Why do we explore?
Where does that hunger to travel and experience things birth from?
Why do we feel the incessant need to capture and share all we come across?
This I believe is built into the very being of who we humans are. It is all around us, everyday, all day. We are curious.
Just take a look at the vast popularity of instant media sites such as Twitter and photo-sharing communities such as 500px. The type of content could vary hugely. It could be urgent coverage of a news event, sneak-peaks at celebrity lifestyles and gossip and events or images portraying our beautiful natural world or inspiring feats. We as the “consumer” lap this up. We buy the magazines, re-share to our social-media platforms and yearn to visit all the magical places across the world.
What is the point here?
When Laird Hamilton took on a gigantic wave called Teahupoo in what was to become the single most significant ride in surfing history, would the thought to zoom right in on him even cross your mind? Absolutely not! The size and density of that wave had to be captured to tell the iconic story of what Laird had achieved and in so doing change the mentality of what was possible. The cover image of Surfer magazine blew people away as Laird was dwarfed in comparison to the mountain of blue fury behind him. Go check out this incredible video here.
What has this got to do with your photography?
I want to challenge you to think about the bigger picture. Think about what impact your images will have on the consumers, the people who will have the honor of viewing your hard work. That day at Teahupoo Laird made history and his momentous moment was captured for the world to see.
A lone elephant bull think about his next move in Mana Pools National Park
, 1/800, f4.0, ISO400
When we travel in nature, be it the forests of Borneo or the plains of Africa we are presented with moments in time that will not come again easily. It may not be Laird on a 20 or 30 foot wave but it could be a female elephant defending her calf as dramatic dust is kicked up at her feet, or a lone impala taking in the last rays of sunlight on the Mana Pools floodplain.
A elephant cow stands tall in defense of her young calf.
1/2000, f8.0, ISO500
A lone impala takes in the sunset in Mana Pools National Park
1/160, f2.8, ISO3200
Think about the story, the moment you are capturing and how this will be construed by the world. I am not saying you should never get in close and tight. These are just as magical and captivating. What I am saying though is find the balance, and know which fits in and where. Looking at the bigger picture tells of where you are, and will invite people to connect on a deeper level. A portrait of a lion’s face can be absolutely spectacular but it may not beg the viewer to book the ticket on the next flight out to go and see it. What about a pride of lions on the hunt in a stunning field of grass with the Zambezi Rift Valley as a backdrop?
Lions in pursuit of a herd of Cape buffalo.
1/1250, f5.6, ISO100
Now we are onto something.
Garner their curiosity. Invite people to see the world in the way which you have and become an ambassador for your dearest wildlife destinations. You never know who is watching.
A large male leopard stalking through open grass. He managed to close the gap and kill a warthog on this particular hunt.
1/2000, f2.8, ISO800