Listen to your Photographic Voice

Gerry van der Walt All Authors, Penny 4 Comments

The amount of times I have gotten to a great sighting, but not a great photographic one, has been often.

Well, thinking that they were not photographic was an inaccurate perception.

Up until a few months ago, if I couldn’t get a clean shot of my subject or have it face me at some angle, I would take a few ‘shooting for the sake of shooting’ shots and then put my camera down.

After dropping guests off at the Mara Serena Airstrip in the Mara Triangle last year during the Extended Great Migration Photo Safari, I was able to get much needed one-on-one time and advice from Gerry as we headed back to camp.

Helping me to find my photographic voice and, more importantly, listen to it and be aware of why I am picking up my camera, has really helped me advance in my photography.

It is great to see and feel the growth of my images from where I was this time last year.

My point to all the above?

There is one indeed. And a pretty important one…

Every time I now see a sighting, I listen to the photographic and creative ‘voice’ in my head as I look in earnest at the scene in front of me for what it is, not what I want it to be. By doing that, I have found that I am now more aware of the possible photographic opportunities and moments that are ever present.

Below is an image I took at Lake Nakuru in mid February.

Instead of waiting for the Waterbuck to move out from behind the trees, I shot through them and used them to create and add to the story that I saw and wanted to portray.

© Penny Robartes - Wildlife and Nature Photographer

If I had waited for the Waterbuck to move out from behind the trees and then taken the photograph, I still could have taken a nice image – mist hanging over the Lake in the early morning, beautiful blue light, a great silent and calm atmosphere was created..

But it wouldn’t have had as much of an impact, or told as much of a story. The one above is more intimate, secretive…It leaves more up to one’s personal interpretation of the subject by the fact that it is hidden, and encourages each individual viewer to read their own story in it.

By paying attention to what is going on in your head as you take the image, and why you are taking it, it can add a lot more depth to your image; visually and through your story, as you become more aware of the impact of these tools.

Penny Robartes


Comments 4

  1. Penny Robartes

    Its my pleasure Judy! It was invaluable advice for me and i know there are many people who would love to receive the same.

    Thank you for the compliment, and i hope your photographic journey is one filled with passion, fun, inspiration and growth!

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