Ask Yourself Why and How

Gerry van der Walt All Authors, Gerry Leave a Comment

I am currently in Madikwe where I have been sharing the most incredible sightings and photographic opportunities with a client on a private photo safari.

Phil has been asking a huge amount of questions – something I think we all need to do more of – but one of the topics we discussed on the vehicle this morning made for very interesting conversation, so here goes with a quick few thoughts on the topic.

When you arrive at a sighting how do you approach it?

Do you go for the spray and pray approach or do you follow a very structured approach and tick off various types of images such as portraits, animal behaviour or animals in their environment?

My answer to Phil was this…

Ask yourself two questions – Why and how?

It’s simple.

When you get to a sighting or get visual of your subject ask yourself – why am I lifting up my camera?  Why do I want to photograph this scene or subject?

Then, once you know why ask yourself how which will help you with whatever artistic and technical considerations you might have.

Here’s an example.

Gerry van der Walt - Wildlife Photography

Why?  The reason?

The light was awesome, the subject cute as hell and I wanted to capture the golden moment and rim lighting.

How?  What technical and artistic considerations?

Focus on the subject.  Choose a shallow depth of field to make the subject pop.  Underexpose the image slightly to really show the splashes of gold and the rim lighting and capture the mood.   And then in post processing in Lightroom add some Clarity and warm the image up a little further.

Done.

Don’t overcomplicate something that should, if done correctly, come from within yourself.  Photography is an art so it needs to be defined by you, the artist – or if you feel uncomfortable to call yourself an artist – the photographer.

The reason why you pick your camera is unique to you so use that as a starting point as to what you are going to photograph and how you are going to present the final image.

How do you approach a scene or subject when you head out into the field?  Would love to hear your comments.

For now, a quick shower and right back to the lodge so we can get stuck into some post processing tips and tricks.

Until next time.

Gerry van der Walt

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