About the Author

James Tyrrell


James had hardly touched a camera when he came to Londolozi, but his writing skills that complemented his Honours degree in Zoology meant that he was quickly snapped up by the Londolozi blog team. An environment rich in photographers helped him develop the ...

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on You Miss All the Shots You Don’t Take (And a Few More)

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Those spectacular animals are pin ups in the wilderness… I think of Craig Packer last book on lions trophy hunting in Tanzania and am grateful to Londolozi policy and all you do. Those leopards and lions will be at best top reviews cover and not hang lifeless on somebody’s wall.

James, I loved all the photos, especially the leopard in the tree🤗

Senior Digital Ranger

Thanks for confirming that those epic photo shots are easily blown and do-overs twirl in our minds afterwards. The only way for me to “Make Peace with It” is to dream about returning!!!

Senior Digital Ranger

Always remember our gratitude to all of you for being able to share so many of these wonderful sightings and moments.

Senior Digital Ranger

We’ll never have known the shots you missed – but totally enjoy the ones you got! However I know what you mean … the worst is the exhausted battery when you find the photo opportunity of a life-time!

As a photographer friend of mine always said, “The best photos are never taken.” But with a lot of patience, persistence, and passion, many good ones are!

Lovely shots in that post!

Master Tracker

I was once so engrossed in photographing some bee eaters the guide decided not to mention the otter within six feet behind me .

I love the thoughts in this blog. James. I can sense your frustration in missing “the” shot and I envy that you have a “next time” around the proverbial corner! But ultimately you are so right – “Your own enjoyment is what really matters; your own opinion of your own photos.” Mine continue to give me pleasure, especially in this time of covid. Enjoy all your next times!

Well said, James – I get so much pleasure from trying to get that wonderful shot, even as a total amateur. But there are times when I put the camera down as I just want to watch and soak up the experience, whether it’s elephants grazing quietly around the vehicle, or a leopard climbing a tree. I’m so glad though that you guys keep taking them, so we can all benefit. Adore David Dampier’s photo of Vomba!

So true!! Oh well…….maybe next time……(hopefully there will be a next time)…

It is so true James. Your photos are mostly for your own enjoyment. There is never a bad day in Africa.

Great philosophy, James. What about us guests? We only have a very few days a year during which we can even think of taking great photos in the bush. I have resigned myself to what I have. Once I thought I could take a perfect shot of a bat- eared fox and then the guide waved his cap because he felt so hot. Oh… in a second the fox had disappeared. Or you take a video clip and somebody in the car moves and the camera also hops and the shooting is spoiled. Forget about the clip! When I get home I delete all those bad luck photos at once and only think of what I HAVE got. Some really beautiful pictures, even less than you get because, of course, the light, the timing, the angle are rarely really perfect. I once tried not to take a camera. But that’s even more frustrating, it’s like: if only I had!!!
The whole story is like life in general: make the best of it. Somebody told me today we could learn so much from trees. They have to endure torrents of rain and burning sunshine, storms and torn branches and they still keep their heads up again and again. Well, in comparison, photography is a minor disaster – probably…

James, judging by the fabulous camera equipment you all carry and the incredible wild life you view on a daily basis, I’m not surprised that you can become driven for that perfect shot. In my eyes all the shots you have all posted have been simply perfect! As for me, a total amateur. .I’m super happy to relive the moment without the camera. But if I’m lucky I do get the odd shot that is proof of the magnificent scene before me and then be able to share it with friends. 💕🙏

Thanks for this wonderful post about photographing wild life! I love your title to the post James, and am also reminded of the aphorism of “sacrificing the good for the perfect.” Given the hundreds of photos you all take per day, you do come up with brilliant shots!

James you are so right! But, more often than not, you are one of the lucky ones that gets the shot!!

James, truer words were never spoken/written. For those of us who only experience wildlife a few days a year, often years apart, trying to remember the optimal settings is a lesson in patience. I’m not a professional, don’t earn a living in photography, but only like the satisfaction of making a good image. If I capture a few interesting ones, more creative, then I’m happy. Sometimes I do put my cameras down and just take in the moment….. just being there is enough.

You say to always be ready so you don’t have to GET ready, but I’m curious if you have any tips for striking the balance between being ready to capture the moment while not forgetting to really EXPERIENCE the moment! Seems like it could be tough to do with your eye is pressed up against the viewfinder in anticipation the whole time!

Some super pics, James from you all! I have taken two of them for screensavers. Loved the river and rocks with Leopard scene and the Lilac Breasted Roller in Flight. Super work. Thank you everyone! Much appreciated coming from two pensioners in their eighties in Lockdown! Neil and Wendy MacNicol

Senior Digital Ranger

“it’s hard to think of an activity in which failing can still result in such pleasure” – Exactly! I’m my happiest when in the bush taking photos, it’s an absolute passion.

I enjoyed your pun about the shudder/shutter.

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