Use Your Local Training Ground

Morkel Erasmus All Authors, Morkel 3 Comments

We’re all dreaming of those “epic” safari trips we want to undertake – but in reality, for most of us, that happens once a year (and if you’re fortunate, 2-3 times a year).

Does that mean you can only do proper wildlife photography during those rare trips?

Of course not.

Within the Southern African nature photography fraternity there are a lot of folks who focus (excuse the pun) their efforts on birds alone. I’ve chatted to some photographers who just feel mammals are overall a bit boring!

Each to his own.

Bird photography can certainly give you more of a thrill than sleeping lions… birds are often active all day and capturing them in flight provides a great challenge to the budding nature photographer.

Point is – when you can only do so much “wildlife” photography in a year – it’s probably a good idea to hone your skills on the local birdlife in your area. Photographing birds helps you stay sharp, experiment with things like panning technique, and help you come to grips with the intimate and intricate details of your camera(s) and lens(es) so that you are prepared  and have a better chance not to miss the crucial shot when you’re in the thick of the action at that cheetah kill sighting you dream about.

Even if you couldn’t care less about the birds themselves – see this as a valuable training ground to get to know the working of the fall of light on a subject, the intricacies of exposing for detail in darker subjects or white subjects, the nuances of what makes for a striking pose…

Here are some of the common species found around most urban areas in Southern Africa.

cattle_egret_water_1_2012

sacred_ibis_flyby_1_2012

reed_cormorant_2_Marievale_2012

yellow_billed_duck_3

spoonbill_interaction_1_2011

So what are you waiting for?

Find your local birding hotspots/wetlands/rookeries – and start practicing!

You might just develop into a passionate “twitcher” and ditch the mammals altogether once you’ve found the thrill of trying to capture diving kingfishers!

See you at the bird hide…

 

Morkel Erasmus

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Comments 3

  1. Martin

    Quote: We’re all dreaming of those “epic” safari trips we want to undertake – but in reality, for most of us, that happens once a year (and if you’re fortunate, 2-3 times a year).

    you lucky bastards.

    for me its probably once in a life time to go on a “epic” safari.
    But yes i really enjoy it last July and August.
    I made last vacation nice pictures of the african animals.
    This because i had to train on birds and small mammals like cats and dogs.
    Especially the birds learned me a lot about aperture priority and shutter speed.
    So i keep photographing birds till the day i found extra money to go back to Africa.

    ps: sorry for the english

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