Course report: Wilderness Photography Course

To run a Wilderness Photography course, you have to find a location that offers a diverse selection of shooting opportunities. The Makuleke concession in the Norther Kruger Park is one of those special locations and it just proved perfect for the first photography course for 2018.

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 enquiries@ecotraining.co.za for more information.