My First Unforgettable Photo Safari
I have grown up devouring tales that feature Africa, be it fiction or nonfiction. As a consequence, I was extremely excited to book a private guided safari with Wild Eye because it meant 1) I was finally going to Africa and 2) I knew I would have expert guidance on my first foray into wildlife photography.
Having only done landscapes before this would be something entirely different for me. Fast forward to arriving at Umlani Bushcamp in the Timbavati Nature Preserve and our first meeting with Michael Laubscher. Since we had spoken before via phone it was like meeting a friend. He immediately put us at ease, showed us to our room and gave us the lay of the land. Before we knew it, we were off on our first safari!
We started off with an evening safari. It had been raining for a few days and the sky was overcast, making me a bit nervous. I need not have worried however, the sun shone through the clouds at lucky intervals and I had Michael’s expertise. We saw wildebeest, a lot of impala, lions and zebras right away. As the sun set, Michael taught me to adjust my settings, and how to shoot in different modes (and not be terrified that these lions were so close. I was also very impressed about his knowledge of animal behavior – it made all the difference in my photography! We unfortunately decided to cut short the safari due to the crazy lightning around us; while it was simply spectacular to have lightning flash all around us, we raced back to camp since it was pouring rain and we did not want to get hit by it. Michael entertained us by telling us of his experiences of getting hit by lightning on the way back to camp.
With every safari that we did, I learnt more and more about shooting in different modes, how to use ISO, aperture and shutter speed, how to change these setting quickly and basically got to know my camera and settings better than I did before.
We got to see the big 5 in different lights and conditions and with each, I was still able to take gorgeous pictures under Michael’s guidance. Even though I had read many times about ISO, aperture and shutter speed, nothing seemed to stick until I went out into the field and got a lot of first-hand experience. I cannot speak highly enough of what an amazing first safari experience it was and how easy it was to work with Wild Eye. Every single thing was taken care of before we even got to Africa. Having a private guided safari will always be the way to go for us now and we will simply have to keep coming back for more!
So, how did I choose Wild Eye? Simple. I followed many of them on social media and was impressed by their professionalism, their unique way of ‘seeing’ wildlife and the fact that all of them seemed friendly and knowledgeable! I did not feel the need to look at other companies before I booked my photo safari, and looking back I can still say that I did not need to look at other companies.
Side note about Umlani: Amazing eco camp. I loved that fact that we were disconnected from the world with no internet or electricity. Made us all put down our phones and actually talk to each other and interact with fellow travelers. The food, lodging and staff were amazing, and so was falling asleep every night to elephants trumpeting or hyenas vocalizing. We were also able to spend some time at the treehouse which was a spectacular experience. My husband and I were extremely sad to leave!
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