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2022 Jacksonville Best Nature Photographer Award

Best Nature Photographer

Lee-Margaret Borland


Award-winning naturalist photographer Lee-Margaret Borland has traveled the world seeking those split-second instances when she can seize an exquisite moment of nature.

Lee-Margaret's unretouched work chronicles nature's colors, rhythms, and relationships with creatures large and small, landscapes broad, deep and tall, and the breathtaking beauty of nature's illuminations. Her signed, limited edition nature prints are unquestionably fine art ready to grace homes and offices.



Fountain abstract

Nature in Abstract

Heavenly Stairway


Brazilian sunset


A Bloat of Hippo Info

On February 15th we observe World Hippo Day.  The name hippopotamus comes from Ancient Greek and means "water horse' or "river horse".  They are found in only one continent, Africa, and live near lakes, rivers, and mangrove swamps.  The hippo is the third largest land mammal with elephants and white rhinos being larger.  Females weigh an average of 3000 pounds and males are between 3500 and 9,920 pounds.  Hippos range in length from 10.8 to 16.5 feet and are about 5.2 feet tall at shoulder height.  Despite their size, they can run at almost 20 miles per hour!  And they are aggressive and unpredictable.  They are the most ferocious animals in the world.  They will attack humans and boats and kill about 500 people a year.  The closest relatives are whales, dolphins, porpoises, and pigs.  They spend about 16 hours a day in the water, surfacing every 5 minutes to breathe.  But they cannot swim.  They walk or run along the riverbed. 

Hippos breed and give birth in the water.  They can calve every two years; the calves weigh in at 50 to 100 pounds.  Full maturity is reached between the ages of 5 to 7 years and lives up to 50 years in the wild.  The group size ranges from 10 to 200. In the 15th century, English prioress Juliana Barners published a glossary of collective animal nouns in "The Book of St. Alba" and called a group or herd of hippos a "Bloat of Hippos".   Hippos are omnivorous and eat about 80 to 150 pounds of grass in the river and on land per night...a perfect lawnmower!

One of the main reasons hippos spend so much time underwater is to keep their skin from drying and cracking in the heat.  The skin is very smooth with a thick dermis and a very thin epidermis, which allows for a rapid transfer of water.  Thus, the hippo must seek humid or aquatic conditions during the day to prevent dehydration.  They love to play in the mud as this keeps them cool and protects their skin.  They also secrete an acidic substance known as "blood sweat" that acts as a natural sunscreen.  It turns red and then brown when exposed to air and blocks UV rays and prevents the growth of harmful bacteria.

Hippo's enemies are hyenas, lions, crocodiles, and humans.  They are poached for their meat and ivory white fangs.  The International Union for Conservation of Nature (UCN) says they are vulnerable, but not endangered.  In the late 1990s and early 2000s, hippo numbers were declining due to loss of habitat and poaching.  However, the populations have reached stability due to increased law enforcement.  There are about 125,000 to 148,000 wild hippos existing in the wild.

To celebrate the day, visit the hippos in your local zoo, but don't stand too close.  They can expel their excreta a good distance!  Look for a hippo-themed movie such as "Madagascar".

We would like to share the image we call "The Eyes Have It".   It was taken in the Masi Mara National Park in Kenya, Africa.  We were taken out of our vehicle and led down a path with four armed guides...one in front, one on either side and one in back! 

Needless to say, there was a bit of tension and apprehension before we got to the river.  When we got there the humor of the sighting was wonderful and our apprehension disappeared!  Being grass eaters, the hippos accumulate a lot of intestinal gas. 

The river was filled with huge farting hippos!!  There were bubbles everywhere, and it was noisy and smelly!  But funny!!  Perfect bloat of hippos!!


This image is called "Trouble Afoot". It was taken in Lake Manyara National Park in Tanzania, Africa.  I've had a few times in my photographic experiences when my life was in danger, and this was one!  Our guide stopped and took us out of the vehicle to view some hippos in the lake.  I happened to see some dust flying from a rapidly moving animal in the distance, so I moved towards the movement.  My guide and husband began yelling for me to come to them, as they saw it was a hippo.

You can see the dust flying as he ran towards the lake.  When I get behind my lens, I become invincible......I'm determined to get the image!!  You can see he had his eyes on me.......thank goodness he was more interested in getting to the lake than in me.  I got the image, but not without a whole lot of scolding by my husband and our guide! 

The image below is called "Tourist View" and was taken in the Ngorongoro Crater in 
Tanzania, Africa.  It was named by my guide when I tried unsuccessfully to get the hippo to turn around.  He began to giggle and said I was getting the tourist view.  This female was VERY pregnant and as our guide said "ready to drop any minute".  She just kept on trundling towards the water.



These images are available in tabletop to wall size, triple matted, and with or without a frame.  The matted versions are yours at a 10% discount and the framed matted versions in sizes 11x14 and larger can be yours at a 15% discount.

Visit our website, www.throughthelensoflee-margaret.com for available sizes and prices.

Stop by and see us on Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 12 noon and 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The gallery is open for arranged Saturday appointments.  Call us at 904-387-8710 to schedule your special visit.  Come see us and order now.

"There is an eagle in me that wants to soar, and there is a hippopotamus in me that wants to wallow in the mud."

                    -- Carl Sandburg