Penny Robartes - Madikwe

Why I’m writing FGASA – from a photo guide point of view

Gerry van der Walt All Authors, Penny 3 Comments

Taking guests out to various safari destinations to experience the area, photograph the animals that call these places home, learn about the environment and explain the characteristics and behaviour of the animals is just a few aspects on what we offer on our photo safaris.

In order to provide this service to our guests, knowledge on the area and its wildlife that we are guiding in is imperative.

How else as a photographic guide are you able to start looking at setting up shots for your guests, anticipating when action is going to occur, or when a lion is just not going to open it’s eyes and make any form of movement for the next couple of hours.

Having joined the Wild Eye team in 2013, the awareness that knowing about animal behaviour and the environment that you are shooting in came across like a slap in the face. Adapting this to my photography, my images improved in my eyes dramatically as not only was I able to start capturing the essence of my subjects, but I was starting to see and identify their many unique characteristics and explore this.

Penny Robartes - Amboseli

So why am I writing my FGASA?

Well apart from the many other reasons for it the most relevant one would be for the photo guiding point of view.

A photographic host is a guide with knowledge on photography and one who’s knowledge and expertise is given to inspire you, teach you aspects of photography that you may not have known, considered or had the opportunity to master, and open you up to the vast possibilities on the creative side.

While this is all happening, the guide is also there to encourage you on your own personal photographic journey and tap into your creative vision.

Penny Robartes - Madikwe

But that is definitely not all.

Being out in the field with your guide, how is she/he meant to help you achieve all the above without a strong base knowledge of the environment you are in and the animals that are a part of it?

How is your guide meant to line up shots when they don’t know the behaviour of your subject? How can you capture the essence of the subject, or start looking at it with ‘new’ eyes when your photographic guide has no knowledge on it?

Although I know a lot about the subjects I photograph and the areas I go to, just like photography, there is always so much more one can learn. So much more of an experience I can give my guests than just a photographic outing in the bush.

Penny Robartes - Amboseli

By writing my FGASA, not only can fully combine my two passions – photography and wildlife – but the experience I can create for my guests, the knowledge I can give them while on safari… well… there is no restriction on that.

Penny Robartes - Masai Mara

I look forward to having you join me as we explore our natural world at a deeper sense and capture it on a safari together.

I look forward to changing the way you see the world.


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About the Author

Gerry van der Walt

I am a private and specialist photographic safari guide, public speaker, co founder of Wild Eye and wildlife photographer. Visit my website at or follow my journey on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter a look forward to changing the way you see the world.  I also host a Wildlife Photography Podcast and I Vlog!

Comments 3

  1. Joni Munsterteiger

    Can’t wait to go on safari with you! I have never met a group that I feel more accepted into and encouraged by ,that have the same interests and love of wildlife even though we are a world apart. I hope that I can capture the beauty of your country just as all of you have posted. I feel like I love Africa and its wildlife more now than when I first envisioned ever coming there–you guys really do change how people see the world, and I am not even there yet. Thanks!!

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    2. Penny Robartes

      Thanks so much for the amazing words Joni! It is going to a fantastic safari and like Gerry said, an amazing experience.

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