Pulling up to a cheetah sighting in Madikwe during the Wildlife Photography Bootcamp, shutters were going off as the four brothers made their way to the lone spot of shade cast by the single tree amongst the heat scorched earth.
Fat bellies and red faces marked that these boys had had a very successful hunt earlier that morning. By how they slumped to the ground straight away, it was clear that these cats were getting ready for a settled afternoon.
As cheetahs are always on the alert and never relax fully for long, I encouraged my guests to start looking closer at the males and capture more than just sleeping or lying down cats.
What makes a cheetah identifiable? What are their unique characteristics?
Here is also where knowing and understanding animal behaviour is key to capturing and highlighting aspects of your subject – cheetah are cats and a coalition of males will interact with one another in various ways, such as grooming, rubbing up against one another, and so on.
Having the time to spend with these cats without other vehicles around presented a perfect opportunity to look at creativity in the field. Their constant alertness, their need to get up and move to settle in a different spot, and their interaction with one another allowed us to look closer and ‘create’ a variety of images of the same subject.
This is a great story-telling opportunity as we were able to get in close, ‘dissect’ the subject, pull out, show interaction… well, the options were open to interpretation and exploration!
One sighting, many different images.
Don’t put your camera down because you feel that there is nothing else to capture. Tell a story about your subject. Look closer at it and what makes it unique to other wildlife.
Go on, look closer.
And closer still.
There are no bounds to creativity out in the field. You just need to open yourself up to the possibilities and explore them.
Keep passionate and keep shooting!
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