Archive for wildlife photography methods

Bush Warriors Wildlife Photography Workshop A Fresh Start

Posted in Photo of the Day, Wildlife Photography Workshop with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 17, 2011 by photoafrica

Hi everybody!

With a lot of very exciting developments in the pipeline at both Bush Warriors and Photo-Africa things have been hectically busy but it is good to be back!

One of the new, and very exciting, new parts of Photo-Africa is a weekly video chat where we look at wildlife photography and pretty much anything to do with this wonderful past time.

These videos are a great way to keep widening our online community and includes:

  • Wildlife photography tips
  • Lightroom Tutorials
  • Discussion on photography
  • Random thoughts related to wildlife and photography

I am very happy to say that after chatting with Dori, we will be sharing the Weekly Chats, which are posted every Friday, on the Bush Warriors website.

I look forward to hearing from you so please feel free to contact me with any questions or thoughts you might have on wildlife photography.
Below is the latest chat, divided into two parts, and then a list of all the previous chats we have done!
Hope you enjoy.
These chats are a great way to share information and in future we will be including a conservation section as well.
If you have any questions or comments please don’t hesitate to contact me!
If you have any interesting wildlife or nature conservation links please feel free to send them through so that we can share them
Gerry van der Walt
Bush Warriors Wildlife Photography Workshop
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Bush Warriors Wildlife Photography Workshop: You Can Photograph Wildlife in the Rain!

Posted in Wildlife Photography Workshop with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 7, 2011 by photoafrica

Let me start off by wishing you all the very best for the New Year.  I hope that you had an amazing festive season with family and friends and that you are ready to get 2011 underway!


Normally not something associated with wildlife photography, but—and this is one of my own photographic goals for 2011—breaking out of your comfort zone is one of the best ways to move your photography into a new direction.

During the last few weeks, the Madikwe Game Reserve, where I am based, has been getting a huge amount of rain.  Instead of putting my camera gear away like I normally would do, I decided to go into the rain, clouds, and varying light conditions that can occur during an African rainstorm.  The results have been great, both from a image and mindset point of view.

It is so easy to get caught up in a rut and keep on photographing the same image over and over again, whether you realize it or not.  You have to make a choice to try something different and you have to not worry about the results.  Sounds strange right?  Not worry about the results?

It is when you head out into the wild, with no preconceived ideas of what you want shoot, that you will be free to shoot what catches your eye.  You can shoot what excites you!

Here are a few of the images I was able to shoot during the last few weeks.  I did not plan any of these shots.  I simply went out there, whether rain or shine, and photographed scenes that excited me.

Image © Gerry van der Walt

This young lion was very annoyed with all the rain and kept on shaking the water off him.  Seeing the pattern, we got ready, composed our images and waited.  As the youngster started shaking the shutters clicked like crazy.  The result?  An awesome action shot that I could never have planned for.

Image © Gerry van der Walt

Yeah, it’s a wildebeest.  When you go out into the wild you tend to see a lot of them.  The difference on this particular morning was the light.  The morning started off very overcast and dull, but as we sat watching some general game on an open plain, the clouds opened up for a few minutes.  They opened up just long enough for me to fire a few frames and this was the resulting image.   Plain and simple image of a very often overlooked subject but it’s all about the light.  Cloudy days can make for the most amazing wildlife photography.

Image © Gerry van der Walt

A vulture in a dead tree must be one of the most often shot silhouettes in the wild.  Is that a reason not to click the shutter again?  Absolutely not.   The dark clouds in the background made for a nice sombre atmosphere, to mimic the mood set by my subject.  Sometimes plain and simple is still great!

Image © Gerry van der Walt

Under normal circumstances I would never have even attempted to photograph this scene.  It was very far away and there was no major composition to speak of, but the weather changed everything.  We were sitting on a dam wall and the heavens opened up.  The rain came down so hard that we could barely even see the giraffes in the distance.  I pushed up the ISO to 3200 and used a beanbag to keep my camera still.  Click.  Success!  Normally, I would not even have thought about photographing this scene, but I’m glad I did.

After all of that I suppose you get the idea, but just in case, here are a few lessons that I took from my last few weeks and that could help to break you out of a photographic rut.

Don’t go out there with too many preconceived ideas.  Let your eyes guide you.
Don’t pack your camera gear away when the clouds start building.  There are a lot of ways you can keep your gear dry and still get the shots.
Don’t worry about the results.  Just go out there and enjoy yourself!
Don’t look at everything through your camera’s viewfinder.  Put the camera down every now and then, look at the scenes and subjects around you, and then shoot what excites you!

As this year get going, think of ways in which you can change the way you photograph nature and wildlife.  Ways you can improve your images.  Ways in which you can find new inspiration for photography!

I wish you a year of great sightings, awesome light and many shared moments online.  Don’t forget to submit them to the Bush Warriors Photo of the Day Contest!  If you have any questions or comments that you would like to share please feel free to either leave a comment or contact me directly.

Until next week!

Gerry van der Walt

Gerry van der Walt

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Wildlife Photography Workshop: Be Ready for the Moments

Posted in Wildlife Photography Workshop with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 12, 2010 by photoafrica

I am sure you have paged through a photography magazine, looking at the work of some or other professional wildlife photography and thought to yourself , ‘How did he get that shot?’

The answer is actually quite simple:  you have to be ready – always.

In nature things can happen very quickly and sometimes you can consider yourself lucky to see a certain animal or behavior, nevermind actually photographing it.  In order to photograph these moments you have to be ready.  When the action goes down you cannot be struggling with your settings or changing lenses.  The moment will be gone.

Check out a few of these examples.

Image © Gerry van der Walt - Elephant Drinking

A moment like this generally lasts quite a while.  The elephant will drink, stand around, perhaps splash a bit of water around, but generally he’ll be there for a while.  In situations like this, you will have the time to play with your equipment and settings.  Photograph, experiment, and enjoy.

Image © Gerry van der Walt - Diving Kingfisher

An image like this is most definitely a moment, but you can normally predict when to click the shutter.  When a kingfisher is busy diving, he will do so very regularly.  So, if you have the patience to sit and wait, you stand a very good chance of getting the shot.  Yeah, yeah, your equipment and settings do play a par,t but we’ll look at that in a little while.

Image © Gerry van der Walt - Elephant versus Buffalo

As with the kingfisher image above, a scene like this has the potential to produce a photographic moment.  Young elephants tend to be quite possessive of whatever waterhole they find themselves at, so when the herd of buffalo started arriving, I knew there might be something special coming up.  I did not have to wait too long as the young ellie took exception to the buffalo wanting to drink ‘his’ water, and proceeded to chase them all over the place.  Great moment, especially with the dust in the background.

And then you get moments like this.




Image © Gerry van der Walt - Charging Lioness

We were sitting watching a pride of lions, including three very young cubs, as the played around in the early morning light.  They started crossing the road in front of us, and suddenly, out of nowhere, this lioness gave us a mock charge.  Impressive stuff, very impressive.  As this happened, I clicked the shutter and captured this moment.  As we arrived at the lion sighting, I checked light and dialed in the settings.  I was hoping for a nice close up portrait of the lioness as she crossed, so I was ready.  Not quite ready for what happened, but photographically, I was ready to click the shutter.

There is so much that can happen out there that it is almost impossible to be ready for everything.  You can, however, put yourself up with a good chance of capturing some amazing moments by having your equipment on ‘standby’ mode.  Every morning before heading out into the field I check all my cameras and place them in ‘standby’ mode.  This is what the basic of my standby mode looks like:

– Camera Mode:  Aperture Priority
– Aperture:  f/8
– ISO:  400

These setting allow me to pretty much grab my camera and fire away.  Depending on my subject, and what I want to do with an image, I can change my aperture up or down with the simple turn of a dial.  It takes a few seconds to get your camera ready before you head out, but when you capture that moment, it is most definitely worth it!

I’ll leave you with one more moment.

Image © Gerry van der Walt - Wildebeest Sunset

This moment was one I had to wait for.  I liked the look and feel of the scene, but I had to wait for the wildebeest to walk into the right position before clicking the shutter.  Patience!

If you have some moments that you have captured, why not take a few moments and upload them to the Bush Warriors Photo of the Day Contest.  Share your moments!

I’ll see you all next week!

Gerry van der Walt

Photo-Africa     Workshops & Photo Safaris

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