HIS PERSPECTIVE: How to Take Expert Photos
Updated: Nov 11
An entire African savannah at our fingertips... exotic animals, alluring scenery... memories that will last a lifetime... a burning desire to capture these special moments... and a wife that won't let me borrow her camera.
On a serene and wondrous safari in the heart of Botswana's Chobe National Park, the natural beauty of this world stirred something within me and I was inspired to capture these special moments on theoretical film. Unfortunately, my wife has often been critical of my photography skills. She claims that I lack the "artistic eye" required for creating a captivating picture and was therefore reluctant to hand me her camera. Fortunately, I was able to convince her on a few occasions to let me hold "her precious", and in those moments I was able to capture the immaculate beauty of nature and really let my photography skills soar.
Despite her criticisms of my competency with a camera, I now feel fully vindicated showing off some of the beauties that I captured. I hope my wife used soap the last time she showered, because she's about to stick her foot in her mouth.
Like any good photographer, you have to hunt for the perfect picture, which sometimes means immersing yourself in your surroundings. (Yes, my wife took the picture, but I choreographed it and told her when to click the button.)
While many novice photographers will search for mundane, typical wildlife found on the ground... by staying vigilant you can capture animals of aviation as well!
A lot of "photographers" spend time manipulating and editing photos with "filters", whereas a true camera artist can inspire emotion through raw, unadulterated photos. Here you can feel the genuine anticipation and excitement as we were hot on the trail of a presumably very large animal. I call this photo "Hot On The Trail".
In my humble opinion, one of the most graceful, majestic animals of Africa is the Long-Necked Giraffe. Any novice "photographer" should know about the rule of thirds. While most lemming "photographers" might choose to feature the obvious upper third, only those with the discerning eye and true vision could recognize the beauty of the lower third.
Any photographer worth his salt studies extensively before a safari, in order to quickly and accurately identify and capture the beauty they might find. With some mad stroke of luck, in the early morning hours, we stumbled upon a tower of giraffes peeking out at us from behind a tree, while peacefully looking towards the rising sun.
Occasionally, you are afforded the luxury of time to get the perfect shot. We came upon a wildebeest who appeared extremely tired. This sleepy guy barely moved at all while I fired off countless pictures. (Even as we drove off he continued to snooze the day away.)
The majority of the time, birds are busy nesting, resting, or sitting. On those rare occasions that you can actually find a bird in flight, it is truly something magical to behold. As an expert photographer, you have to be prepared to capture these breath-taking moments.
Great photography doesn't only consist of wildlife! As the sun set at our campsite, I managed to get a perfectly lit snapshot of our scenic camping grounds.
I hesitate to feature a photo my wife took amongst this collage of my own awe-inspiring pictures. One bad apple can rot the entire barrel (of other good apples). (But I'm talking about pictures.) Even a naked mole rat can see how shaky the camera is in this picture---the subject is not in focus, the "photographer" didn't give the industry-standard "3, 2, 1!" courtesy countdown prior to taking the picture, the brightness is overwhelming, etc, etc...
Once the camera was safely back in my hands, I resumed taking stellar photographs of more thrilling sights. The safari guide was too oblivious to notice, but my overall awareness and keen senses helped me notice a baby horse hanging around in the national park.
Later in the day, we saw two warthogs (probably siblings) by the water who appeared to be engaged in horse-play as they rolled around in some sort of wrestling match. (Apparently sibling rivalry isn't just for humans!) I felt just like a photographer for National Geographic!
Considering I don't have a fancy degree in photography (I know. It's hard to believe.), I hope this post proves that anybody can capture awe-inspiring pictures as long as they have a camera and the determination to be great. No matter who may tell you you're not a good photographer (your wife, your mom, your priest, your school cafeteria lunch lady, your pet, the neighbor down the street) just know that you ARE a great photographer and you will improve even more with practice!
You can also check out my wife's photography attempts from Africa, if you really want to.