Founded by world renowned wildlife filmmakers and photographers, photography is central to the Great Plains Conservation experience.
Our camps are perfect for any level of photographer from professional to committed hobbyist to novice. From the Selinda Reserve’s herds of elephants, to sunrises over the Zambezi River on the Greater Mana Expedition, to ol Donyo’s Lodge photographic hide, perfectly placed in front of a water hole that draws some of the regions last “big tusker” elephants, our camps are a photographers dream!
Our vehicles are open 4x4s with a maximum of 6 guests (private vehicles available), many of which come with stabilizing bean bags and camera mounts. Duba Plains is even home to a specialist photographic boat for exploring the Okavango Delta. At Duba Plains, Zarafa, Mara Plains and ol Donyo Lodge each tent has a Canon camera and lenses for guests to use with their images downloaded on departure. At Mpala Jena in Victoria Falls and at our camps in Botswana guests can book a scenic helicopter flight to capture stunning aerial shots. For those looking to improve their photography skills at any level we have developed our Wild Studio Photography program which offers photographic tuition for all abilities taught by a professional photographer in both small groups and on a private basis.
“Because of our careers in photography, many guests and travellers to our camps expect something photographic, a cut above others.
Often, very keen photographers want to learn more, or improve upon this amazing craft. With this in mind, we have introduced the ‘Great Plains Conservation – Wild Studio”
CEO, Great Plains Conservation
WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY FOR EVERYONE – WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY TUITION FOR ALL ABILITIES TAUGHT BY PROFESSIONALS
ANYONE CAN LEARN
Great Plains Wild Studio is an opportunity for all levels of photographic abilities to become published wildlife photographers.
We have designed the courses to accommodate non-photographers also, ideal for couples and families looking for different experiences.
PRIVATE TUITION OR IN GROUPS
We provide both workshop and tailored private tuition in all our camps.
The workshops can be as short as three days making them extremely accessible to all travellers visiting different areas of the country.
Professional photographers, who live in either Botswana or Kenya, will guide our photography guests through the technical aspects of photography, and then take them even further by developing meaningful portfolios that we will assist in publishing for them.
UNIQUE WAY TO LEARN
Quite simply we work backwards! On day one we will design the contents page of the portfolio for a book, social media album, printed photos for your dining room wall or for a published calendar to give to your friends.
All we have is a one-page contents page as your destination, which will be the flexible guide for the rest of the workshop. The chapters could be birds in flight, soul of the elephant, zebras in action, the predators of the savannah. We let our creativity go wild.
OBJECTIVE FOCUSED PHOTOGRAPHY
The concept draws on the strategy used by professional and National Geographic photographers. Having a brief allows us to really hone our skills in a focused way rather than scouting the reserves randomly. It will help us produce better images.
THE TECHNICAL ASPECTS
Once we know what we would like to create we learn the skills needed to create the vision.
We don’t let the camera drive us but learn how it can be used to create our vision.
Your ‘image-capturing device’ can be a smartphone, GoPro, compact right up to the professional cameras. It does not matter as they can all capture an exposure of your subject to tell a story.
The most recent Wildlife Photographer of the Year image was taken on a GoPro.
Choosing the right equipment and knowing what to bring is very important. We can work with your tour operator in assisting with all the right advice. We can also provide you with some hints and tips to get you started before you even leave home.
Raising awareness about conserving our habitats through the medium of photography is at the core of Wild Studio. We look to create storytelling portfolios, which once published, can provide a broader and more fulfilling message.
By simply showing your friends and family your new photographic skills and the incredible sights you have seen goes to great lengths in raising awareness to protect our wilderness. We do this by helping you edit your images post trip so they can be developed in to as book digitally or to be printed on paper.
All our vehicles have been modified to provide camera supports and beanbags. Beanbags provide the most universal solution for the majority of our photographers but we can tailor the vehicles around anyone’s requirements including gimbal supports by using additional clamps.
The final product of the workshop will be to take home a fully edited portfolio ready for publishing, ultimately in an iBook for you to print yourself at home.
We are working with the University of Surrey – UK, on a groundbreaking wildlife monitoring facial recognition project. All our photographers will be able to participate in this by gathering data whilst out in the field.
We provide the setting for some of the most iconic places to photographic on the planet. The Maasai Mara, coupled with Hemmingway’s famous Green Hills of Africa in the Kenyan Chyulus, with breathtaking views of Kilimanjaro and the mystical and pristine Okavango Delta with the hidden gem the Selinda Reserve in Botswana.
Diversity is key in providing a varied and interesting portfolio. We look to spend time with a wide range of wildlife rather then focusing on just key species, and our habitats provide that opportunity.
YOUR 3 NIGHTS WITH WILD STUDIO
There are no fixed times during a Wild Studio workshop. In fact they are completely tailor made for you.
This following is only a guidance of what you might expect.
- Arrival by light aircraft to meet your guide and specialist photographer
- Evening game drive of 3 to 4 hours
- Dinner around 8pm
Introduction to Wild Studio
The first day is about acclimatizing to the area and planning for the next 3 days. Your Wild Studio photographer will take you through the first steps of portfolio building, which is to start with the contents page and brief of the book you will create.
Chapters might be; Soul of the Elephant, Africa’s Antelopes, The Challenge of Birds in Flight, The Predators of Botswana or even The Happiest of Hippos…..It is your story to tell and book template to create.
We will then go on a relaxed game drive to settle in and acquaint ourselves with your vehicle and camera equipment.
- Rise to be in the field for sunrise. Typically 5am.
- Breakfast in the bush from, around 8am
- Morning game drive – average 5 to 6 hours
- Lunch from 12pm
- Image reviews and portfolio building
- Pm game drive from 4pm to 7 pm
- Dinner usually 8pm
After an early start we will spend the best part of the mornings searching for wildlife and photographing. We might look to focus on a specific animal as per your book chapters. The important part is to begin collecting a diversity of images to create your album.
After lunch this period gives us time to rest but also review our efforts and transfer files and backup our prized photographs before a more relaxed evening drive.
Our final evening will be to summarize everything we have learned and present some of our best shots from the workshop.
This is the fun time where we can give your book its title and write down your introduction and biography. It is also a must to have some photos of you in your portfolio.
The technical aspects of photography are there to support your creative vision of the images you are looking to get. Your Wild Studio photographer will support and guide you in your chosen course and not let the camera dictate.
- Morning game drive 3 to 4 hours prior to departure
- Depart for next destination from the airstrip
There should always be some time to have a last game drive in the morning, we can enjoy this drive knowing we have some excellent photos backed up on our hard drives having learned new skills to use on our next adventures.
Next stop – time to time to share our efforts as qualified conservation photographers and ambassadors