Many years ago, when I was just starting to take my wildlife photography more serious, I came home from some time in the field and Adele asked me “Where are all the pictures of the people?” The utter confusion on my face must have been quite something as I explained to my wife that ‘I am a wildlife photographer and I do not take pictures of people’. I mean really… why would I visit the bush, take all my fancy gear along with me and then… take pictures of people?
How times change.
Looking back now I can’t help but laugh at not only how naive I was back then but also at how many wildlife and nature photographers are missing out on some incredible moments both from an experience and photographic point of view.
Yes, I know it’s difficult and I know that some of you reading this are thinking that a safari is all about the wildlife photography. You’re not wrong and I’m with you 100% but I think there is so much more to traveling on and taking part in a photographic safari than just the images of animals. Think of it as a nice fillet dinner. On it’s own it’s a beautiful thing but with an amazing glass of red wine it becomes so much more.
I think that apart from the intent to capture the many amazing moments that make up a safari the type of gear we have with us is often the reason we don’t capture people, lodges and activities. I mean, do you really want to swap your 200-400mm for a 24-70mm just to get another shot of aunt Betty on the vehicle? And then swap back again? Most definitely not. That is why the addition of a small mirrorless camera to my photographic safari arsenal has, literally, been a game changer.
Having a small, powerful camera with me on safari has been amazing and during the last few safaris I have been making many more images of the safari experience than I have in the past. I still use my iPhone for a LOT of video and candid images but the quality, control and easy of being able to shoot, focus and change settings with on hand and still getting a proper RAW file has been awesome.
I have, during the last few safaris, made a point of making more images of the safari experience. Don’t you think it’s pretty awesome that I can share images of people on safari with them when they get back home? And that without having to wave around big equipment or miss any wildlife image I might want to create? It’s literally like point and shoot but with full control and awesome RAW files. If that makes sense?
Will share more in due course but the camera I’ve been using to capture the experience is an Olympus OMD-EM10 Mark III which Olympus SA gave to me before my recent trip to the US. Will share more of a review later but short version is that it’s exceeded any expectations I might have had and the results have been amazing. For travel photography, and video, you can’t go wrong with this one and if you’re looking for a more robust camera to photograph wildlife the OMD-EM1 Mark II is the one you want.
Last week I had the pleasure and privilege of hosting a group of 12 amazing people on a Private Guided Safari at Mala Mala. For eight of them it was there first ever safari which made capturing their safari moments so much more rewarding. Knowing that they will look back at these images one day and remember the sights, sounds and even the smells of Africa means a lot to me.
During our safari I photographed the experience. The moments in between the sightings. The people.
And it was awesome!
There is so much more to a safari, even a photographic safari, than just the wildlife images. Make no mistake, I love a great wildlife image just as much as the next obsessed wildlife photographer, but I urge you to look for the experience.
To enjoy the experience.
To photograph the experience.
I guarantee you that the moments, the memories, the experiences are going to stay with you much longer than just another lion image.
Until next time.
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