What is wildlife photography... for you? It is a question that keeps coming up, either on safaris, or just as general discussions with like-minded people. What should wildlife photography be all about? I suppose a similar question would be; what made you buy a camera in the first place?
With so many competitions, awards and social media content out there, how many people are going on safari trying to create hero shot after hero shot? Putting so much pressure on themselves and their photography just so their work can get recognized? Don't get me wrong, we all want to create amazing images but at what cost? Are we judging the safari or experience by the images we have taken on the trip?
You shouldn't judge your images by the amount of likes, comments or shares you get. Personally I feel it should be about the experience you had whilst capturing that moment. Sitting around the fireplace listening to the sounds of the African bush, waiting hours for lions or leopard to get up and move as the sun sets, enjoying the vast open areas, the fresh air. This will last so much longer in your memory than just purely capturing the image. Wildlife photography should also be about putting the safety and wellbeing of the animals first, shouldn't it?
Having said the above, that is the whole reason I got into photography. I don't look to see how many likes or comments I get. I just really enjoy sharing my photos with others.
When I started taking photos, although I had no idea what I was doing, I enjoyed looking back at those images and remembering every single detail of what happened during that moment or in that specific sighting. To me, that's what photography means. It's there as a tool for us to use and look back on, to reminisce about these past memories.
I'll leave you with this to ponder about...
What would mean more to you, chasing a leopard through thick bush getting great images but disturbing his/her hunt, or sitting in Mana Pools with your cameras down not taking any images, but being in the company of a big elephant bull a few meters from you peacefully going about his business?
Till next time,