What I Wanted To Capture vs What I Actually Got

Gerry van der Walt All Authors, Penny Leave a Comment

With our media – in this case online – being streamed constantly with images of wildlife, it is hard to not be influenced by some of these shots. I find myself looking at some images, leopard for example, and thinking how great it looks and how I would really love to capture one like that myself.

Marlon Du Toit's 'Queen of Ravenscourt'

Wild Eye Ambassador Marlon Du Toit’s “The Queen of Ravenscourt”

Marlon Du Toit Photography

I think it is good to look at other photographer’s images as I have gathered more information on different artistic compositions and elements, and technical aspects that I may not have thought of using or combining.

When I heard that the Wild Eye team was going to the Sabi Sands for a site visit, I was also told that leopard sightings were an absolute. So after my stomach stopped doing twists, turns, and summersaults, I was already thinking about the type of image that I would love to capture.

When we did find the leopards at Sabi Sands, I realised how a preconceived idea of what shot I wanted to get before I even saw the leopard, the setting it is in, the lighting, etc was not ideal and realistic at all. I had to look at the scene and subject portrayed in front of me and only them could I determine what kind of image I was going to get. Sure, it may not be as awe-inspiring and majestic as the image that I sought out to capture, but it is beautiful enough as it is its own image – it’s about that leopard in that setting at that time of day.

By being so set on capturing a certain look, I missed out on other great photographic possibilities. By focusing on getting a portrait of the female leopard, I failed to witness and photograph one of many special interactions between herself and her cub.. I understood then that I need to pull back from the scene and really take a look at what was presented. By having this understanding and sense of what was going on, I could try to capture the new image that I wanted.

Take a look at other photographer’s work and let it inspire you. But what I have learnt is that a preconceived idea of an image is not completely realistic. We are dealing with the Wild, whether it be animal or the landscape it is in. The leopard might not even look in your direction, or it could be pretty much covered in the overgrowth around it.

Until one is actually in the setting with the subject can you let your artistic and/or technical aspect flow and determine the type of image you would like to try capture with what is presented.

Don’t focus too much on only capturing a certain image, you might just miss what is happening around you. Let the Wild Life inspire you.

Penny Robartes


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