Quality vs Quantity

Morkel Erasmus All Authors, Morkel 2 Comments

It’s such a cliche in many areas of life, but it’s also something to consider when going on a photographic safari…

Do you go with the intention to capture as MANY images as possible in the allotted time-span? I guess this could be the case if it’s your first time in Africa, for example, and there’s nothing wrong with firing away (your camera shutter, not your gun!) at every sighting and species you encounter.

Or, do you go with the intention to capture a couple of really good additions to your overall portfolio – some real KEEPERS? With this option in mind, you might not get to experience as many sightings as with the first option. Why is that?

Well – if you opt for quantity you may find yourself driving around looking for a great variety of opportunities. If you opt for quality, you may find yourself sitting at a specific sighting for hours on end in the hope of something happening. If you opt for quantity, you may end up empty-handed if it’s all dependent on the behaviour of the subject you are photographing or the outcome of specific weather predictions to provide the kind of atmosphere/light you envision.

Case in point: one afternoon during our Great Migration photo safari last year in Kenya.

We spotted a lioness asleep in a tree (they do that in the Mara, eh) when we set out on our afternoon drive. It was still early in the afternoon, with lots of “potential” out there to come across different sightings and capture many images…but without fail all our guests opted to sit it out with the lioness.

Why?

Well – from observing this particular pride’s behaviour over the years the Wild Eye guides knew that it was fairly certain that she would descend the tree later in the afternoon to join up with the rest of her pride. Exactly when that would happen was up for debate and speculation  –  but we all hoped it happened before we had to be back in our camp at nightfall!

Hence we all picked a position relative to the tree she was lying in. Marlon and I guided our local guides to position the vehicles relative to the fall of light, the specific backdrop we wanted our guests to have in the image, all kinds of considerations that make a photographic safari and guidance from a dedicated photographic guide such a big plus.

This was our view as we waited…

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It was quite hazy, and I specifically wanted the pink hazy sky behind her at sunset. I also wanted her to actually get up and descend the tree when the sky had that pink hue. We can be so demanding, eh?

Well – sometimes, sometimes, things pan out. This was one of those times.

Our guests all got a great sequence of images as she bounded down the tree. And the sky was slightly pink as the sun was setting.

High 5’s all around!

lioness_tree_1_Mara_2014

None of us filled our memory cards with an array of images that afternoon.

But all of us got a set of 10 or so pretty special images of this very cooperative lioness.

And all of us had big smiles on our faces.

Patience, preparation, and luck – three key ingredients into a fulfilling afternoon of wildlife photography.

Until next time…

Morkel

About the Author

Morkel Erasmus

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Just a regular guy, camera in hand, overcome by the beauty of the African continent, and passionate about sharing this beauty with others!

Comments 2

  1. Martha Myers

    I could not agree more, Morkel. Last year, during the Extended Migration, we sat for what seemed like hours, in the rain, waiting the the much anticipated head shake of the cheetah, which would send droplets of rain flying. Well, he did shake, twice. And I missed each one of them [one has to be fast on the draw]. Yet I would not have changed a thing, as I captured an image of the most miserable looking sopping-wet cheetah. A keeper for my portfolio? Probably not. But a keeper for the memory that, to this day, warms my heart? You bet!

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