As we usually do here in the Wild Eye office, the team was sitting enjoying a lunch together on a fine Wednesday afternoon. As we were all getting ready to jump back into the days work Andrew received a call from Rodney, the owner of Jamala Royal Madikwe Safari Lodge.
He had a guest staying over with the family and she really wanted to improve on her photography before heading back home. The opportunity was offered to me and I grabbed it with no hesitations. I had never traveled to Madikwe before so excitement levels were sky high as it is for all the safaris I host.
For these of you that have never visited this spectacular reserve, Madikwe Game Reserve, with its diverse landscapes and abundance of animals, is a special destination for a safari. It is currently the fifth largest game reserve and is also one of the lesser known parks in South Africa. This makes it a hidden gem as it is regarded as one of the best conservation areas in Africa and offers the Big 5 in a 680-km2 park.
The park offers a number of luxurious lodges as well as community lodges in a malaria- free zone. It is situated against the Botswana border close to the Kalahari Desert.
In 1991 the area was declared a reserve and 10 000 mammals were relocated from other National Parks. The park is home to approximately 66 large mammals and roughly 300 bird species. You will find all this flora and fauna in an area comprised of vast open plains of grasslands, woodlands, rocky outcrops and single mountains.
I spent my nights in the south western corner of the reserve at a lodge called Jamala Madikwe, what a neat camp!
The day of arrival, I immediately went and met my guests I was hosting for the next two nights knowing that only the one lady had an interest in photography. After all the introductions and a bit of a chat I sat her down to now find out where her level of photography was.
All she said was, I shoot on auto or disabled flash mode.
We changed that!
We spent good time chatting about what we will be changing, settings and just the basics of digital photography.
Then it was safari time!
The time we spent out in the field was extremely enjoyable, we did not mind what our subjects were, everything that came our way was photographed particularly on the first drive. The reason for this is the more one practice’s, the better you will become.
We photographed anything from birds or baboons in a tree, to birds taking a bath and even reptiles heating up in the sun.
I always say the small things count as well, give it that you may not want to keep the images or win massive awards with them, YOU take knowledge away from it. Thats the important thing!
The abundant of general game was incredible around the watering points and we were provided with some beautiful photographic sightings.
We were also blessed with some incredible high profile sightings including, lion, elephant and rhino.
It was great spending time with Petra and her family out in the field and just watching her develop even in the very sort time I was there. From auto mode to fully understanding aperture priority. One of the reasons I love my job so much is seeing the facial expression and excitement level change once the guests start understanding their gear.
Petra had banked some very nice images which she will share with me and that I will share with you in the future. So now that the good shots were secured the creative side started ticking.
We then played around with some panning, radial blur type images and this is always a blast! We were also lucky enough to get nice and close to some animals, which allowed us to photograph some very, close up, details textural shots.
Well done to you Petra, you learnt surprisingly quick and nailed it!
I look forward to seeing as well as sharing some of your work and joining you on another Wild Eye Safari one day soon!
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