Oh The Places I Will Go…

Gerry van der Walt All Authors, Penny 12 Comments

Nature and art have always seemed to be complimentary elements to each other. For me to discover a passion for photography seemed inevitable. My love for the Wilderness has always been an accepted certainty. My need to capture it, an absolute.

Penny Robartes - Nature Photographer - Wild Eye

After I studied photography online and received a diploma, I didn’t quite know where to go to start exploring this new and exciting opportunity that I had available to me.

What do I do now with the photographic theory that I have newly attained? Do I just gung-ho to the bush and spend my time taking photographs of the Wilderness? I couldn’t have thought of a better idea, until I was gently persuaded into furthering my studies in order to get the theory and practical experience and knowledge that hands-on tutoring could offer.

After some time considering my options – the first being that I had no money to my name so financing my travels would be a hurdle that I couldn’t quite see a way of getting over, the second concerning where I could get a job in the field that I love? Questions of my lack of experience were not far in following.

I agreed to study further.

Penny Robartes - Nature Photographer - Wild Eye

After a year’s course of learning and practicing different photographic genres and technicalities, my love for nature photography was (and is) as raw as it ever was. Biting at the bit, I was more focused than ever before to get into the wildlife photography industry.

The excitement that I felt when I was able to participate in a photographic workshop at Tuli Nature Reserve hosted and taught by Wild Eye was uncontainable. The experience was even more overwhelming. I was doing exactly what I’ve always wanted to do.

But don’t get me wrong. Although I was (and still am) excited to be in the nature photography industry, the challenges that I faced and became aware of during the workshop were quite daunting at times.

I guess that one of the main challenges that I faced in the transition from studying photography to its application in photographing animals in the wild is the lack of a physical control over the subject, and to a degree, the environment.

Taking my sweet time to manually change my aperture and shutter speed, to creating the composition that I could be proud of was just not really an option when a bird was about to fly off, or an elephant was on a mission to walk behind a tree to hide, conveying it’s clear disagreement of being interrupted in its general day-to-day occurrences.

To remember and understand the animal’s behavior and get the image, or get as close to what I wanted, in what felt like milliseconds…is it possible?

Penny Robartes - Nature Photographer - Wild Eye

At times I couldn’t understand how my fellow photographers were getting these perfectly composed photographs with their subjects being framed so beautifully, while I felt like I was coming across trigger-happy and maniacal and, lets be honest, this occurring more often than not. Frustration was always sitting just behind me, mocking me with the reminders that I studied photography, so why wasn’t I producing work to the standard that I used to?

Penny Robartes - Nature Photographer - Wild Eye

I began to realize that a lot of what I was taught was not that necessary or usable for the type of photography I wanted to go into. Of course the technical knowledge was and is indispensable  but a course on and understanding of digital photography and how to photograph wildlife would have been more than valuable in the immediate and long run for me.

Yes, it sounds like I am complaining but this is really not the case. I personally feel that in quite a lot of ways, studying photography has benefitted me. I don’t think I can quite formulate how my creativity has flourished and how I now push myself to capture the world in as different and new a way as possible. I am constantly trying to challenge myself in these ways, as that is what and how I have been taught.

So ask me to apply this to the nature photography industry? How can I not be excited? Challenge accepted.

Penny Robartes - Nature Photographer - Wild Eye

In summation to what I have written, I think that the benefits of studying photography and then applying that knowledge depends on the place you have studied at and the teachers. I had positive, tough, motivated teachers. All in all they are fantastic photographers, enablers, and people.

Where I could have come back from my experience in the Wilderness and thrown down the towel in defeat and gone back to taking pictures in a genre that I do well in, I am more focused now than ever to succeed and immerse myself in the photographic genre that I want to be a part of; nature.

My studies have taught me valuable knowledge of the camera.

Now I will let the Wilderness and my “Wild” eye to teach me how to capture its self.

Penny Robartes - Nature Photographer - Wild Eye

Penny Robartes

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Comments 12

  1. Andrew

    Great insight into a feeling that I am sure many people can relate to Penny. Well done!

    Looking forward to working with you and seeing you capture raw nature in all its beauty…

  2. Sabine

    Great to hear that you are part of the Wild Eye team now! I can imagine that this is an exciting start into the new year!
    And if ever you need somebody to share the accomodation on a safari – just contact me…. 🙂

  3. Richard

    Wonderful to see that you are part of the Wild-Eye team, super cool forest pic and blog. Really looking forward to future blogs.

  4. Beryl Parker

    I am very excited for you ! I would like to go on at least one Safari where you will be facilitating!
    The Bug has bitten!
    Will look forward to future blogs.

  5. Beryl Parker

    Having read your comments it is a ” Dream ” come true for you. I look forward to going on a Safari with you facilitating in the future. The Bug has bitten.
    Look forward to more blogs.

  6. Pingback: What I Have, What I Have Seen, My Journey Towards the Wild - Wild Eye Photography

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