If you’ve ever visited Southern African National Parks and Game Reserves, you would have encountered animals on roads.
Now, I don’t mean impalas or zebras, I mean the big cahunas. Predators. They do love those roads, don’t they?
Perhaps it’s the freedom of walking along without thorn bushes scratching you all the way, perhaps it’s the nice soft feel of a scraped road on weary paw pads…point is that predators love using man-made roads to patrol their territory.
Many in the photographic fraternity frown upon including the road in your photos, as it detracts from the ‘natural look’ of the image.
I’ve got a few thoughts on this:
1. As a first choice, first-prize situation, yes I would prefer photographing that lion in a clear area off the road and in natural surroundings.
2. Often, the area next to the road is thicker than a politician’s skull.
3. Often, that’s the only shot you’re getting from the sighting.
4. I say take it. Take the photo and include the road, but be smart…USE the road. If it’s a dirt track – use the tracks as leading lines. If it’s a tar road, look at a monochrome conversion as you’ll have a clear view to your subject and it will eliminate the odd colour of the tar road in the otherwise natural surroundings. I’d rather have a photo of the sighting in the road than none at all. We once came upon 5 cheetahs choking and eventually devouring a springbok lamb in a dirt road in the Kalahari – now tell me you won’t go ahead and take photos of the sighting despite the fact that there’s a “ghastly” road in it?
Here are a few photos I’ve taken while on safari (either in self-drive National Parks or guided in private Game Reserves) which include animals on the road and which I feel still work.
They probably won’t be portfolio shots at the end of the day, but not every photo has to be.
I’d love to have your thoughts on this – leave a comment on this post and tell me how you approach this?
Until next time, keep shooting!