Photographic Opportunities in Camp

Andrew Beck All Authors, Andrew 4 Comments

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.

Sunrise on the Busanga Plains, Zambia

Edge of an Aloe leaf taken whilst at Umlani Bushcamp, Timbavati, South Africa

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.

Rock textures from Sabi Sabi, South Africa

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.

Vervet Monkey at Chitabe Camp, Okavango Delta

Vervet Monkey at Chitabe Camp, Okavango Delta

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.

Pel’s Fishing Owl, Pelo Camp, Okavango Delta

One one of the departures, we even had a chick in a nest right outside one of the rooms.

Pel’s Fishing Owl, Pelo Camp, Okavango Delta

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.

African Scops Owl, Timbavati, South Africa

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!

Elephant Bull Crossing a channel infront of Pelo Camp in the Okavango Delta

Camps will also have a lot of plants and vegetation which can provide some neat opportunities.

Palm Frond at Pelo Camp, Okavango Delta

Day Lilly at Little Vumbura Camp, Okavango Delta

Lilly Pad at Little Vumbura Camp, Okavango Delta

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.

Insects moving above a warm light at Chitabe camp, Okavango Delta

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.

Mobile Camp setup in the Khwai region of Botswana

The Milky Way captured after dark in the Khwai Region of Moremi national Park, Botswana

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.

Full Moon Rising over the Chitake River bed, Mana Pools, Zimbabwe

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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About the Author

Andrew Beck

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Very few people can tell you what their passion in life is. Even fewer will be able to tell you that what they do for a living is in fact their passion. My love for the bush and conservation took me on journey which would not only allow me to explore the continent which fascinates me so much, but to share my passion for photography and conservation with others. Be sure to check out my my website and instagram account.

Comments 4

  1. Mike Haworth

    Great post Andrew!
    I agree there is always something going on around camp. This provides you with an opportunity to take a closer look at something which catches your interest and perhaps would not interest someone else. The intriguing thing is that these camp – surround images can be like pieces of a larger jigsaw puzzle which you only see later in the quiet when you are editing. I think it teaches you to look and more importantly to see shapes, patterns and colours. It is also a golden opportunity to try out new ideas.
    I wish you and your team mates at Wild Eye a very successful 2018.
    Have fun, Mike

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      Andrew Beck

      Thanks so much Mike!

      I agree entirely, being able to get out on foot and change angles and positions and even influence ambient light makes for almost endless opportunities. Lets catch up for a coffee again soon once the dust has settled!

  2. Ken Haley

    Good advice and really nice shots Andrew. These days I always try to get some shots from my surroundings to include in slideshows to share with friends – it makes for much more interest than a procession of safari animal shots.

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