When The Photography Bug Bites

Gerry van der Walt Uncategorized Leave a Comment

Meet Tim.

Gerry van der Walt - Wild Eye - Photo Safaris

Tim is a part of our Wild Eye East Africa guiding team and the way he sees his world recently changed.  Big time!

Many of our guides in Kenya take images with their phones but often this is just when a subject is really close.  This has been happening for a good 3 years now but this year something was different.  The guys were taking more images and were trying to capture some of the amazing sightings we had regardless of distance.  Jimmy ended up with one of our guest’s cameras and for a good week photographed with us and the guests and in this time he produced some pretty awesome images.  I will share some of his images and more of the other guides as soon as I get them from the guests.

For now back to Tim.

We were sitting in a sighting where a pride of lions were feeding on a fresh hippo kill.  The interaction around the kill was pretty spectacular and while one male was chasing vultures from the kill the other male kept a close eye on one of the females as she continuously chased one of the younger females all over the place.  Great sighting and great photography.

During the sighting, which we sat with for a good 2 hours, Tim was trying to shoot images on his phone.  Shoot, check, pinch to zoom, shoot again, check again and so on.

It was then that we made a plan to give him some extra reach and it is at this moment that the photography bug bit him. Hard.

Our set up was crude yet effective.

A bean bag, binoculars and Tim’s phone.

Gerry van der Walt - Wild Eye - Photo Safaris

I wish I had an image of the moment Tim took his first image with his brand new ‘zoom lens’ and looked up at me.  It was absolutely priceless!

The binocular-phone trick is not a new one but for someone in Tim’s position it is a game changer.  When I met with the guides up at the staff area at camp Tim was showing everybody his images and sending them to friends and family.  It is one of the most real and unfiltered photography related moments of excitement I have seen and I felt proud to have been involved in Tim finding his photographic voice.

For the next few days Tim was trying new things and shooting with us in most sightings.  What was great to see, and this goes for all our guides, Tim would, without us asking, make sure we were in the correct position first before getting his ‘gear’ out to shoot.

Gerry van der Walt - Wild Eye - Photo Safaris

When I looked at some of Tim’s images I was suitably impressed with what he has been able to do with his phone and ‘zoom lens’ and I was very very impressed to see that he was listening to all the tuition and photographic discussions we have with guests in the vehicle.  From catching the S-curve of water when a giraffe drinks to including the lions behind buffalo to tell a story.  He also started asking very relevant questions with regards to exposure and composition.

Here are a few of Tim’s images, all taken with his phone and binocular combo, and with no processing done whatsoever!

[gdl_gallery title=”Tim-Pics” width=”175″ height=”175″ ]

It did however not stop there.

The next day I was in another one of our vehicles and when we stopped next to Tim I saw this.

Gerry van der Walt - Wild Eye - Photo Safaris

With the help of his guests Tim now had a full setup and was ready to shoot as and when needed.  The guests absolutely loved Tim’s new found passion.

After a breakfast out in the field later that morning we were sitting on the floor photographing the chaotic scenes of Vultures and Maribu Storks around an old carcass.  Roberto decided to move to a different lens and the next moment Tim found himself with some heavy artillery photographing the Vultures.

Gerry van der Walt - Wild Eye - Photo Safaris

We had a good laugh as Tim commented on how heavy the 500mm lens was but that did not make him put it down.   He was in his element!

For those of you who will be joining me for the Big Cats & Tuskers photo safari in February 2015 or for our 2015 Great Migration Photo Safaris you might just see all our guides with their own cameras as I am going to make it my personal project to get these guys set up.  They see such amazing things on a regular basis and it would be great to see content from their part of the world!

As with any safari, photographic or otherwise, your local guide plays an integral part in creating memorable experiences and we are extremely proud of Jimmy, Sammy, James and Tim who continue to go above and beyond to change the way people see East Africa.

Now, with the added interest in photography I am sure that the experience of being out in the field with our Wild Eye East Africa guides will be even better and a shared interest in photography and the wonders of nature will be the cornerstones on which we build lifelong memories.

Gerry van der Walt - Wild Eye - Photo Safaris

Until next time.

Gerry van der Walt 

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Comments 0

  1. Nancy Anderson

    This is a really nice blog. It was very exciting to see Tim and Jimmy get the bug! I’ll send you some of Jimmy’s pictures. I’m so happy that they’re all getting cameras.

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      1. Jon Bryant

        Gerry, this is a wonderful story and I had a similar idea. Maybe a crowd funding platform could help Tim starting out? The next phase in Tim’s adventure would in its own right make a fabulous story…

  2. Lyn Leader

    What in incredibly inspiring story – We were truly delighted and absolutely amazed at their dedication each day to make sure we got to photograph anything we had mentioned as “Now that would be an awesome bucket list photo for sure” – they then proceeded to try and supply this sighting the very next day…….this cannot be a Bucket List adventure of a lifetime – it has got to be something we save up for and do every couple of years from now on. Thank you Wild Eye for this incredible experience.

  3. Dee Roeofsz

    Absolutely fab story, how uplifting! It’s sad that with many a safari adventure the guides are often the “unnoticed & under appreciated” backbone to the whole thing. I think Zoe’s idea is fantastic & would also be more than happy to contribute – you cannot let such a newly ignited passion go unfed!

  4. Guy

    Tim was our driver during this safari and we loved helping him with his photographic passion, great trip guys, you have spoilt us for the rest of our African trip. Guy & Helen

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      Thanks for the comment Guy! Was amazing having you guys on the trip and look forward to sharing another adventure with you in future! Thanks for also helping Tim with his photography. I think we have created a monster! 😉

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