We always encourage our guests to maximise their photographic opportunities whilst on safari and that often means that there is very little down time in camp in-between game drives. With that being said, when you do get a break there are some great photographic opportunities for those who take the time to explore their surroundings.
Even as the sun rises, you may be lucky enough to capture something special right outside your room.
There are of course a number of benefits to photographing in camp, the biggest being that you can be on foot (within reason and obviously still exercising a fair amount of caution). This means that you can try different angles and approaches to capture your subjects.
Obviously certain regions and camps will provide more opportunities than others but I have yet to be disappointed. Camps often attract wildlife and, after being exposed to people and noise for an extended period of time, your subjects can be fairly relaxed allowing you to experiment quite a bit.
Last year guests joining me for both of our Botswana Wilderness safaris were able to photograph a very relaxed Pel’s Fishing Owl, a real treat for any photographer.
One one of the departures, we even had a chick in a nest right outside one of the rooms.
If you take the time and look carefully in trees around camps you will often find owls. They may not always be immediately obvious so you’ll have to look carefully to find some of them like this Scops Owl we photographed in the Timbavati.
Listen out for alarm calls of smaller birds like Starlings and Drongo’s, they will often give away the location of owls and other birds of prey.
Many lodges and camps will overlook a waterhole which is an obvious drawcard and potential to photograph wildlife in the middle of the day. You never know what may pop up to be sure to keep your camera close by!
Camps will also have a lot of plants and vegetation which can provide some neat opportunities.
The opportunities don’t stop after sunset either. Camp lights will attract a lot of insects during the summer months and, if you get a bit creative, you can capture some interesting shots using the camp lights.
In the more remote and rustic camps, lights out means cameras out as one gets the opportunity to capture the night skies in all their glory.
And, if you’re incredibly lucky, you may jus get an opportunity to capture something completely different right in front of camp. The full moon, an elephant cow and calf, and the night skies all came together in this scene captured during a stay at Chitake Springs in Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools last year.
I’ve set somewhat of a personal goal to capture more of camp life whilst on safari in 2018 and this applies to both the guests as well as wildlife in camp. I’m excited to see what grabs my attention but if this collection of images is anything to go by, there is loads of untapped potential in every camp that one visits.
So, don’t fixate on the big and hairy’s out there. be prepared to explore and capture each and every opportunity that presents itself, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem at the time.
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