds around the site.
It depends on what animals you are interested in as to how excited you will be about the book-- don't get me wrong. This book is first class animal photography.

I like photos that help tell a story or at least part of it.
Thomson Gazelle.
There is a beautiful two page spread of a Territorial male Thomson Gazelle in the rut trying to herd a group of females ( about 10 ) He wants to keep them in his patch to test them for mating. The female appear uninterested by his efforts and concern
There is a picture of a young Thomson's Gazlle standing-- it is a two page spread. You see it's frail form, that it has soon after birth.
Alas all to often it lands up a someone's meal. Unfortunately it has to stand to suckle and at times when it is at risk of being trodden on.
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Format: Hardcover
Page 40-42. It's just a series of pictures of a herd of zebras and then a herb of wildebeest, hooves kicking up clods of mud so close to your face that you *will* flinch. So close you can hear the muscled thudding of their passage to somewhere beyond the capture of the camera. And that's just those pictures. Wait till you see the lions, and elephants, and hyenas, oh my! A spread of breathtaking closeups of animals that are not of the Disney kind but flesh, feather, fur, and tooth. This book is endlessly amazing.
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