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Nine reasons to go on a photography safari

Learn photography skills in the best classroom in the world

Marc

Marc

Kenya Specialist
Published on

12 Mar 2020

Updated on

17 Nov 2020

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Anyone who has been on safari will tell you that it’s a life-changing experience - the sights and sounds will stay with you forever but being able to capture them on camera in vibrant detail is something that few manage.

The Swahili word ‘safari’ means journey and a photography safari is a journey in so many ways – it’s one of discovery, adventure, learning, creativity and achievement.

You will learn valuable skills in the greatest classroom on earth, skills which can last a lifetime whilst on a safari in Kenya.

Lion Chris Taylor
There's plenty of big cats in the Masai Mara
Giraffe Chris Taylor
The landscape makes for dramatic images
Zebras Chris Taylor
Iconic species a'plenty

Imagine finding a leopard lazily straddling the branches of a tree, it looks down at you, eyes blazing, you take a photo but all you capture is a fuzzy, silhouette of some branches and a leopard shaped blob. If only you knew how to make the camera take photos like you see in the travel magazines.

It’s really not that difficult, just with a basic understanding of how a handful of settings can be used on your camera, you can take control and get those sharp, vibrant photos you know your camera is capable of.

A photography safari is so much more than just learning how to take stunning photos. Below are nine reasons why a photography safari trip can be the ultimate way to experience what promises to be the adventure of a lifetime.

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Giraffes make fascinating photography subjects

1) The best possible views

All safaris aim to allow you to view the incredible African wildlife but all are not made equal. Some safari trips involve cramming as many people as possible into a truck and whizzing from one animal to another just to get those ‘Big Five’ ticked off.

A good photography safari should aim to get you the best views of the wildlife – our Masai Mara Photography Safari is limited to just four guests per safari vehicle making it an exclusive experience.

As we will be mainly located in a concession of the Maasai Mara, we will have the ability to go ‘off-road’ which will enable us to work with our guide to perfectly position our safari vehicle taking in to consideration light, animal behaviour and something which a lot of people forget about but is just as important, the background and the landscape surrounding our subjects.

The golden hours at dawn & dusk are a photographer’s dream so we will be up early each day and out on the conservancies as the sun comes up. This is a great time to see the nocturnal animals finishing their shift and the diurnal wildlife making the most of the cool mornings.

We’ll have sundowners on the Maasai Mara, with camera in one hand and a cold beer in the other, maybe positioned in front of a waterhole to photograph animals, reflected against the African sunset, as they come for an evening drink.

2) Take your time & slow down

A photography safari is about observing behaviour, sitting with the animals and waiting for them to do their thing. This is when the real magic happens and makes for more compelling images. From a lion’s yawn to the moment two elephants entwine trunks, anything is possible.

While watching the animals our knowledgeable guides will tell us all about their lifestyle and behaviour and I will work with you, in an uncomplicated, straightforward way to ensure we have the perfect camera settings for that ultimate shot.

3) The world’s greatest classroom

Of course, you can do online photography tutorials and be lectured on the fundamentals of photography but there is nothing like learning on the job. And certainly nothing like learning whilst surrounded by animals on the plains of the Maasai Mara.

We’ll spend as much time in the field as possible, during which we will discuss various camera settings and options to make your photos stand out and try different composition techniques. All of which will help you discover your very own style. Then add to the mix the beautiful landscapes and wildlife, personal instruction on how to accurately photograph what you are seeing and you have the ultimate situation in which to learn the wonderful craft of photography.

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4) Like-minded individuals

The beauty of a photographic safari trip is that it brings like-minded people together. People that like a little adventure, to explore creativity, enjoy travel, love wildlife & often have some interesting stories to tell.

When you all have the same objectives, each game drive becomes a much more enjoyable experience where everyone can exchange ideas and encourage and inspire each other.

5) Local culture

All safari experiences are about seeing amazing animals and landscapes but a good photography experience should offer you more. A chance to see more of the culture - our Mara photography adventure will allow us to meet the local Maasai tribe, see their village, hear their singing and take beautiful portraits of these amazing people.

We will visit the Maasai herders one morning to see their weekly cattle dip – the cows launching themselves into the water creating huge splashes as the herders in their traditional red ‘shuka’ robes whistle and shout.

6) Learn to edit your photos

After evening meals, we will host uncomplicated review sessions. Selecting some of your very own images and showing you how to edit and post-process the day’s photos using Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. Although if you would just rather relax by the fire with a cold beer in your hand, that’s fine – this is your journey.

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Travel and learn with like minded people
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experience the culture of the masai
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learn how to edit your images

7) Supporting future conservation

By visiting the conservancies, we are putting money into the local economy. Our conservancy park fees (included in the cost of the trip) go towards helping maintain this precious and fragile ecosystem. The fees help with park maintenance, pay for the dedicated rangers who work hard to prevent poaching and ease human-wildlife conflict.

Money brought to the area by eco-tourism continues to encourage the local land-users to promote and conserve the wildlife around them.

Your amazing photographs may also then encourage others to visit, continuing the cycle, helping to ensure the future of the many endangered species which call the Masai Mara home.

8) Good for the soul

Creativity, surrounded by nature, learning new skills, fresh air, sunshine, good company, incredible views – these are all so good for the soul.

Driving around looking at animals is great but how much more satisfying it is to be honing a skill which gives you the ability to create art, capturing these amazing scenes forever.

Just spending a week with nothing more to think about than taking beautiful photos is a great escape from the humdrum and stresses of everyday life.

9) The trip that lasts a lifetime

Through the personal tutoring provided by me, you will come away with the confidence and knowledge to take photographs you can be proud of and want to show off.

You will understand what settings are needed for specific situations, how to turn a good photo into an amazing photo through some editing, what makes for a compelling composition and so much more.

A photography safari is a fast-track to improving your photographic skills, you will learn the tips and tricks of the pros and benefit from the distillation of years of experience from a seasoned professional. To find out more about traditional safaris, read our ultimate safari guide.

Photography is a huge part of life now, from business websites to social media, anyone is capable of taking great photographs once they have the knowledge.

Where better place to learn this wonderful craft than in the stunning Masai Mara…

For more inspiration, take a look at our 26 favourite safari holidays, our best African honeymoon ideas or our top family safari holidays.

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Text and images supplied by Wildlife Photographer, Chris Taylor.

You can join Chris on a wildlife photography safari in the Masai Mara in Kenya this June - find out more by clicking below...

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