They say that creativity is characterised by the ability to perceive the world in new ways, to find hidden patterns and make connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena. Photography, as a science and art, is one of the most internationally powerful mediums – its visual message having no language barriers.
With the fast moving and ever changing world around us, photography rebels against this very notion – slowing down the pace to observe one’s surroundings and providing one with a sense of immortality, an opportunity for a moment to be captured in time and space.
Mother Nature is often considered, and referred, to as the source and guiding force of creation. Africa in this realm, with it’s diverse and magnificent landscapes, and its incredibly varied and striking wildlife, is a prime creative canvas and it is therefore no wonder that photographic safaris have become so popular.
With all this in mind, we have created our own list of what we believe to be the top ten benefits of a Wild Studio photographic guided safari.
Benefit 1: No photographic experience is necessary
Prior to your arrival, our Wild Studio Team are able to work with you or your agent in providing advice on any equipment you are looking to purchase, or bring with you, so that when you arrive you are all set and ready to start learning. Our Wild Studio workshops cater to all levels and aims to teach, or enhance, one’s understanding of photography techniques, lights, angles and composition.
Benefit 2: The learning is multi-dimensional
Whilst you are learning and getting to know your camera, you are ultimately connecting with your natural surroundings at the same time. Observation is a key aspect to photography and by spending more time curiously observing every aspect of nature, one is able to detect and see things they may not have otherwise seen before. In addition, whilst your Wild Studio guide will be educating you on the different photographic techniques, he will also be imparting critical perspectives and knowledge of the plight and preservation of the different species encountered, the habitats, and their inter-connected and overall role within these vital ecosystems.
Benefit 3: The purpose is unified and therefore there is no rush
Everyone on the Wild Studio Safari is there for the same reason: to learn, to experiment, to create, and to improve. There is no pressure and there is no rush. Each activity is done at a slower pace, stopping to observe, to discuss, to test out techniques, and to immerse oneself in the surroundings. This decelerated approach allows for greater potential of knowledge absorption, encourages sharing of ideas, and even allows for unexpected encounters / sightings which would have been otherwise missed.
Benefit 4: Keeping calm in the face of unexpected action
Each day on safari is a series of spontaneous, unexpected, natural events and often action can ignite without warning. Whilst your professional guide can sometimes anticipate the action about to take place, it is valuable to have your photographic guide offering support to calm you and give guidance on your camera settings whilst you attempt to capture the unfolding action and events taking place in front of you.
Benefit 5: Review and Improve
Evaluation and critique is an extremely effective way to improve on your photography. Having a skilled teacher to review your images with, not only throughout the day, but more in-depth during the evening discussions, allows for constructive pointers and guidance on ways to improve on your own style.
Benefit 6: Documenting your Journey
Our Wild Studio Team encourage guests to come up with a storyboard, creating a mini portfolio of images which ultimately document your journey and are representative and reflective of the habitats you have visited. At Great Plains Conservation we like to think of our guests as ‘conservation ambassadors’, spreading the message about your wildlife experiences, and the delicate tipping point on which these biospheres are balanced upon, all whilst reflecting your personal view and perspective of this incredible part of the world with others.
Benefit 7: It’s a journey of self-discovery
Photography is the dominant medium of the twenty-first century, and we have become a largely visual culture. As a powerful form of visual expression, photography creates an accord between the inner landscape and the outer landscape, and our capacity for observation is strengthened and stimulated. Through photography one is able to identify one’s own unique style reflecting a certain emotional tone or handling of form, an expression of one’s own authentic self.
Benefit 8: Capturing the whole story
Too often, photographers travelling to Africa tend to focus on capturing images of wildlife or birdlife species. Particularly for those getting started in photography, the excitement of photographing an animal overshadows the enjoyment and appreciation of the scenery. Rarely does one walk away with a portfolio which captures the whole story. Our Wild Studio workshops allow for, and encourage, guests to take advantage of the entire environment – taking into account the landscapes, the weather patterns, the flora, the abundance or scarcity of food – these all impact the expression of one’s experience in its entirety and can add one’s capability of visual storytelling.
Benefit 9: Using colour elements to create powerful and emotive images
A photograph’s impact on a viewer can be aided or hindered by the choice of colour and often using different colour elements can alter the viewer’s perspective relaying a more powerful message. Black and white images appear to be more timeless, and with the right lighting can incorporate an element of drama or channel the viewer’s focus on a subject’s emotional state. Colour, on the other hand, can be used to catch attention or emphasise the relationships between subject matter within the image. Sepia is often used as a technique to give the appearance of travelling back in time, a bygone era –creating a sense of nostalgia or warmth. Our Wild Studio guide will walk you through the different colour elements and teach you to utilise these techniques to create more emotive images.
Benefit 10: The learning is continual
Departing from the Wild Studio workshop, guests not only take with them the memories and images captured during their safari experience, but also a new set of learned photographic skills, as well as a greater awareness and understanding of these incredible ecosystems and a fresh way of looking at our environments. Practicing these photographic techniques and using the skills taught during our workshop in different environments, allows for a continuous and ever-shifting learning cycle. In addition, having spent several days with your guide, developing a friendship and shared passion for the field of photography, you are able to maintain correspondence to share ideas, ask questions and continue to expand on your photographic knowledge.
Great Plains Conservation has a number of fixed date Wild Studio Photography workshops available as outlined below:-
2017 SPECIAL RATES DUBA EXPEDITION CAMP – BOTSWANA
4 Nights – Wild Studio Photography Tuition – $3 160 per person sharing 20th to 24th November 2017
2018 SPECIAL RATES SELINDA CAMP – BOTSWANA
5 Nights – Wild Studio Photography Tuition – $3 950 per person sharing 19th to 24th February 2018; 5th to 10th March 2018; 17th to 22nd March 2018
MARA EXPEDITION CAMP – KENYA
5 Nights – Wild Studio Photography Tuition – $3 864 per person sharing 19th to 24th February 2018 ; 27th March to 1st April 2018 ; 2nd to 7th April 2018
7 Nights – Wild Studio Photography Tuition – $5 761 per person sharing (3 nights ol Donyo Lodge + 4 nights Mara Expedition Camp) 9th to 16th February 2018; 17th to 24th March 2018
To read more about our Wild Studio workshops, visit the Travel + Leisure magazine’s October edition where journalist Marcel Theroux takes on a Wild Studio workshop and shares his experience of how “a safari in Kenya can Turn total amateurs into skilled wildlife photographers”