“Ah its ok”, “I just got lucky”, “Yes but its not as good as..”, “It could be better..”, “I wish I did this differently..”, “I’m just not getting it right..”, “I’m just not good enough”..
Do you find yourself saying things like this when out on photographic safari? Or have you heard others saying things like this? Either way, if you have heard or said these sorts of things before, then this blog post is for you.
A large part of anyone’s safari experience, is the ability to manage your individual safari expectations, and not to be too concerned with the experiences of others around you.
Without wanting anybody to act selfishly, it is necessary to recognize the value in understanding what YOU would like to achieve on a safari.
Perhaps it is merely human nature to compare ourselves to others, or perhaps in an attempt to continually improve, it is the inherent competitive nature within us all that leads us to be so focused on comparing our individual goals and aspirations with those of others?
Either way, when it comes to your individual development as a photographer, this kind of comparison can only ever lead to disappointment, and the failure to recognize your own successes. Make no mistake, I think looking up to others and gaining inspiration from their work is vitally important in nurturing your creative eye when on the lookout for scenes and subjects to photograph, but the minute you do so at the expense of your own self recognition, it becomes a problem.
The reality is that whether or not you are a total beginner, an amateur, passionate wildlife photographic enthusiast, or even professional, every one of us is on an individual photographic journey, and one that shouldn’t be constantly compared to the journey of others.
I can guarantee that those who gain the most from a photographic safari of any kind, are those who are comfortable with where they are on their own journey, and those who recognize their own personal progression. All too often I have witnessed people becoming disappointed, frustrated and even depressed to the point where they no longer wish to share their photographs with anybody, out of fear that their photographs will be judged or disliked. Not only does this defeat the purpose of joining a photographic safari, it also eliminates the most important element of all… the ability to simply have fun!
It may be more difficult in a group scenario where there are a number of photographers together, experiencing similar sightings and editing their photos all at once, but all the more reason to embrace the process. Share photographs, share stories and experiences, congratulate others on phenomenal captures, assist others who perhaps didn’t capture a scene as well and embrace the communal nature of a group photo safari, but don’t do so at the expense of serving your own journey. Take the time to be selfish when you need to be.
An easy way to stay focused on your own goals, is to remind yourself of your expectations for the safari, and if you have not formulated expectations, I would encourage you to do so prior to departure. These goals may be as broad as wanting to improve as a wildlife photographer, or they may be as specific as wanting to improve on capturing images making use of particular photographic techniques such as panning and intentional camera movement. Whatever your goals may be, be sure to stick to them irrespective of those around you.
The team of guides at Wild Eye is focused on tailor-making each safari experience at a very personal and individual level, to ensure that everyone achieves what they have set out to achieve on their personal photographic journey.
- Formulate your own expectations prior to departing on a safari
- Take the time to recognize where you are on your photographic journey
- Be inspired by others, but don’t try to be someone or something that you are not
- Accept where you are, and be clear about where you would like to be
- Embrace the communal environment associated with group photographic safaris
- Take the time to remind yourself that you are there to progress on an individual level as a photographer
- Dont forget to simply have fun, and enjoy your safari experience!
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