This time around I went with the best camera I ever owned and the best lenses I could afford, to try and shoot wild life like I never did before... literally, I have no experience in shooting wild life to draw upon... with the exception of that asphalt jungle.
As some of you might know, I have been doing some street photography of late... OK, OK, I've been mainly doing that. So I hoped to draw from these experiences on my safaris.
My first big challenge was changing lenses. Some creatures were far away, then, moments later you get to stop in front of a couple of cheetahs meters from your jeep. It's not like they will wait until you get ready for them, even though they are quite leisurely in their movement. When shooting street you are out there with your favorite (slight) wide angle lens and don't need to worry about that. So shooting street did not help me with this skill.
But once I had the right lens on, I was quite fast in shooting what I felt was a telling moment. It even felt like the animals were posing for me, giving me choices for shots...
... like models would... hmm, I might try model shooting next.
My next challenge was shooting with a tele-lens with an extender, which weighed twice the weight of my camera and the limited depth of field which came along. Here again, my street photography experience was no help. Yet once, I figured out how to hold the gear and hone in on my target, I was able to choose the appropriate DOF, frame, and shoot at the moment I liked the most.
Although most shots I took were in the tele-range, and street photography is in the wide-angle-rage, both have something in common: they require that you shoot at the decisive instant. Which means that you need to observe and lean about your photographic subjects, and most of all, be interested in them.
But then there are creatures whose beauty cannot be captured by any skill or technology we could reach... I can only say: go see them with your own eyes.