Gerry van der Walt - Wildlife Photography - Mana Pools

The Visual Story of Mana Pools

Gerry van der Walt All Authors, Gerry 2 Comments

To me the visual story of Mana Pools is the trees and the sheer scale of the landscapes they create.  I’m not talking size like the Mara which is known for it’s rolling grasslands but rather the size of the actual trees themselves.

During a private guided photo safari in Mana last week this is something we spoke about a lot.  How to create context in the images from this great destination and how to creatively manage the numerous vertical lines created by the trees in the frame.  This is something I will be digging into in more detail in future posts and videos.  For now a quick look at telling the story of size.

Show anybody in the world an image of an elephant, even if they’ve never seen one before, and they will inherently know it’s a large animals.  Place that large animal under a tree, present the image to them and they will immediately understand and appreciate the size of the trees and the place.

To me, this is the start of telling the story of Mana.

Gerry van der Walt - Wildlife Photography - Mana Pools

That’s a fully mature elephant bull standing on it’s hind legs so there is no doubt as to how large the tree is.

You can then take it a step back, use a wider lens and show a bigger picture by including even more of the environment.

Same elephant, same scene, different story.

Gerry van der Walt - Wildlife Photography - Mana Pools

Telephoto lenses are great but by pulling back and including more of the space of the place your stories of the area you are in will be so much stronger.

Until next time,


About the Author

Gerry van der Walt

I am a private and specialist photographic safari guide, public speaker, co founder of Wild Eye and wildlife photographer. Visit my website at or follow my journey on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter a look forward to changing the way you see the world.  I also host a Wildlife Photography Podcast and I Vlog!

Comments 2

  1. Joni Munsterteiger

    I like the last photo–it almost looks like the elephant is a tree trunk itself– very interesting!!

    1. Post

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