Makanyi Privately Guided photo-safari 5 to 7 October 2016

This privately hosted photo safari was a quick 2 night in and out, I was guiding Allan and Denise from the US on their very first African Safari and they decided that at there first safari location they would like someone to help them setup and get familiar photographing wildlife under African conditions. Now for first timers on a Photo-Safari the weather did not completely play along …

Guiding photographers under overcast rainy conditions presents a different set challenges  and I am so thankful that Makanyi Guiding team of Warren and Luckson as they were very skilled at finding wildlife under these difficult conditions. Overcast weather is more about adapting to the conditions than fighting them. There are three fundamental factors we need to solve creatively as a photographic guides, our guests images are going to lack contrast, white balance is going to be tricky and with the lack of substantial light we will be running at slightly higher ISO’s to sustain shutter-speeds that will prevent soft images.

How ever the great thing is that every photograph comes with bucket loads of atmosphere and emotion, so its just down to getting the composition and exposure correct. Allan and Denise were the perfect guests for these condition, listening to my advice and asking the right questions and the right time for them to understand how to photograph a particular scene.

The Timbavati, like many of the Lowveld reserves are coming out of a extended dry season, so the rain and cooler weather was a welcomed relief to the months of dust and sun. This region had had some good rains prior to our arrival and the grass was just starting to break through. Pulling in big herds of Buffalo and as a result the resident lions were have feast after feast, so between the plentiful general game we saw we focused alot on this Lion and Buff interactions that was so common in the area. Below are a select of my images that I managed to squeeze off between helping Allan and Denise with there photography.

General Game

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We intentionally backed off to change our perspective and angel that we photographed our subjects from, this has a two fold effect, one it includes the horizon and add’s to the content of the frame especially when shooting with telephotos lenses.

In overcast weather photographing shadows becomes more important that photographing light, I chose this frame as it defines the shape of the African Spoonbill, white bird, on a white back ground

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Seperation is key to composing wildlife images, waiting for the moment that the wildebeest had little gaps between them so one animal was not growing out of another, like the middle two are.

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A problem that many wildlife photographers face is not having enough lens, intentionally shooting through bushes is a great way of using up the empty space that is created by not have enough lens. Often this effect encourages photographers to shoot a little wider.

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The term framing makes one think of a box shape, there are no straight lines in nature so framing think of framing as a way to eat up empty space.

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Buffalo vs Lion (more like Lion eating Buffalo)

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I am not a fan of gore images, but this one does tell a story. I find it very unusually that lions as a whole make an effort to eat stomach lining when there is a full buffalo rump in full view …

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The moment the hat fell of the car …

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Taking a lot of care on the moments we choose to use our spot lights on animals, here we switched on the spot light well before it was dark so the lions eyes could adjust to the artificial light as the natural light started to fade. This Lion was well fed and was moving off to rest, and took a moment to call and proclaim his presence in this part of his territory.

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One the key things I try to get photographers to understand when I am guiding them is the idea of context. Often photographing a scene with a 600mm removes the context of a wild animal, a tight photograph of just an animals head could be taken any where in the world. So when we want to photograph tight, look for scars injuries that tells the viewer that this animal is living wild and free. Here I used the elephant dung infant of this young Lion to tell precisely this story.

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We spend a great deal of time with this Lions, even they were not doing much we could do a lot. Like trying Zooming in while using a very slow shutter speed. This was shot on a Canon 6D and 70-200mm at f18 with a shutter of 1/10sec.

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watching that Hat …

 

It was an Absolute please Hosting Allan and Denise at Makanyi and I would like to thank the whole team for making us feel so welcome, especially to Warren and Luckson for finding us subject matter to photograph.

Regards

Etienne