How picky are you when it comes to your wildlife photography?
Looking around on Facebook, Flickr and other social sharing sites I see a lot of images which has wild – or apparently wild – animals as the subject but something just does not feel right. I am not talking about images of lions and tigers in zoos and then passing it off wildlife photography as that is a topic for a different time. I am talking about images taken in wildlife reserves that still just does not feel right. Images that do not quite feel wild and natural.
One of the most common problems, as that is what I see it as, is the inclusion of fences, power lines and other man made structures.
Seeing an image of a free roaming lion with massive power lines or a fence behind it just does not quite cut it. For me it takes all the romance of Africa out of the image. It reminds your viewer of the human influence over nature.
Just for the record, I am not talking about travel photograph images or images in which you try and show people the context of your sightings or how close the lion came to the lodge as that is something completely different. I am referring specifically to wildlife images. Images of animals in their natural environment.
Now where should we draw the line? Fences? Buildings? What about all the roads that have been created for us to access all these wonderful places?
Does including a man made road in your images influence the image as much as the inclusion of something solid like a fence?
Whenever I pick up my camera to photograph wildlife one of the items on my mental checklist is to scan the image to make sure that I have not included anything that could influence my image. Excluding items is a way more powerful tool in photography than including.
To me wildlife photography is about capturing and sharing the beauty of nature as it once was and as it should be. The goal is to keep a little bit of the raw, romantic elements of the Africa we all grew up with. Even the smallest hint of human interference can change the mood, look and feel of an image completely.
So my question to you is this. When considering whether to include or exclude certain human elements from a frame, where do you draw the line?
Until next time.
Gerry van der Walt
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