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Pointers by Paul's Photo

Lessons from Africa: Scenery

On safari in Africa the focus of most photographers is the wildlife. Cataloguing snaps, intimate portraits, exciting action and warm & fuzzy animals fills the bucket-list for many safari photographers. Many ignore the stunning scenery and beautiful countryside in Africa, and on many other travel destinations.  This is why I pack the 24-70mm and 70-200mm lens in my safari kit to capture these scenic photos opportunities.

Lesson #1

Tell the story of where you are with a great landscape/scenic photo.

After seeing my wildlife photos in a class or in a gallery the first question asked is always “what does Africa look like?” Hollywood Cinematographers begin with the “establishing shot“ and Photo-Journalists start their story with a “scene setter,” and so should Travel photographers. Take a step back from the wildlife and capturing the scene is always a good practice. Don’t forget to use creative exposure and compositional techniques to make your photos appealing!

Lesson #2

Strong subjects interacting with the environment produces a worthy photograph.

In story-telling photos context is always important. Who is the subject? Where are they? What are they doing? Capturing the animals in the environment is a fantastic opportunity to breathe life into your photos. I find myself drawn to the animals interacting with the environment…. eating, drinking, migrating. I often find a unique landscape feature (tree, pond, or river) and wait for the animals to venture into the frame. These images are often some of my most popular!

Lesson #3

Take advantage of the top photos at your location.

Every location on the planet offers quality photo opportunities… as a photographer we need to search out and be ready to capture the uniqueness when it happens. Africa features legendary sunrises and sunsets! How do you capture that beauty? Plan your picture… time, location, and gear. Find a great foreground to silhouette against the rising or setting sun. Arrive plenty early…. 30 minutes before sunrise or sunset and be set-up. Choose a long telephoto lens to make the sun large in the frame or a wide angle for a beautiful sky. Manage the focus on your foreground element and the exposure to hold detail in the sun and sky.

Creative Photo Academy Photo Safaris are perfect for photographers and non-photographers alike. Our team will guide you to the best locations in comfort and with style. Every Adventure features fantastic opportunities to see the animals, make stunning photos and learn about their behavior. We hope you will join us in Africa, or Yosemite, Death Valley or Yellowstone!