When the best laid plans of mice, men and photographers go awry…

Andrew Beck Andrew Leave a Comment

Just before I headed up to the Masai mara for our migration safaris I wrote this post which touched on how I felt that my Photographic portfolio was lacking intimate portraits of wildlife. I also mentioned how it is important to have goals when heading out on safari.

So,now that I have returned I am proud to share the portrait images I was able to capture during my 3 weeks in the Masai Mara.

Wild Eye

Wild Eye

Is that all you ask? Three weeks in the Masai Mara during the peak of the migration season and you got two portrait images?

Well, yes. These are the two portrait images that I am happy to add to my portfolio.

Now you may remember that I also ended this blog post with this quote:

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”

Initially I was disappointed that these were the only portraits I came back with but then I started to detach myself from my preconceived goals and reflect on the entire experience. The feeling of disappointment was soon replaced with a feeling of accomplishment and joy. So what if these are the only two portraits that I feel are strong enough to include in my portfolio. So what if I had initially wanted to achieve more with my photographic goals.

Sometimes the photographic opportunities or ideal conditions don’t present themselves and offer up many of the “holy grail” type scenes that we all so dearly chase around with our cameras. This is especially true with wildlife. Reflecting back on my time in the Masai Mara conjured up more memories that had been created and shared with the 30 odd guests that I hosted over the three weeks than the great images I had been able to capture.

This was something I tried to write about in my post “So much more to an image” but  these prophetic words from David DuChemin in his blog post tiled “Awake Enough” presses the point I am trying to make in just two sentences:

I think the best thing my camera offers is not a record of this experience or that, but a way of opening the door to a bigger experience of this or that, and a chance to make something that in some small way expresses my wonder, joy, curiosity, and gives me slivers of memory enough to conjur them back.

Study your craft, then let it get out of the way. More important, I think, that you breathe life as deeply as you’re able, making the odd beautiful photograph along the way, than that you walk through life so burdened by gear and expectation that you miss the wonder and the beauty your camera can only imperfectly see.

Its that last line that I find so powerful.Read it again:

Study your craft, then let it get out of the way. More important, I think, that you breathe life as deeply as you’re able, making the odd beautiful photograph along the way, than that you walk through life so burdened by gear and expectation that you miss the wonder and the beauty your camera can only imperfectly see.

It is good to have goals. It is essential that you have photographic vision in mind. Its even better to be emotionally aware enough to fully appreciate the photographic journey that you have chosen…

So, the next time you head out on a trip that you have been so excited about and you don’t end up get the photographic opportunities you had so badly hoped for, sit back, relax and remember to enjoy the journey.

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