I believe that a trusting attitude and a patient attitude go hand in hand. Patience is not just about waiting for something; it’s about how you wait or your attitude while waiting.
The main thing I want you to take away from this blog is that great work is performed not by strength but by perseverance.
Many a times I have sat out in the field, frustrated at times, waiting for that ONE shot. Sometimes luck is on your side (a bit late but its there), and sometimes its not. Unfortunately this is how nature works. If you that one person who never waits, you will never know or very seldom photograph spectacular moments.
During these countless times I’ve sat out, one gets to not only appreciate the peacefulness around you a lot more but you also get to learn so much more about your surroundings.
During my recent safari to Shindzela Tented Camp one of my guests told me that she really wants to photograph a hippo.
She had spent a week up in Madikwe at Nkuru where we host our Madikwe Photo Safari. The reason she told me that she really wants to photograph a hippo is because they didn’t even have a glimpse of one while they were up there. Remember what I said earlier, its nature, sometimes you get lucky and sometimes you don’t.
As I used to guide at Shindzela, I knew that they have great hippo numbers, big dams but was not sure about the new properties that they are able to transvers now but wow there are some amazing dams, EVERYWHERE.
I told my guest this and said the chances are good!
First afternoon safari rolled out and yes, we did see a hippo, but if you looked quick one could of mistaken it with a large rock.
Usually hippo are pretty “boring” subjects to photography because the times we out on safari, they hiding and resting/sleeping in the water.
This is where one needs to have loads of patience. If you want to photograph hippo doing something a bit more active best you wait. The chance of a hippo that has just got back into the water after walking around the whole night jumping up and preforming for you is not too great but worth waiting a short while.
Maybe you get lucky and get a flick of the ear, snorting water out of the nose or even a yawn.
We had very average hippo sightings during the first few days where we sat and waited for action but nothing really happened. On our second last morning we drove past an area called main dam or route a pride of lion. As we were passing this massive dam we spotted a few hippo in the water and decided to hang around a bit. We all sat there thinking, maybe today is hippo action day.
We waited for action like that for not only 3 or 4 hours, it took three days!
At first we were on the side photographing into the sun, so we used the beautiful morning colours and shadows to our advantage.
After moving around to the other side of the dam, things had calmed down. We sat around for 20 minutes and thought that it was all over. While sitting there figuring out why these two are going on like this; suddenly a explosion from the water!!!
The two bulls were at it again. Guests had camera in hand again and the continuous shutters sounded like war. We sat and photographed these two fighting for about two hours. Mind blowing sighting that was!
Never lose that hope you should always feel and keep believing! If that action you wanted didn’t happen on the particular safari, be patient because eventually it WILL pay off!
I am going to leave you with this;
Patience doesn’t mean making a pact with the devil of denial, ignoring our emotions and aspirations. It means being wholeheartedly engaged in the process that’s unfolding, rather than ripping open a budding flower or demanding a caterpillar hurry up and get that chrysalis stage over with.
Good luck!!! I wish you the best of luck on any of your future safaris and hope that one scene comes your way!
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