Vumbura Plains, Botswana

A beginner’s guide to photography



Megon Venter


Professional wildlife photographer Brooke Bartleson embarked on her first ever safari recently with Wilderness. On her journey she managed to connect with a few of our Wilderness guides, giving some excellent tutelage in what makes an original photograph, helping them do the same for you. Here are some of her tips and tricks from the trade:



Camera Orientation


Being familiar with your camera is probably the best place to start with photography. It may sound obvious, but removing the lens cap is the first step, allowing you to be ready for the action when it happens. The other things to look for on your camera is the view finder, the mode dial and the thumb dial. These will allow you to see your subject clearly, move between modes and change settings within these modes.



The Rule of Thirds


Photography uses some of the same principles as art when it comes to ratios and composition. Composing your image well will allow you to tell a story; for example, a lion gazing intensely at a herd of impala in the distance can be conveyed well by focusing on the eyes of the lion while giving some breathing room on one side of the image for the viewer to imagine what he may be looking at.


A clever way to do this is through the rule of thirds. Think of it as dividing your rectangular frame into imaginary thirds and placing the subject on one of those intersecting gridlines on the left or right/top or bottom of the frame. This creates a balanced feeling in the photograph and gives some context to the subject you have captured.



Manual and Autofocus


According to Brooke, even professional photographers make use of autofocus, so relying on this is not something to be too concerned about. Manual focus is sometimes necessary if your focus needs to be adjusted beyond what the camera does automatically; but when you’re on safari or anywhere capturing wildlife, autofocus is perfect so that you’re more likely to get every shot in focus.



Camera Troubleshooting


One of the most helpful tips Brooke imparted to our guides was what to do when your camera doesn’t seem to be working as it should. For example, if you’re looking through your viewfinder and the scene appears blurred, it could be that its focus (different to the setting on the camera lens) has been changed to accommodate someone else’s vision (or simply by accident).


Another thing that could potentially happen is that the lens has been changed to manual focus. On some cameras, there is a slider that shifts backwards and forwards to change this. Check that this is slide is switched back to ‘AF’ to get back to auto-focus.



Now all that’s left to do is go out and shoot your own magnificent photographs using Brooke’s expert advice. No matter whether you are just starting out or consider yourself a seasoned photographer.

Let’s plan your next journey


When we say we’re there every step of the way, we mean it, literally. From planning the perfect circuit, to private inter-camp transfers on Wilderness Air, and easing you through Customs. We’re with you on the ground, at your side, 24-7, from start to finish. Ready to take the road less travelled? Contact our Travel Designers to plan an unforgettable journey.