Trip Report: Madikwe Wildlife Photography Workshop

Gerry van der Walt All Authors, Gerry Leave a Comment

“Consider the look and feel of your images beyond just getting the exposure right.”

“The cliche comes not in what you shoot but how you shoot it.”

These are two of the quotes that I included on the top of the notes I put together for our Madikwe Wildlife Photography Workshop.  A workshop is about sharing thoughts, trying different things and learning new techniques while having a lot of practical time to practise.

A small group size of only 3 photographers make for a very intimate and focused learning experience and combined with an out of this world game viewing experience the photographic and learning opportunities on these workshops are truly amazing!

Creating better wildlife images is not always about getting your images sharper or exposed correctly.  Yes, these things are important but to truly create better, more evocative images you need to shoot images that make people see what you saw.  To feel what you felt.

The underground hide at Bush House is without a doubt one of the most spectacular hides I have been to and gives you up close and very personal wildlife photography opportunities.  There was one period of 5 hours where we had elephants at the water non-stop.  Literally!  As you can imagine, the images and experience is second to none. Apart from the hide the incredible service of the Bush House was, as always, next level and there was never a moment where we wanted for anything and we could focus completely on our photography.  Thanks a lot to Gordon and Sue and the entire team for again creating an amazing experience for our guests!

Now, this workshop is not a course where we set out to talk about shutter speeds and how to get sharper images even though this is covered along the way.

We set out to create stronger images and images that speak to firstly you as the photographer – because that is the most important thing – and then people out there who view your work.  More often than not a sharper image will not necessarily be a better image but stronger composition or story telling in a frame will definitely make a difference!

In order to get people to think slightly out of the box I pulled together a number of themes which we slowly worked through during the weekend.  These included:

  • Negative Space is Not Negative
  • Back to Basics on Backgrounds
  • Ears Forward
  • Create Depth with Layers
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By discussing these and other approaches both from a technical but more importantly artistically and creative point of view Phil, Veronica and Ockie set out to photograph wildlife.  Really photograph wildlife.

Here is a small selection of images from each of them.

Image Gallery – Phil

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Image Gallery – Ockie

[gdl_gallery title=”MWP-Okkie” width=”125″ height=”125″ ]

Image Gallery – Veronica

[gdl_gallery title=”MWP-Veronica” width=”125″ height=”125″ ]

Very impressive collection for a 3 night workshop don’t you think?

The action around the waterhole was so hectic that Phil pushed through until 03:30 every morning and got some incredible evening shots as well.  Definitely worth the effort!

In between the hide sessions and game drives we spent time working on Lightroom paying specific attention to selecting the best images to process and, as a specific exercise, how to do stunning monochrome conversions in Lightroom.

A huge thanks to Phil, Veronica and Ockie for joining me in Madikwe for this amazing workshop.  It was great to share the incredible experience with you and I wish you well with your wildlife photography journey!

Wild Eye Photography Workshops

I will be sharing more about the Bush House hide and this workshop when I get back from the Mara.  I have loads of posts lined up which includes some video tutorials, a destination review on Zimanga, where Phil and I photographed this week, as well as updates from the greatest wildlife spectacle on earth!

I’ll be posting from the field updates to my Instagram feed as well as Twitter and will try and get a few blog posts out as well.

Until next time.

Gerry van der Walt

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