Physically one is not doing walking, running or climbing to really say being physically active. Yet a game drive vehicle drives on dirt roads and off road, shaking the people on it quite a bit. But this is not all. The vehicles are open and the people on them are exposed to the elements. On top of it come the intense impressions one get from watching wildlife and nature and in the evening one has really done a lot by only sitting on a car.
Sitting on a game vehicle can feel like sitting on a rocking chair, not only for the rocking, but more for the feeling of dreaming away and getting to lazy to do something, even to take a photo. Everyone who had been on a game drive will know the situation that there was a wonderful photo and one was too “lazy” to make the driver stop to photograph it. It’s like being caught in a trance, with the result that the photo is gone. The photo opportunity will not come again.
The only way of doing something to get the photo is to be conscious about it and to practice. Just shout out loud when you see the photo and don’t think about what others might think. You saw it and it’s your photo. Take it.
It is actually the same when driving in a car on a motorway, with the only difference that it is often not possible to stop to take the picture. So, do it when you have the chance and definitely on safari.
First of all get up early. Not only the light is the best, but also the temperature is still all right. During mid-day you only want to be at the pool or sit still in the shade or well, have a nap.
Bring a macro lens, if you have. The desert offer the opportunity to photograph interesting small animals, grass, flowers, stones and as in Namibia ancient rock drawings.
Use the dramatic dimensions of the desert to put animals like a gemsbok in perspective, walking into the depth of the image.
Do, if possible a hot air balloon ride. This will offer you beautiful views on the incredible landscape of the desert. Be careful when using a wide angle lens for your landscape photography, that the distortion works out nicely. And last but not least keep looking, although you might think there is nothing. Photographing in the desert is the art of seeing.
What would be a boring nature photograph? Pouring rain in the Serengeti or blue sky over blue ocean? I think essentially nature is never boring, we probably only fail sometimes to capture its beauty accordingly and then the image seems boring to the viewer.
Often guests on photographic safaris, wildlife photography courses and team building photographic safaris in the Masai Mara make jokes when there are no animals to see and people start taking landscape photos. “Look, he is so bored that he starts photographing landscape”. But it’s actually only a question of focus. When you are on a game drive looking out and expecting to see lion, you will not appreciate the small mongoose crossing the road. He will seem boring to you, but when you are open to see whatever the bush wants to show you, you will have an exciting game drive with lots of photographic opportunities.
The focus is probably also the key to what we see as a boring nature photograph. If we expect dramatic skies and great light, we will experience a rainy landscape as boring. But if we are just curious, we will never be bored.
Anything is special as long as it is special to you. But with wildlife photography it seems that it is special to all. We all seem to have the need to be with nature, to connect and to be close to animals.
Especially when living in big cities going on photographic safaris, wildlife photography courses and team building photographic safaris is a way of recalibrating and reconnecting with where we come from and where we get our strength from. And the wildlife photographs we bring with us are a continues source of this energy we are craving. And if we can’t go ourselves, we at least can look at the pictures others took and tap into nature.
Wildlife photography of any kind, the little fox in the neighboring forest, the bear in Alaska or the lion in the Serengeti, is like a warm bath of nature and lightens up the day at the office or the 10th rainy miserable day in a row somewhere in England.
How do you experience being just in time before the boarding gate closes or quickly throwing your equipment in the bag before departure? Are these the circumstances you perform best? If you do, you will not feel stressed by it, but if you don’t you will most likely feel very stressed. How to avoid that?
Make a plan. Just like for any other occasion plan your photo shoot, holiday travel, photographic safaris, wildlife photography courses and team building photographic safaris. Make a to do list and set deadlines for each task. Keep some buffer time for unexpected difficulties and when traveling far make sure you have some time to rest before departure. Especially before long haul flights this is recommended.
Probably the core problem of getting stressed at the end is, that we think we still have time and then other things happen and we can’t do what we need to do. When you can do it today, do it. When you can prepare your photographic gear today instead of an hour before departure, do it today. That keeps you always ready for unforeseen events and you will not run out of time.