Earlier this week, Apple unveiled its new high-resolution MacBook Pro, which it is now advertising with the image of zebras running in the wild - an image shot by celebrated wildlife photographer Steve Bloom. He talks to BJP about the origins of this picture.
"I was in the town of Maun in Botswana," he says. "I was working on gathering photographs for the books Untamed and Spirit of the Wild, and I wanted to get aerial shots of the Okavango Delta, which is a particularly fantastic place. I booked a helicopter for an early-morning shoot just after sunrise but there were problems. It was not only heavily overcast but the local farmers had also been burning grass to prepare the soil to plant new crops. As a result, visibility was quite limited. It was a bit of a nightmare. I had only three days left before I had to fly back to England."
The next two mornings came and went, and visibility continued to deteriorate, Bloom tells BJP. "I knew if I went up to fly at that time, the pictures would have looked flat. It would have been difficult to get a fast enough shutter speed anyway. It was on the day I had to fly back to England that I made my final trip to the helicopter company. The light was a bit better, and suddenly everything had somehow improved. But there was another problem – traffic control would not open until 8am, so I knew I would be missing some early-morning shots."
"The second we had permission to fly, we took off for the Okavango Delta. It was still a little overcast. There was a point when the clouds cleared and there was just enough of haze with a lot of light coming through. At that moment, we were able to fly over these zebras and get that picture."
The picture has always been one of Bloom's most popular, he explains. "It's one of these pictures you can't predict, because when you're doing that kind of wildlife photography, you have no control over what's happening. The moment you see it through your viewfinder, you have to react quickly and instinctively. It's the sort of picture that has good commercial potential."
Half-jokingly, Bloom says he has always liked to photograph zebras as they are good for focusing "because of their black-and-white stripes".
Now, Bloom's image is being used across Apple's websites, displayed on the company's new MacBook Pro. "It's always satisfying, whether it's in the commercial or non-commercial sense, to see your picture used like this. Every photographer wants to have his or her pictures seen, and if they're seen widely then there's a sense of personal satisfaction. It's a tough game being a photographer nowadays. What has changed over recent years is the fact that there are billions of photographs that we see all the time. It becomes harder to make pictures that stand out."
And when it comes to the MacBook Pro high-resolution display, Bloom had to ensure it would be shown in the best way. "I went to a lot of trouble making sure the picture was as good, and as sharp, as I could make it from a photographer's point of view. Zebras are very good subjects to show on high-resolution displays because of their stripes. And it's just an incredible monitor."
Screenshot of the Apple.com website with Steve Bloom's Okavango Zebras image displayed.
Most Popular Articles
Updating your subscription status
We have a vacancy for a Key Account Manager working on The British Journal of Photography
Magnet Harlequin, one of the UK's leading Creative Production Agencies is seeking a new Head of Photography.
We have opportunities for two experienced photographic, audio or video technicians.