What To Do While Waiting For A Crossing To Take Place

Michael Laubscher All Authors, Michael 2 Comments

The Great Migration is one of the 7 Natural Wonders of Africa with the Masai Mara, this time of year offers not only incredible views of the plains dotted with huge herds of wildebeest, zebra, gazelle, major predator activity, but also river crossings that are often infested with large Nile crocodiles waiting for their next target.

In saying this, the Masai Mara is the stage on which the largest, most spectacular and action packed wildlife show on earth plays out, as it is by far the greatest mass movement of land mammals on earth.

I’ve heard many people speak of the Great Migration thinking that it is a continuous mass of wildebeest and zebra crossing the Mara River all at once at the same crossing point.

This is not the case as these animals are spread out far and wide across the rolling plains. So I think a big part of the “Great Migration Hype” is the anticipation of the build-ups, wondering if these wildebeest & zebra are going to cross as the walk to and from the river numerous times.

This can go on for hours while you wait for the pressure to build and hopefully that one wildebeest decides the pressure is not too much and starts crossing because this creates a chain reaction of wildebeest and zebra crossing.

So what can one do while waiting for hours hoping these animals decide to cross?

Look for other animals in the surrounding area to photograph and try some different techniques.

On this cloudy morning we were all sitting waiting for a long time watching a huge build up, in this particular case I encouraged my guests to grab a beanbag, rest their camera on it ensuring there was no movement.

Shooting on aperture priority, with an ISO of around 100, a aperture of f/11 thus resulting in a very slow shutter speed of 0,5 – 1 full second to create this;

Notice that the crocodile and wildebeest are in focus and sharp where as the water has a silky/motion blurred effect.

How did I manage to keep the animals sharp with such a slow shutter speed? This was thanks to securing the camera on a beanbag, therefore no movement and a motion blur in the water thanks to the slow shutter speed and fast flowing water of the Mara River.

So next time when you sitting waiting for a sighting to unfold, don’t just sit back and wait, try something new/different because you wont only get a cool looking image or two but most importantly, you will learn.

Until next time;

Happy Snapping!


About the Author

Michael Laubscher


Haunted by the allure of spectacular wildlife and African sunsets. I am a hunter-gatherer of natural light and candid moments, an appetite whet with a taste of the unknown and the smell of home; “This Is Africa”! I look forward to sharing life long experiences with you and helping you capture them. Please feel free to go check out my Instagram account

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Comments 2

  1. Deji Odetoyinbo

    I was one of your guests at this sighting. I can’t thank you enough for opening our eyes to the photographic opportunities. I got made of my most memorable images while we waited for the crossing. Your tutoring was so thorough, and the crocodile images so impressive, I don’t even remember whether the wildebeest eventually crossed!

    1. Post
      Michael Laubscher

      Hello Deji!

      Thank your for taking the time to read the blog and leave such a kind comment! Truly appreciated!

      Was a great day out and if I recall correctly the wildebeest did not cross there. We moved off to a different crossing point and waited for a buildup there.

      Hope you well!

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