Most of the animals we saw on our trip to South Africa are grazers. The Red-billed Oxpeckers on the back of this giraffe probably aren’t, although that’s what it looked like to me.
Most of the time photographing wildlife is done at some distance. Depending on the animal and the environment that may be as close as a few feet, but more likely twenty feet would be considered close and 50 to 300 feet not unreasonable. While most of the animals we photographed were free running on game preserves, there were some that were captive and allowed for closer shots. The male White Lion above is at Shambala and is fenced in at the owners property along with two females. They’re fed and cared for, but are certainly not pets. Their human interaction consists of being fed from a distance and being hopeful that one of those tasty looking photographers will fall into the enclosure.
I’ll admit to not being much of a bird watcher. I don’t generally look for them but once in a while one will catch my attention. On our trip to South Africa we couldn’t help but notice hundreds of different species.
The past few weekends we’ve been on a kick of taking animal photo workshops with Arizona Highways Photography Workshops. Arizona Highways is a regional magazine known for stunning photographs of the southwest, and the workshops are an associated organization. The workshops cover quite a range of subjects from technical “how to” courses to multi day photo trips. I’m somewhat ambivalent about photographing animals in a captive environment. On one hand it seems kind of like cheating, but from a realistic standpoint some of these animals are either rare enough or so remote in the wild that a trip to their natural habitat is plainly outside our means. One thing that doesn’t bother me, however, is the care and condition of these animals. Having met and observed some handlers and trainers, I’m comfortable with the care and effort made to keep the animals healthy and engaged. I realize that not every place operates to that high a standard, that’s why some research is helpful before deciding where you want to shoot.
Since coming back from Dubai it’s been busy, and we’ve only just now gotten the chance to take a little break. Today we walked a couple miles on the Southern trail in the White Tanks Mountains, just enjoying the view and taking a few pictures. It was nice this morning with some light cloud cover and a gentle breeze taking the bite out of the sun.
This young lady has become quite accustomed to the the camera, to the point of coming to visit whenever we get near the feeder.