When guests ask me how they can take a good photograph, its always a very tricky answer; who’s to say what a good photograph is?
What we ultimately strive for is to freeze a moment that we have experienced, ideally in order to provide a means to reconnect with those same emotions we were feeling at the time.
So going back to what constitutes a good photo. I’m sure most people would agree it is very subjective, however there are a few techniques one can employ to try and capture that moment to reflect most accurately what you experienced. One of these is the angle the photograph is taken at:
When watching wildlife, it’s human nature to try and make some kind of connection with the lives of these animals. However it can be difficult to represent that photographically. By getting as low as possible, more specifically down to eye level, we create the impression that we were on the ground near to the photographic subject. It allows us to feel more a part of the system, not an outside observer from a higher angle.
It is obviously much easier said than done, as we can’t jump out into the road when a pride of lions is walking towards us. That would be madness. We can however use the terrain and tools we have to help create the eye level angle.
Using the zoom on your camera.
Often a photo taken at full length zoom looks more eye level than one that is taken at half the zoom and then cropped in afterwards. By parking just those extra few metres away and using all the zoom your camera has can create that eye level effect.
Along the same lines as using full zoom, using distance can create really great effects. By parking a hundred metres away and getting some of the foreground in can create an effect of almost being on the ground.
Of course, using distance and using your full zoom is dependant on what the zoom capabilities of your camera actually are. Anything less than about 200mm probably won’t allow for the same effect.
The biggest asset when it comes to photography at a place like Londolozi I would say is the vehicle. Vehicle positioning is a massive contributor to a good photo when it comes to wildlife photography. While one definitely needs to try and position for the best light, one also needs to try get the best possible angle to try create that eye-level shot. Using small draining lines, mitre drains and predicting where the animal may move are all tools we use out here in the bush.
Of course, an eye-level shot is not always possible to achieve, but if the opportunity is there, take it. You’ll be amazed by how much more connection is possible with a photo as a result.