One of the craziest things I hear people say on safari is, “don’t stop, we already saw ________ (fill in animal of your choice).” I am amazed at people who think that seeing something once means they shouldn’t bother looking. Yes, in a literal sense, they are correct. They have seen it, but seeing something does not mean you have learned anything or that you know anything about what you have seen.
Wildlife constantly changes its behavior. One sighting might reveal an elephant slowly walking along the side of the road. A few minutes later, and that same boring subject might enter into a play fight with an older sibling. You never know what is going to happen and the only way you can find out is to by there and wait for the drama to unfold.
From a photographer’s point of view, spending time with a subject, or visiting repeatedly, offers the opportunity to capture a wide range of different images, most of which would not be available after a single, short visit. I am constantly stressing to my students the importance of working the subject. Do not be satisfied with the first picture you take. Beginning photographers are eager to take pictures, but they rarely take enough. One click of the shutter and they think they got the shot. More experienced photographers know differently. The first shot might be good, but the goal is to do better. Look for new angles, interesting perspectives, or something that stands out as different. Only by working the subject from every possible angle will your photography progress beyond the simple record shot.
Oh, by the way, after you are done shooting all of those different images, throw out the bad ones and only share the good ones. It is one of the tricks we use to make people think we are good.
So, the assignment for this week is to pick a subject and work it. You can pick a specific subject (a child) or a type of subject (cars). The challenge is for you to capture a wide range of images depicting that subject in different ways. How many images do you need? There really isn’t a set number, but when you reach the point of where you just can’t think of another image, you are probably half-way there. Trust me, if you stick with it you will come up with more ideas. The difficult ones are usually the best. Enjoy.
In keeping with my elephant theme (some might call it an obsession) this week, I though I would share a collection of elephant images from my most recent safari (my subject of choice). I enjoy spending time with elephants in the field and hope to spend more time with them in the future because I never know what images I am going to capture. The one thing I do know is that it will be fun.
(Click on images to see larger versions)