PhotoMashatu has resident wildlife photographers based at Main camp to help guests with their photography when they are at camp. They can hire out the use of the photographer to join them on game drives as well as for the photographic hides. Read more about who they are and how they can enrich your experience at PhotoMashatu
ESSENCE OF ELEPHANTS
Wildlife photographer of the year 2013, Grand Winner
Since first picking up a camera, Greg has photographed African elephants. ‘I’ve always wanted to capture their special energy and their state of consciousness,’ he says.
The shot was taken at the underground hide at Mashatu Game Rerserve in Botswana’s. Greg used a slow shutter speed to create the atmosphere and ‘to depict these gentle giants in an almost ghostly way.’ He used a tilted wide-angle lens to catch the size of any elephant entering the foreground, and a narrow aperture to create depth of field so that elephants in the background would also be in focus.
To emphasise their mystery, he attached a polarising filter and set his white balance to a cool temperature. The lucky final touch was the baby elephant, which raced by so close. The slow shutter speed conveyed the motion, and a burst of flash at the end of the exposure froze the fleeting detail.
Wildlife photography in Africa is generally done from open vehicles. These vehicles drive around on reserves and in wilderness areas searching for animals to photograph. Once a subject is located, the driver then tries to approach the animal with the best photo opportunity in mind. Of course being in a vehicle you are at the whim of light, the terrain and the animal’s response to your approach. As such, it is relatively seldom that all the factors combine to make intimate photographs. In addition, by driving around searching for subjects, the style of photography becomes an off-the-cuff affair, with you the photographer often happening upon a sighting and taking images of what you can get.
We have long had the idea of having photographic hides in near proximity to the urban centres of South Africa. The intention was to allow inbound international clients a night of relaxation before and after their safari. At the same time they could sit in the hides and get excellent images of the animals and birds that visited them. Finding a location of course was essential and we researched the various types of bushveld to see what would be best suited to the species of birds we wanted to attract. This proved harder than expected, as we required an exact type of habitat.