Don’t miss the forest for the trees

Morkel Erasmus All Authors, Morkel 2 Comments

This is a bit of a cliche’d expression, I’ll give you that, but it doesn’t change the fact that it remains quite true about photographic safaris.

I think those of us who live and have grown up in Africa are also a bit ungracious to those who don’t have this wonderful array of wildlife close by. We tend to forget that there’s a reason people who travel from afar to come and photograph our natural heritage desperately want to see certain iconic species – they might not have many future opportunities to do so again, after all.

That being said – many African based photographers would be lying if they told you they are not always looking out for the elusive leopard, the majestic lion, or the enigmatic elephant.

However, I think that we as wildlife photographers should bear in the back of our minds that we are first and foremost just that – photographers, looking for a fleeting opportunity to capture a brief moment in light and time, regardless of what the actual subject is. Being less subject-obsessive can help us become more photography-focused, having a clear goal in mind of what we would like to achieve from a photographic standpoint, and working towards that.

This is one aspect that makes a photographic safari to Mana Pools so enticing.

It tends to bring you back to the basics of photography…where it’s all about the light, the mood, the composition, and a willing subject, whether that subject is a humble antelope, a rare Painted Dog or a towering elephant, or simply the setting and the light in itself.

Walking in these ancient woodlands you really are able to hone into those fleeting photographic moments.

Yes, you can have amazing on-foot encounters with lion and elephants and everything in between.

But often, it’s the smaller moments that end up being most satisfying…

Like the light filtering through the trees and calming the depths of your soul.


Or a single young Waterbuck standing on a small anthill in just the right spot.




I can’t wait to share some of these moments of photographic clarity and cohesion with the guests who are joining me in Mana Pools in October.

Want to join me?


Until next time…

Morkel Erasmus

Comments 2

  1. joke ohm-van spanning

    Like to follow you but always travel with my sister. Mana Pools is outstanding we had a beautiful time over there. Most of time we’r going in African wintertime not so many people if you’r lucky that’s also why we don’t go for a Photosafari to many people. We love to do nothing in a hurry, these images are awesome. youre big fan greeting

  2. Jakes

    The more I look at images like this and the wide open plains of the Masai, the settings like Mana and even our last trip to Chobe, Moremi and Caprivi, The more we are challenged to look and think different about the story we want to tell. I fully agree, it then starts to pose the question about our equipment and that the wide shots like the above are “more forgiving” and we can create beautiful images and stories with shorter lenses, slower bodies, less mp sensors. These “limitations” force us to look for more and what to include and exclude, what is the angle of light, picking the right moment and create a story. Great images and a reflection of the moment. You took me to that spot..

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