A daring photographer managed to keep his ground to capture these breathtaking images of an elephant – despite it rushing towards him.
Shockingly, Ben Cranke sat motionless in his camp chair as the five-ton male darted out of the savannah and stampeded into the water.
The pair were just 30 feet apart during a tense stand-off at Savuti Game Reserve, Chobe National Park, Botswana.
But the 48-year-old from Chingford, Essex, kept his cool when the elephant lunged at him, learning that the first time is usually a mock a.tt.ack.
The fully grown animal – 12 feet tall – lunged at Mr Cranke three times before concluding he was not threatening and calmly walking away.
He said: ‘It was a scorching hot day, and I was sheltering from the heat in the deep shade of a Camelthorn tree, right next to the Savuti Canal.
‘This elephant came out of the surrounding savanna, down to the water’s edge on the opposite bank to drink.
‘I sat quietly on my camping chair, not moving a single muscle, enjoying the experience of being at 20 meters (65ft) from such a majestic animal.
‘I went upwind with him, so remained undetected – but as the breezed moved, he caught my scent.
‘He immediately turned to face me and saw I was close, and he rushed into the channel without warning in an attempt to scare me off.
‘I had suspected he could do this, so silently adjusted my camera settings to freeze his charge’s action.
‘Having spent a lot of time walking with elephants in the past, I also thought his charge would be a mock charge, so when he lunged, I didn’t move but raised the camera to shoot a series of frames.
‘I have to admit there were a few moments of thinking “, Have I got it right?”, “Is this going to be a joke?” If I had this mistake, I had no chance of escaping. ‘
But after a few tense moments, as the full-grown male elephant lunged towards him, it slowed down – eventually stopping just a few meters from where Mr Cranke sat.
He added: ‘Fortunately, he proved me right with a short stop after plunging a few meters into the water.
‘He backed off for a short distance of about half a minute before rushing back, slamming the water with his trunk and spewing water at me.
‘I changed my camera from landscape to portrait framing and shot a bunch of other frames, still sitting in my camping chair.
‘He stepped back again, watched for a while, then charged a third time – splashing again and spraying me with water.
‘This time, he came within 10 meters (30ft) of where I sat quietly, apart from holding up my camera.
‘After this third strike, I suspect the bull realized I was not a threat as it backed off to the opposite side of the channel.
‘He watched me curiously from the bank and poured himself some water to cool off.
‘He also took a long drink before leaving and disappearing into the bush where he had come.
‘It was only at this point that I returned to my campsite – to find a cold beer and a big smile on my face. It was an extraordinary experience. ‘