Trip Report: Wildlife Photography Course, 13 to 15 May 2016

Johan van Zyl All Authors, Johan 1 Comment

This last weekend (13-15 May) saw us host our second Wildlife Photography Course of the year at Cheetah Ridge, in the Nambiti Game Reserve, presented by Andrew.

With the weekend guaranteed to be action packed, we all met at Cheetah Ridge on the Friday (which just so happened to be the 13th, luckily no bad luck) and after a quick introduction to the lodge and our rooms it was time for the first theory session.

One of the first points we try and get across to our guests is, it is not about the camera, but what you do with it.  So often we meet people chasing gear, making sure they are getting the newest, best camera on the market.


Understanding your current camera and what you can do with it, THAT will give you better, more creative images.  As soon as you understand what your current camera can do, and the possible shortfalls it might have, THEN you can look at possibly upgrading to whatever you feel necessary for what you are going to photograph.

We covered an incredible amount of information on the technical side of photography from Apertures, Shutter Speeds, ISO’s to manually selecting focal points etc, and before we knew it, it was time to try it out practically on our afternoon game drive.


Alistair and Patrick in action, Photographed by Tamara Murris

Day 2 saw us getting up bright and early for our morning game drive, to again put all the valuable lessons learnt into practice.  We were treated to some beautiful sightings, and with Andrew’s constant advice on settings and composition, all our clients managed to walk away with some beautiful images.


A beautiful image captured by Patrick Duncan.




Steve, our Guide, and manager of Cheetah Ridge, hooking us up with a morning Coffee.


Another beautiful image by Patrick Duncan

After our morning drive we indulged in a hearty breakfast (all the meals at Cheetah Ridge are AMAZING), before getting stuck into some more theory.  The second theory session consisted of in-camera settings for Wildlife Photography and Back-Button focussing (if you’re not sure about back-button focussing, get in touch, it’s a game changer).  We also discussed RAW vs JPEG images and quickly touched on Lightroom before it was time to head out on Game Drive again.


THIS is one of the things we bring not only to the course, but to our safaris as well.  Changing the way you see your photography and creating something out of nothing.  Great image and use of Radial blur Patrick!

DSC_0055Another great use of slow shutter speeds when the light is not in your favour.  Image taken by Patrick Duncan.



On our last morning we had time for one final game drive before returning for another mouth watering breakfast, going over any final questions and wrapping up.


Another well deserved coffee stop, with the magnificent views of Nambiti in the background.

Once again thank you to everyone for joining us and to all the staff at Cheetah Ridge for the amazing couple of days.

I will be back at Cheetah Ridge on the 19-21 August, hosting our next Wildlife Photography course.  Be sure to get in touch if you would like to take your Photography to the next level.

Till next time.


About the Author

Johan van Zyl


The opportunity of visiting some of the wildest, undisturbed areas and sharing my passion for wildlife, conservation and photography with like minded people is a privilege that I am forever grateful.

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