I have just returned from what was an all to brief, but very productive visit to Kenya. During our 5 night trip our group explored a number of destinations before finally ending our journey with 2 nights in the Masai Mara and the Mara Serena Safari Lodge. This was my first time staying at the lodge seeing that we usually make use of the Wild Eye Mara Camp (especially during our great migration safaris) but its location in the Mara Triangle Conservancy meant that we had the same access and first class sightings that we have become accustomed to.
We found a large journey (collective noun) of Giraffe on the other side of the Mara River and spent quite a bit of time photographing them. In between pointing out the various photographic opportunities and reminding the guests of specific settings to keep in mind, I spotted these two young bulls sizing one another up. They tend to do this “lateral presentation” before getting involved in any physical confrontation. I waited for the perfect moment to have them aligned and balanced within the frame before releasing the shutter and capturing the scene.
Canon 1D MkIV, 300mm F2.8 @ F5.6, ISO 250, 1/1250
In this specific instance, patience in sitting with the giraffes paid off as a unique photo opportunity presented itself. My understanding of animal behaviour also allowed me, and the guests, to predict and prepare for this moment which only lasted for a matter of seconds. Take the time to watch and understand your subjects. Not only will you be able to capture the essence of their being in a better light (no pun intended here), but you will be able to predict and pre-empt their movements and behaviour, increasing your chances of getting that once in a lifetime shot.
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