We keep on worrying about the equipment we use.
Some people worry about it so much that they don’t actually worry about where they are going as much as what they are gong with.
I have had conversations with photographers who would rather spend a bucket load of money to upgrade their already fantastic camera to the newer model, to be released any day now, rather than travel to new destinations to get new images and experiences.
If I have a D3s and I have been shooting the same area for a long time – why would I want spend money, upgrade to a D4 and continue shooting the same area and subjects?
Oh yes, of course. My mistake…
The moment you upgrade to the new body your photography ability and images will all get better in relation to how much you actually spent on the new gear. Right?
Ok, moving one…
We discussed this topic in the office a few days ago and we were pretty unanimous in our conclusion – it’s not about the gear, it’s about the destination.
I would personally rather spend money to visit a place like the Masai Mara without a camera rather than paying the same amount of money to upgrade to the latest must-have camera and keep on visiting somewhere like Marievale or the Pilanesberg and keep on photographic the same scenes and subjects I have for years.
Being out in the field with a camera is fantastic – it’s what we live for – but it is just as much about the experience of being out there.
Right, I have kind of digressed from where I wanted to go with this blog post so let’s try and get it back on track.
Check out this image.
What camera and lens combo do you think this image was taken with?
It does not matter!
This could have been a Nikon D800 with a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens or a Canon 1Dx with a 500mm f/4 – you just cannot tell the difference and that’s the point.
You could have used any gear to take this shot but I am sure you will agree that you will most definitely not be able to get an image like this in the Sabi Sands, Namibia or Botswana.
This image screams East Africa and migration and if you want to get shots like this you have to go there. There is just no way around it.
The point is this – in order to create a well rounded portfolio of wildlife and nature images you need to travel. You need to get to different places, see new areas and photograph different reserves and subjects.
Think about it.
If I ask you where the best place would be to photograph leopard you’re not necessarily going to say Madikwe.
Best place to photograph Wild Dog? I doubt you’re going to answer Pilanesberg.
Pangolin? Good luck with that!
If you are going to keep on visiting and shooting the same area again and again and again your portfolio of images will not grow. No cancel that. It might grow but it will grow very slowly.
Once you start looking around at options and different destinations you will see how the environment and ‘feel’ of an area will give your images a unique and authentic look and by doing so create diversity in your portfolio.
Check out these example.
The red dunes and Oryx can only mean one place – Kgalagadi!
Hippo grazing next to the river, lush vegetation in the background – Chobe!
You can see Wild Dogs in many reserves but one place always comes to mind – Madikwe!
Elephants, dusty sunsets. Yes, you could get lucky but for a good chance at shots like this – Tuli!
So, if you are keen on wildlife photography and you are wrestling with the decision of buying new equipment or visiting an amazing new destination my advise to you on this cloudy Thursday morning is… travel!!
Use your old camera if you must – it’s not bad just because there are newer models out there – and go to different places.
See and photograph different areas.
Until next time.
Gerry van der Walt[divider scroll_text=”Go to Top”]