As experts in the field of technical outdoor clothing, Craghoppers prides itself in working with like-minded companies that are also experts in their own field. Our new partner – Wild Eye – is just that.
Wild Eye run a safari and exclusive holiday experience company which specialise in offering scheduled tours, custom itineraries or privately guided safaris, across 25 different countries, which appeal to nature lovers, photographers, adventurers and travel enthusiasts the world over!
For World Photography Day, we wanted to dig a little deeper and find out more about some of the photographer guides that help to make these trips so special.
- How long had they been doing photography for?
- What was their favourite piece of equipment?
- And what tips did they have for anyone starting out in photography?
We managed to speak to some of them and they had this to tell us:
Johan van Zyl has been doing photography for the past 14 years. His favourite pieces of photographic equipment are his 400mm 2.8 and 70-200mm lenses. Which must explain the breathtaking images he has shot on his popular tours of the Eastern Cape, Madikwe, Zambia and Botswana. When asked about what tips he had for beginners in photography, he said, “Don’t get caught up with all the gear hype. Get entry level gear, learn your craft and grow from there. There is no shortcut to photography, a lot of it is through trial and error. Understand the technical parts of photography and let your creativity guide you.”
Luke Street started taking photos 10 years ago but it was 6 years ago when he moved to a full time position and at a professional level. He was a safari guide first before discovering his passion for photography. His trusty Nikon D850 is his go-to camera as he doesn’t believe you need to chase the latest and greatest tech. “All modern cameras and lenses are incredible pieces of machinery. You need to focus on the gear you have and know the basics of photography because, at the end of the day, you’re the one taking the images not the gear.”
Matt Yardley keeps his photography tip short and sweet after his 9 years out there. “Always look at the background, what is behind your subject, as often the simpler and less busy it is, the better.”
For Michael Laubscher, the photographic seed was planted way back in the days of using disposable film cameras on holidays with his family. He started focusing on bettering his skills and understanding how to use a camera properly 8 years ago. 90% of his skills and knowledge of photography has been self-taught over the years. Like Johan, Michael cites his 70-200mm f/2.8 lens as his favourite piece of equipment as, “its goes on every adventure with me – regardless of the country or nature of the environment I’ll find myself in. It is simply so diverse that it will do a perfect job just about anywhere.” And reflecting Luke’s sentiments, Michael’s advice would be to not get caught up with the latest and greatest equipment but, “understanding the capabilities of your gear is what truly matters. The best camera to have, is the one you have with you.”
Andrew Beck started dabbling in photography in 2000 but it was only when he started to live and work in the bush around 2003 that he started to take things seriously. “In that time, I’ve learnt a lot and made many a mistake to get to where I am today.” And that is his advice to those starting out, “Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Make as many as you possibly can because that’s the best way to learn what not to do again when you find yourself in the same situation.” He swears by his new Canon R5. “This is a relatively new mirrorless camera from the Canon stable and with many advanced autofocus features and capabilities it has opened up a new world for me to explore and really push my skills to the limits.”
Gerry van der Walt started out 16 years ago doing travel photography for many years before switching to wildlife. He uses an Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 which he uses for more than 80% of his wildlife photography. And for beginners he suggests they: “Learn, shoot, share, repeat” to hone their skills.
As you would expect from this industry Alistair Smith works in, he has to travel extensively and yet he still has a fear of flying. That has not stopped the pursuit of his burning passion for the great outdoors and guiding on amazing safaris in the Masai Mara. He bought his first bridge camera in 2014 and currently uses a fixed Nikon 300mm f/2.8. He suggests that beginners need to, “spend time learning the basics of digital photography and to understand your gear.”
Jono Buffey’s interest in photography started in 2008 but he became a more avid photographer just 3 years later. His favourite camera and lens combo is the Canon 1DX Mark 11 with the Canon 400 lens and like his colleagues, he concurs that beginners, “should never be scared of taking an image. Don’t fret or beat yourself up over the quality of the image. Learn from your mistakes.”
For more details on the amazing adventures Wild Eye offer, visit their website for more details: https://wild-eye.com/