Jul 11, 2013

People Snapping Safaris

Okay, so this post is really a plea. We all know that photography is a voyeuristic passion. Oh, come on. Don't pretend you didn't know! With a camera to your eye (or worse, a picture in your hand or pixels on a screen) you can stare all you like. A safari often turns out to be something similar. I don't just mean looking and picturing wildlife. I'm talking about those guys ... those other people. Shhhh ....!

Sometimes you might find bouncing about on the back of a vehicle getting a little dull. Or maybe those lions have been lying on their backs for the last half an hour, barely moving, and you've already pushed your creativity by doing the paws in the air shot and then the abstracts. You've cleaned the grease off your LCD screen and you are wondering what the time is.

And then as if out of nowhere you see them, those other guys, and predator like you become attentive and alert. You're back to being a camera slinger now and they're the rustlers. We can break these new subjects into a couple of different categories.

1. The Guy Next To You. This is often the start. Its passive and its kinda what you do with your mates and your cell phone back home, so why not here, on safari and with your DSLR?

2. The Vehicle Next To You. Unlike walking with wildlife, if you're in a vehicle you are probably not the only group there. Thankfully there are some ethically sensitive operators who have a policy of limiting two vehicles to a sighting. So your eyes will stray and you will start to stare (how else are you going to see what equipment they are using, right?)

 (And if you haven't asked it already, you should be thinking ... Where is the driver? The answer? Behind the camera - and the rhino!)


 3. The Mirror Next to You. Mirrors make great framing elements for other subjects but it is often a little cliché. Look for other types of images and use mirrors to add that little personal touch (and I don't just mean as in yourself). Whenever I am about to embark on a game drive, I always check the mirrors and give then a little wipe. Your driver might think you're a little hygiene sensitive and thank you awkwardly. The mirrors are almost always dirty and a dirty mirror really doesn't help an image at all. 

4.The Other Guy In The Campsite Next To You. Its not always about being confined to a vehicle. In many of Africa's best parks, fences don't really come into the picture (so to speak!) So when you downloading and 'oooing' and 'ahhing' over your previous encounter, keep a weary eye. Elephants don't knock, why would they? You are sitting in their house. In the picture below, my brother contemplates the approach of tea time and the failed departure of an elephant!

5. Just The People Next To You. So we return, effortlessly it would seem to voyeurism. (Okay I exaggerate a little). Have you ever watched, say, two people argueing in the car next to you at a traffic light, or accross the street? You see them going at it, hands and all, but you can't hear a word. So you smile to your self and imagine the words, the cause and the probable outcome. This next image is a little like that because I shot it without including in my frame whatever they are looking at. You have to imagine what it might be. Out of the eight people, there are five different directions being looked in, and with varying levels of enthusiasm. So what are they looking at?
Imagine what it might be 'cos I'm not telling you!