The previous weekend saw another one of our Wildlife Photography Courses get underway in the Pilanesberg National Park. My group of 6 very enthusiastic guests entered the conference room feeling a little bit nervous about what was required of them throughout the day but they calmed down after I explained what we would be doing and that we would ease into the technical aspects after looking at what makes a good wildlife image.
After working through various technical and compositional aspects of wildlife photography we stepped outside to get to grips with some of the custom settings that DSLR cameras have to assist you in getting the best shot possible. Using one of the most hideous photographic subjects one can imagine (and I am referring to myself here) the guests familiarised themselves with the various auto focus modes, drive modes, use of aperture and shutter speed before breaking for lunch and having a couple of minutes to enjoy the rooms at the Shepherd’s Tree game Lodge.
With the hard graft out of the way it was time to head out into the field and put our new found skills to the test. This is where the real value in this course comes to the fore. Rather than having to go and put the new settings, terminology and guidelines to the test by themselves, I was able to coach the guests throughout the drive, assisting them with various setting suggestions and reminding them of a number of considerations they should factor in before actually capturing an image.
I must just mention that it got very cold on our game drive. How cold you ask? This cold…
After warming up over a good meal we sat around the fire and chatted about the use of Lightroom and how post processing is a crucial part of the creative process before calling it a night.
Our morning game drive on Sunday saw us head to the Mankwe Hide and focus (pun intended) on photographing some birdlife from the hide. After gaining some valuable experience on tracking fast moving subjects, panning with a subjects, isolating the subject from the background and waiting for the right moment to take the shot, we continued on our game drive.
On our way back to the lodge we came across a small pride of lions as they crossed the road, giving Dan what I would consider to be the shot of the weekend:
After a lekker breakfast we wrapped up the course by looking at some of the shots that each of the guests had taken over the weekend and by examining the EXIF data from each shot, were able to identify the exact reasons why an image worked or didn’t work. Here are some examples of shots taken by the guests (bare in mind that EVERYONE on this course was shooting in the dreaded Auto mode when they arrived):[gdl_gallery title=”wp101-july” width=”182″ height=”182″ ]
Feedback on the Wildlife Photography Course
You changed us from being photographers who always used the GREEN auto setting, to enthusiastic photographers who cannot wait to practice all the settings that we now have a greater understanding of.
Reading a camera manual over and over can never be a substitute for the practical knowledge we gained on The Wildlife Photography Course!
Dan & Janice
Being very inexperienced at photography, this course in only two days, taught us basic principles that is practical, easy to understand and apply. We now have confidence to attempt more interesting shots and our excitement about using our equipment and getting that ‘perfect shot’ has grown immensely.
Thanks Andrew and Wild Eye!
Jacques & Nicolien
* * *