Course report: Wilderness Photography Course

Etienne Oosthuizen in action (c) Willie van Eeden

Makuleke is more than just the Northern reaches of the Kruger National Park. It the last vestige of true wildness in the Kruger Park and by default South Africa. It’s a region of incomparable beauty, filled with unique landscapes, amazing diversity of wildlife and millennia of human history.

From 13 to 19 March 2018, EcoTraining hosted a Wilderness Photography course at our camp on the Makuleke concession. The experience was shared by a wonderful group of aspirant photographers with the same goal in mind – to learn how to take beautiful images of the African bush and its inhabitants.

The course always starts off with the absolute basics of exposure. This is a fundamental topic at the start of a photography course, to make sure everybody understands the relationship of Aperture, shutter speed and ISO. With this understanding as a foundation, any photography technical issue can be problem solved.

Once these technicalities are understood, we then move onto creativity and composition. This is where we spend a lot of time discussing differences in approaches to photographing similar scenes. I shared my images taken during the course and explained my thought process behind each image. It’s always amazing to see the diversity of photographs that come from the very same scene being photographed.

This group was always ready to wake up very early on cold, wet mornings, before sunrise to drive 2 hours to photograph a sunrise, one of which was a scene that epitomises wilderness, Lanner Gorge.

Lanner Gorge (c) Etienne Oosthuizen

One particularly morning they had the patience to sit in direct sunlight with the mercury flirting dangerously close to 38 degrees so that we can photograph elephants dust bathing after their morning swim. The persistence and stamina to walk repeatedly over ancient paths in a mystical fever tree forest in search of bull elephants that frequent the forests. They were happy to walk and investigate every giant Baobab, to find one that could match the drama of a sunrise or sunset over this ancient land.

Elephants dust bathing (c) Etienne Oosthuizen

We shared some great experiences and I am sure many will stay in contact with each other after our amazing course in the Makuleke.

If you want to brush up on your photography skills, join us on the next Wilderness Photography course from 3 August – 9 August in the same magical place called Makuleke. Visit our website or email [email protected] for more information.

About the Author:
Etienne Oosthuizen

Etienne Oosthuizen

Explore more

Instructor Richard Davis giving a lecture to several students in nature

Wildlife Conservation with EcoTraining

EcoTraining showcases its commitment to wildlife conservation and environmental preservation by promoting sustainable practices and educating people about protecting endangered species. EcoTraining sets the bar high with its courses, trains field guides, and instils a sense of responsibility towards nature and wildlife.

Read more
a group of students looking at tracks in the sand

Understanding Wildlife Tracking

The ancient art of tracking unveils the secrets of animal behaviour. We explore the key steps of identifying, interpreting, and tracking wild animals in the heart of the South African wilderness.

“Do not be afraid to get dirty. Get down on your knees and have a close look at the tracks. It is essential to take your time. You can make a mistake by being too quick on the trigger when identifying tracks,” said Gerhard Delport, a former EcoTracker student.

Read more
students at lanner gorge

EcoTraining Celebrates 30 Years of Excellence

Thirty years of EcoTraining is a significant milestone. This celebration is a testament to EcoTraining’s long history of promoting field guiding and wildlife conservation. It’s an opportunity to inspire the next generation of passionate individuals who will continue the legacy of creating guardians of the natural world.

Read more

Start your wildlife career

Want to become a field or nature guide? Explore our immersive courses and training programmes for professional safari guides and guardians of nature, taught and led by experts in the industry.

EcoTraining offers career and accredited courses, wildlife enthusiast courses, gap year programmes and customised group travel courses.

Join our nature-loving community.