I’ve spent most of my life as a landscape photographer, not pursuing wildlife unless it has been a very specific shoot. Things are changing!
I know the landscape well, in fact I have experienced many moments while in the wilderness that are difficult or impossible to capture in writing or photos. These moments, as illusive as they drive me to not only experience them again but to find that special place where I can compose what I feel into a image that shares the experience.
Having said this there is a missing element in landscape photography, attitude! I know occasionally a particular post processing style will convey an attitude, but mostly that is of the photographer not the subject matter or location. Missing “attitude” in landscape photography is not necessarily bad, as it is merely not applicable. Once you include a human element or wildlife, all changes.
The very simple expression, either with a face, entire body position or even location within the landscape can alter the viewers experience greatly. I have found if exciting to attempt to capture some attitude in the animals I am observing. I will be teaching this during my next safari/workshop in Kenya, Feb 2013.
Sparring Wildebeests: The Masai Mara is full of Wildebeest and most are considered fairly boring animals to photograph. In fact there are so many of them that they end up getting in the way often. Most images you might see of them are taken during the great migration where they cross the Mara River and get eaten or drowned. What I came to realize while on safari over the course of many game drives is just how unique these “beasties” really are. Set in motion to convey the perpetual motion they live in, these two fight for dominance.
Hunting Hyena: The Hyena is not an easy animal to photograph. Most people cringe when they view images of these predators. I believe this low dramatic dusk light portrayed their reputation well. Most seemed to cruz through the bush at a constant pace, always on the prowl with their head down.
Mother Lion (opening shot for this post): There is not much more cute than lion cubs. What they do is equally compelling to observe. But, the understanding mother is equally interesting. This mother lion had been cleaning this cub as well as two others for about a half hour before they began rolling away while caught up in playing. Then, this one looked up and realized the distance had grown to far from mom. He suddenly ran back behind her and with a playful bite gave mom the comfort of knowing he was still there.
Family of Giraffes: I’m not certain this is a real family but it sure could be. The amazing story of the little one trying to stay caught up with everyone else was too hard not to notice. I can just hear the older sibling cursing the little one for not keeping up, and the little one calling to everyone else to wait.
The dive: Eagles hunt with such concentration that this photo proved to me they have a hard time keeping their bodies up with their sight. I knew eagles were spectacular flyers, but…….. After watching them dive for Herring fish while in Alaska, I thought I noticed a moment when the begin the dive and twist their bodies, but was unable to tell for sure as they move so quick. After attempting to capture this potential scene over and over and over again I finally got lucky and could see just how maneuverable they really could be.