Bush Warriors Wildlife Photography Workshop: Capturing That Special Moment

Every wildlife photographer aims to capture that special moment or once-in-a-life-time moment.  You need to spend a lot of hours out in the field to get that special shot.

Image © Grant Marcus 2011

Knowing the behavior of the animals, can also make or break your shot.  I am a guide in Madikwe Game Reserve and we spend at least 8 hours a day out in the bush.  Let me tell you, LUCK is also a very important aspect.  I believe that you need to spend time with your subject because when that special moment arrives, it only lasts for a few seconds or minutes–if you are lucky.  With the patience, you also need to know your equipment to make the shot work.

Image © Grant Marcus 2011

Image © Grant Marcus 2011

When you are ready to take the shot, composition and placement are very important.  Do not be afraid to leave space for the animal to move in to.  By doing that it gives your image life and meaning.  Remember that the opportunity to capture the image will be there at the present, but it won’t be there tomorrow.  So, make the most of it!  Try different approaches to your shot, as well.  Reflections in water always make for stunning photography.  Composing your shot with the main subject left out, but visible in the reflection, works well too.

Image © Grant Marcus 2011


The worst thing that can possibly happen to your shot is parts getting cut off, like the tip of this Swainson’s Spur Fowl’s wings:


Image © Grant Marcus 2011


He was perched on a branch with a perfect light, and the background was clean as well.  We could get really close to him.  Normally, they fly off when they see the vehicle.  So, this was quite special.  Here are some things to take into consideration when you go out looking for that special moment:

  • Light (early morning or late afternoon)
  • Background (cleanliness and color)
  • Your position with your subject (if you are on safari with a guide don’t be afraid to ask him/her to position you where you want to be)
  • Patience
  • Luck
  • Know your equipment
  • Try different approaches

Image © Grant Marcus 2011

Next time you go out in the field, try these things.  If you have any questions or want to chat about different approaches in wildlife photography, feel free to contact me at grant@grantmarcus.com


Grant Marcus

Gerry van der Walt

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