Ignorance is bliss…

Marlon duToit All Authors, Marlon 10 Comments

knowledge |noun|

facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject. True, justified belief and understanding as opposed to opinion.

I sat back the other day and jumped on a short trip back down memory lane. Browsing through my earlier photographs recalled such fond memories of what I have encountered out in the field. I am fortunate and blessed to have had the opportunity to see young leopards and lions grow into caring mothers and vicious territorial males. I have seen big old elephant bulls return to the same pastures year after year, their tusk load becoming more burdensome as age took its toll. I remembered how a lioness that lost her cub to a rogue male lion would venture back to the same spot of the horrific attack months after it happened. She would call out to the cub time and time again. Some experts will tell you that animals have no emotions but I will tell you otherwise. I have seen it, I have mourned with them.

One of the things that stood out to me the most was how I had grown as a photographer. I clearly remember how much I loved my photos at that time, and rightfully so. I thought that what I captured and the post-processing of it whas not all that shabby. I felt I had mastered enough of Lightroom 2 and that the excessive amount of contrast, sharpness and saturation really added a fresh dynamic and made them “pop”. Boy how wrong I was.

Looking back now I can clearly see how absolutely hideous my first post-processing attempts were. It was terrible. I had a reasonable canvas to work from as far as subject matter was concerned, but I would ruin it in processing. I needed help.

To what point am I getting to here?

As of late I have noticed a few recognized photographers discredit advice given by fellow wildlife photographers on the methods they would use to capture authentic African moments.

Why would you disregard something that could be of huge benefit to you? Why would you intentionally rob yourself of a direct blessing or even worse, influence a friend or an enthusiastic follower of your work by slating the advice of another person thereby plundering their opportunity to grow. This to me is selfish and un-called for.

You may argue that the given advice or thoughts are incorrect. This may be true but I feel that sometimes we tend to forget that what does not work for us may work for someone else. Things an experienced wildlife photographer has forgotten still needs to be learned by someone just settling in behind their first DSLR.

Why not take the good and do away with the “bad”?

In my early days as a budding wildlife photographer I had one advantage. I had an unassailable passion to become the best I can be. I wanted to portray what I experienced as authentically as possible. I could not do that on my own and I needed knowledge of not only my environment and subject but also of my equipment. I have a few people to thank today for selflessly sharing their knowledge and experience with me. I would hound them with questions. I would study the work of my favorite photographers in an attempt to decipher the image and their thought process behind it.

I still have that same appetite for growth today, that will never stop.

If you know it all and feel you can’t learn anything from anyone anymore, then thanks for reading this far. You are welcome to gather your thoughts and bring it to the table, reason with me.

For the rest, be it a beginner or a seasoned veteran of the art, never stop the journey to go further, the journey to be better than yesterday.

You will inspire many. 

wildeyesa, marlondutoit, photography

Marlon du Toit

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Comments 10

  1. Darlene

    I would like to thank you for taking the time to post this because it is true in other professions too. I admire your work and learn so much from your generous postings on Facebook. I have always loved beautiful photography but just got my first DSLR last month.

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  2. Ian Kitney

    Thank you so much for this article. I have been photographing for only a few months now. I have never been able to afford a camera but always sat looking at things around me and thinking how I would capture it if I had a camera. My wonderful wife saved up and bought me my first camera. I just want to learn and absorb as much as I can. I believe if you think that you have reached the goal line you have actually just turned around and gone the wrong way… just like you said, there is always room to learn and grow. Thank you for all the info, inspiration and images that you share.

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      Marlon duToit

      Hi Ian. Your wife seems pretty cool, you owe her for that awesome present! Stay in touch. Perhaps browse through all of the valuable content on the Wild Eye website, it will help you so much with your new camera!

      1. Ian Kitney

        Oh yea, Itruly have the best wife. I have been studying the photos on here and also follow you and quite a few others on 500px. Truly inspirational stuff, and I have already learnt so much… thank you

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          1. Ian Kitney

            Yip already following on FB and Twitter 🙂 Oh I would be blown away alright!! I sent you an email, thanks

  3. Meredith Lea Bailey

    Marlon, you are not only a remarkable photographer, you are a poignant thinker and eloquent writer. We share the same passion and drive for fine tuning our talents. Your ambition is evident in your work. I look forward to the great fortune of enjoying your inspirational images. Many blessings to you.

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      Marlon duToit

      Meredith why thank you indeed! I so enjoy writing and trying to put onto paper that which is in my heart. I look forward to staying in touch and perhaps having you on one of my safaris in the not-too-distant future 🙂

  4. Jakes

    That is so true and as a nature and photographic fanatic, I am greatful to each and every one that take time to like or comment or take the time to view my images and take time to reply to my comments. These include the team from Wild Eye, Mark and Dryzie and Neal Cooper from CNP. Then there are people in photographic groups that would never make an attempt to like or comment and looking at their work, it remains the same, nothing different, nothing new, that might be the reason they don’t take time to comment, they might have lost that dimension of art,

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