Trevor McCall-Peat - Wild Eye

What I Have learnt Thus Far

Trevor McCall-Peat All Authors, Trevor 11 Comments

Towards the end of last year, I joined the Wild Eye team. After working for a very small photographic company, I decided it was time to move on and look for new growth. There were a number of reasons why I wanted to join the Wild Eye team.

I want to become the best individual I can be, not only for myself but for my family and the company I work for. I am an individual that doesn’t just want to settle, or for lack of a better word to be ‘average’. The only way to learn and to better one’s self is to be stimulated, push yourself and move out of your comfort zone.

To say that I have been blown away in the short amount of time I have spent in the Wild Eye office is an understatement. One thing I was looking forward to the most was being in an office environment, surrounded by some of the best in the industry.

There are obviously many different ways to do things and be successful. In this industry things are constantly changing and evolving, so being able to stay up to date and keep with the times is absolutely crucial. The whole purpose of this blog was to talk about what I have learnt over the past few months and how I feel I have grown from it.

In an industry where social media has such a large impact, I have taken plenty of useful information out of the last few months, not only in managing my social media accounts, but also respecting each platform and how each one works.

What I mean by the above is, what you post on Instagram isn’t always the right thing to post on Facebook or snapchat – What I am trying to get to is that each platform has a time and a place for certain content, we should always remember to be professional and try and provide good relevant content.

Now, this is just my observation, but looking at different accounts, it often reminds me, just how fortunate I am to work in the company I do. To say that some of the content is embarrassing – is me just being nice. I have learnt to look at my social media as well as the companies account through a viewers eyes. This allows me to process the content and answer some valuable questions such as – is it relevant? is it informative? am I conducting myself in a professional manor? but most importantly am I portraying myself exactly as I am or am I trying to be someone I am not?

One again, Im not judging others – each to their own. I am merely stating what I have experienced and noticed over the past couple of months. In this day and age, especially using social media, we have eyes on us 24/7 and nowadays everything we do is documented and loaded up onto social media. The majority of the content is put on platforms for everyone to see. If you are happy with who you are and how you want people to perceive you then thats perfectly fine. I am confident in myself, who I am and what I put online, but I urge you all to look at the content you are putting online and ask yourself the same questions I mentioned earlier in this post.

From an experience point of view, another reason I joined the Wild Eye team was for the way the company and the individuals are portrayed online. Having been here for a couple of months I can happily report that what you see is exactly what you get.

It only takes looking at images and marketing material on social media to see what a company is all about. The sad reality in this industry is, many individuals are out there to get their OWN shots, sit in the front row of the vehicle (prime spot), enter competitions and travel to some pretty spectacular destinations in the process.

For myself, on a vehicle with guests, I almost feel guilty to take a picture. This stems from my days as a full-time guide and working at londolozi. It was drilled into us that Guests ALWAYS come first. I think many individuals have become self absorbed in what they do and forget the very reason they started in this industry and that is to create a dream come true and often once in a life time safari experience for their guests.

As I write this blog I am surrounded but individuals (my colleagues) who have all been guides before starting at Wild Eye and were all trained in a similar fashion and share a passion for meeting new people as well as giving them the best safari experience we possibly can.

It saddens me to see the kind of experience some individuals are giving guests who potentially have saved up for months if not years to embark on what often is a once in a life time opportunity. I am referring to safaris in general, from safaris run in the Kruger National Park right the way through to photographic safaris that are run to a variety of upmarket lodges and destinations.

I am writing this to urge you to do the research, look at the different experiences operators are offering and invest wisely in your next safari. Remember your Safari is about YOU, not the company you are working through and most certainly not the operator/individual you are sitting in a vehicle with.

Michael Laubscher - Guest - Wild Eye

Michael Laubscher - Guest - Wild Eye

Michael Laubscher - Guest - Wild Eye

Having said all this, I hope you find some value in what I have learnt over the past couple of months and I really hope you enjoy the next time YOU go on safari.

Until next time,

Trevor

 

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About the Author

Trevor McCall-Peat

Having Grown up in White River which then was a small town in the Lowveld, I have had an inner burning desire to pursue my passion and love for wildlife. From a young age I was guided by my family who shares the same passion for the natural world as I do. Frequently visiting wilderness areas from a young age instilled a deep craving to explore and learn more about the bush. Once I left school I began my journey to becoming a guide and following my dream. I have been a field guide for the past 9 years, starting out in the Western Cape and then returning to the lowveld where I spent my last 4 years spend at Londolozi Game Reserve where I gained invaluable experience and had the opportunity to learn about myself as an individual. Through my love for wildlife it has kick started my passion for photography and has allowed me to grow and pursue it as a career. Combining an array of different elements such as safaris, photography, being one with nature and sharing experiences with others is something I have really enjoyed doing and looking forward to continuing it on this new and exciting chapter.

 

 

 

Comments 11

  1. Callum Evans

    Hi Trevor

    Thank you so much for this amazing post, I really needed to read it. I’ve been trying to find out about how to get a job in the guiding industry (with Londolozi as my first choice) for over a year now and I confess that part of that reason has been because I really badly want to photograph leopards (my favourite animal). Another part is because I would dearly love to live in the bush (because I never afford to go on safari’s), and doing a job that I am passionate about. But reading the Wild Eye posts has helped me change my perspective and I don’t want to be a selfish photographer (especially not since I’m hoping to get a job at Wild Eye one day!)! If I do become a field guide, then it will get drilled into me that guests always come first and I will hopefully as a person and that could make me appreciate everything around me more. That was what I want to strive towards. If you have any advice on this, I’d really appreciate it.

    Callum

    1. Post
      Author
      Trevor McCall-Peat

      Hi Callum,

      Thank you very much for your comment. Londolozi is definitely and incredible lodge to work at, the game viewing is absolutely fantastic(especially the leopard viewing).
      Have you studied guiding at all? If so where?
      I highly recommend guiding even if it is just for few years. It is an incredible life style. The guiding side is exceptional but what I really enjoyed was meeting new people from all over the world.

      Once again, thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. I really appreciate it.

      Regards,

      Trevor

  2. Dee Roelofsz

    Another really interesting post Trevor.

    Strangely I was commenting just yesterday to my hubby about how some operators / guides I know are becoming well known for some incredible images (Sabi Sands leopards in particular) yet one never see’s or hear’s anything from the guests who accompany them on these frequent trips!! My view is these people are blatantly using guests to fund their own trips to such places & that is just plain unscrupulous. As you say, it really is vitally important to do proper research on operators upfront.

    I have only been fortunate to do one trip with Wild Eye a few years back, but still to date I amaze at the experience I had, which was undoubtedly a major turning point in my photography! A big part of that was the fact that it was always a priority that each & every guest, regardless of their experience, was meticulously guided through settings, angles & what to look for or expect from an animal behaviour point of view, at each & every photographic opportunity that arose & neither guide picked up their camera until each one of us was comfortable & happy & then it was never for more than one or two specific shots. This has stuck with me since then & I do believe there very few operators who can compare on the safari in the field front or on the social media front, with Wild Eye!

    You are extremely fortunate to be part of this wonderful team & I have no doubt you will continue to learn & grow along with them.

    1. Post
      Author
      Trevor McCall-Peat

      Hello Dee,

      I couldn’t agree more with what you have said, it should always be about the guest. My idea behind the blog came from observing the other individuals with in the company and its is very quickly noticeable that the guests ALWAYS come first. I am so thankful to be a part of the team and look forward to the journey ahead.

      Thank you very much for your comment and insight.

  3. Steve Alcock

    It seems as if WildEye is the only way, and everyone else in the industry does not focus on their guests, only themselves and their own imagery? Isn’t that a bit short sighted?

    There are many operators who do this solely for their guests and their guests benefit. WildEye seems to always make it publicly known that they do it right and everyone is wrong.

    1. Post
      Author
      Trevor McCall-Peat

      Hello Steve,

      Thank you very much for taking the time to write and leave comment, I really appreciate it.

      Im not saying that Wild Eye are the only ones doing things the right way and Im certainly not pointing fingers at anyone in particular, Im merely stating what I have seen with my own eyes, whether it has been in the privates reserves or in the Kruger National Park itself.

      My intention for the blog was to create awareness around these issues, I want everyone out there who has been on safari or in particular, looking to go on safari to do their research before hand and make sure they know exactly what they are paying for.

      Once again, thank you for your comment.

  4. Alice Ross

    Great stuff Trev and so true – being in the industry myself and dealing with those booking their dream Safari it is so important to listen to what they are hoping for and expecting and its really rewarding being a part of making someones dream come true!.

    1. Post
      Author
      Trevor McCall-Peat

      Hello Alice;)

      I couldn’t agree more with what you have mentioned, It is all about the guests and making sure that their dream safari comes true is always the number one priority.

  5. Michael Stevenson

    What a ridiculous load of crap from an amateur who has only just made it into the industry. So new in fact you don’t even have your own images to accompany your blog!

    If your team was so fantastic the first thing they would have done was slap you and delete this embarrassment before it went any further.

    I was planning on bringing 5 friends with me for a 15 night safari and stumbled upon your “amazing company” from google. However Im glad I visited your blog posts first as I never want to be associated with such disgusting people who seem to go out of their way to promote their company simply by bringing others down.

    PS
    What I Have *Learnt
    *Manner
    *Am I conducting myself in a professional manner? – NO
    *Once again
    *… company and individuals are portrayed online – This blog speaks volumes
    *surrounded *by individuals
    *I am writing this to urge you to do the research, look at the different experiences operators are offering and invest wisely in your next safari – reading this blog was great research thank you

    1. Post
      Author
      Trevor McCall-Peat

      Hi Michael,

      Thank you for your comment.
      My intention was never to bring other companies down; I didn’t mention other companies or operators for that very reason. It is my opinion on the industry and everyone is entitled to their own opinions. In our industry, things are constantly changing and in order to keep up with the times we all need to learn and grow – having said that Wild Eye will also need to continue to change, adapt and grow as we move forward. I think perhaps you miss interpreted the whole purpose of the blog I wrote.

      I am just merely stating the observations I have made. I may have just started out with Wild Eye but I come with 9 years guiding experience, 4 and a half years of which were at Londolozi, where I gained invaluable experience working with people and being in the hospitality industry.

      I am sorry you feel this way, but It is the sad reality of the industry. Many people try and sugar coat the industry that we work in, where as all I am doing is bringing up the topics and operations that others try and avoid, in short – It is what it is and that is the harsh reality of the industry.

      I wish you all the best and thank you for engaging and sharing your own opinion.

    2. Gerry van der Walt

      Thanks for your thoughts Michael and apologies for any offence caused.

      That said, I’m going to have to disagree with you in that Trevor is “an amateur who has only just made it into the industry”. From a guiding point of view – which is what the photographic safari industry is about – he is way more qualified that many other guides out there. In fact, there are many people in this industry who have no qualifications whatsoever and no guiding experience which makes Trevor, and our whole team, unique as it’s something we pride ourselves on. Yes, he might be new to the Wild Eye team but he has a solid track record at one of the best lodges in South Africa.

      Trevor did speak to me before he posted this blog and I support him and his views 100%. He has been on both sides of the story – both from a lodge and photographic safari company point of view . I am all for my guides speaking their truth and sharing the reality of what we do and we are proud of the experiences we create for our guests and clients – something our guest feedback echoes again and again.

      I would urge you to look a bit deeper than a single blog post when doing your ‘research’ on companies to travel with. I guarantee you that you will not find another photographic safari company who produces as much content and adds as much value as we do online to both our guests and the wildlife photography community at large. With more than 7 years worth of tutorials, destination videos, podcasts and more I think it’s quite short sighted to find one opinion piece and judge the bigger picture based on that. You might be missing out on some great content and amazing photographic safari experiences.

      I know we have a solid track record in the industry and that we add value bit online and on the safaris we offer. I know that my team includes some of the most dedicated and experienced photographic safari guides out there and I know that the experience they create for our guests is world class.

      You seem to have made your mind up and you seem rather passionate about this calling us ‘disgusting people’ but hey each to his own so let’s agree to disagree on this.

      That said, if you’re still looking to plan an African safari adventure we would love to assist and would love to show you why our clients believe in us and why we do what we do.

      Thanks again for your comment.

      Gerry

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