© Penny Robartes - Tsavo West

Destination Bound

Gerry van der Walt All Authors, Penny 5 Comments

We all have our comforts. Things we keep because of sentimental value, food dishes we always order at a particular restaurant as you know what you are getting and your expectations will be met, putting on a specific pair of pants because you know it fits you well and, my word, do you look good in them.

This applies to shooting in specific wildlife destinations. Just in the same way, but vastly different.

You may have your favourite place. One that you could move around blindfolded in with ease as you know each curve of the road, specific animals become familiar as you now know how to identify the markings that make them unique…the place mapped out in detail in your memory.

© Penny Robartes - Masai Mara 2015

Mara Triangle, Kenya

Being familiar with an area has a great advantage, especially in terms of your personal photography. By knowing the area, you can start to become aware of how to work the scene and develop this, what wildlife you can expect to see at one time or another, you can identify landmarks and start setting up shots. There is so much you can do if you know a place, and the photographic freedom and confidence that comes with it is one such as meeting up with a very good friend for a drink.

It’s safe.

It’s comfortable.

It’s destination bound.

But safe isn’t the path that is going to take you forward. How can you experience new sightings and situations, different landscapes, backgrounds, create different stories, push yourself out of your comfort zone and experience the thrill of the NEW, the POTENTIAL, the UNKNOWN… when you never venture out of what you know?

© Penny Robartes - Tsavo West

Underwater viewing hide at Mzima Springs, Tsavo West, Kenya

It is ultimately up to you to inspire yourself, which will then reflect on your photography. By being destination and comfort bound, you may end up falling into a pattern and not paying as much attention to your surroundings each time you return. You may even start taking the destination for granted as you have cultivated certain expectations.

Be stimulated, be challenged. Test yourself and your vision in areas or destinations that you haven’t been to before. Let your creative eye explore and be thrilled by the many inspiring elements in our natural world!

Ask yourself; are you destination bound?


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About the Author

Gerry van der Walt

I am a private and specialist photographic safari guide, public speaker, co founder of Wild Eye and wildlife photographer. Visit my website at www.gerryvanderwalt.com or follow my journey on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter a look forward to changing the way you see the world.  I also host a Wildlife Photography Podcast and I Vlog!

Comments 5

  1. Bethany

    Love this topic, Penny. I think about this all the time. I’m one of those “love to travel” people and I’ve often thought I should return where I’ve been before to photograph so that I can improve on what I tried out the first time… but I can’t stop myself from trying new places. I agree that new environments push one’s limits and that’s a good thing. I do, though, sometimes think my photography needs more repetition to improve!

    1. Penny Robartes

      Repetition is a great way to cement techniques and build a solid foundation. But don’t focus too much on repetition that you fail to try out new concepts of exploration and growth from that!

      1. Bethany

        I forgot to say how much I like these two photographs. Beautiful. (Also am very much looking forward to being thrown into the deep end in Mana Pools with regard to photographing in forest light conditions – that will be a new one!)

        1. Penny Robartes

          You are going to have a wonderful experience there Bethany! Mana Pools seems to capture the hearts of all you visit it 🙂

  2. Jacques

    Great topic Penny, I went through this same thoughts couple of years. Been to the Kruger Park countless times. I know exactly where to go, where to see what and where the different landscapes are to photograph. That is all I knew and as you said it – destination bound. From 2012 I decided that it is time for a change. Been to CKGR, Savuti, Moremi, Kgalagadi and Mabuasehube. Also went to less known destinations like Mokala, Marakele and Golden Gate. Planning to go to Namibia in the future Wow there is life outside the Kruger. The problem is, the time available for a holiday and the distances to these new destination not even talking about cost to go to places like Kenya (On my bucket list though). I agree 100% with you but I think also one should not forget about these destination bound places as well. Although it is great to go to these new destinations, I still go to the Kruger. Where I used to spend time in the Kruger 3 – 4 times a year, I now only go there once a year and still loving it. The rest I use to explore new destinations. What is more exciting to explore new destinations?

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