Hello & welcome
I am a guide with an insatiable enthusiasm for African wildlife and an absolute passion to help photographers photograph Africa …
Safari Awards 2015 – Winner
Leading Hotels of the World Certificate for Guiding excellence 2012
BBC Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer 2014 – Semi finalist
Getaway Gallery competition finalists – October 2013
Natures Best Photography 2013 – African Wildlife Category Highly Honored finalist
BBC Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer 2012 – Semi finalist
Africa Geographic Canon photographic competition – May 2010 winner
Natures Best Photography 2010 – Semi Finalist
Getaway Wildlife Awards 2007 ~ Animal General Highly Commended
I was very fortunate, that my parents allowed me a lot of freedom while I was growing up on a tobacco farm in Northern Zimbabwe. Everybody needs a reason to be anywhere and I used hunting and fishing as my reason to explore the farm and surrounding bush. This eventually grew into a curiosity in the natural world and it was not long before I replaced my rifle for a pair of binoculars, I still have the fishing rod thou …
That is a difficult question to answer, as I have only spent my life in the African environment, with the exception of a few short years in Australia. I envy people that grew up in the rest of the world, in that they will experience something that Africans never will. That sensation of arriving in Africa for the first time, it must be a magical experience. The closest I have come to that experience, was on the Rim of Ngorongoro crater, there in front of me was the whole of Africa in a bowl. The compelling thing about Africa is the special emotions associated with the continent, often my guests say that Africa gives them a “coming home” feeling, a sense of place …
I only ever got one distinction while at school and that was for art, so I have a bit of a creative streak in me. As a professional safari guide, it did not take me long to find my way into wildlife photography. However for me it was not really a tool I used to document what I see, but rather a way for me to channel my creativity. When Leana and I were managing Old Mondoro in the Lower Zambezi National park, I started a personal blog that I used as a diary for the day to day happening around camp, which allowed family and friends to follow us and stay up to date.
I see myself as a guide rather than a photographer, because I specialize in guiding photographers I get plenty of oppertunites to shoot along side my guests and I get to experanince and photograph Africa daily. So I have had plenty of oppertunites to capture amazing scenes.
There is a bit of a rush when a particular image does well in a competition and over the years I have been lucky enough to have some of my images published in various magazines, (Getaway travel, Ranger Rick – National Wildlife Federation magazine, National Geographic traveler and Africa Geographic, Discovery – Cathay Pacific inflight magazine) and a few photographs have gone on and done very well in numerous international photography competitions (BBC Veolia Wildlife Photographer of the year, Getaway Gallery, Windland Smith Rice & Nature’s Best Photography competition, Africa Geographic).
It is photography itself that has opened a brand new direction for me in my guiding and I am very happy that I started guiding with a photographic mind set from early on. So I enjoy every single moment with one of my clients that manage to photograph a moment or scene on their wish list and its something I set out to achieve on every safari.
Long answer: No I look for amazing light, that’s a dangerous question for a wildlife photographer. Most photographer loose complete focus when they find out there is a special animal that can be photographed. That’s why Leopards are often very frustrating for me as a photographic guide, most visitors to Africa would love to see a leopard and when one is found, they are very secretive and often in the shadows. Which is never really an appealing photograph.
That’s where guiding photographers is very different to guiding normal travelers, its easier for me to sell the idea of photographing a common animal in very good light, after a few quick images have been taken of a sleeping leopard in deep shade, all photographers will be happy to move onto something in golden light.
Short Answer: Yes, a Pangolin
Perfect Answer: When the long and the short answers come together, amazing subject matter (Pangolin or that Leopard) in golden Light. The Holy Grail for Wildlife photographers.
Personal attention to photography details, every aspect of a safari needs to be tailored to the photographic client. A safari experience extends beyond the actual safari, preparing the photographers for specific destinations, before they arrive so they are ready and able to capture specific images. Its about knowing what they want, what they need and delivering that experience to the very best of my ability.
I prioritize on what is important, I specialize in guiding photographers and I don’t make a living from selling photographs. So my priority is the clients, their photographic experience and ultimately there photographs.
The catch twenty two is that marketing my self as a skilled photographic guide and to be able to do this I need to show my skills as a photographer. Fortunately I get plenty of opportunities to shoot along side my guests, it is part and parcel of guiding photographers. It is important for me to know what a scene looks like through the eyes/lens of the photographers. It also allows me to react if the light changes or a scene develops, this gives me a better understanding on how to answer questions on exposure and camera settings.
Any cameras can be used to photograph an animal, but not all cameras are suitable for wildlife photography. The 35mm Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) has been the camera of choice for most professional wildlife photographers. One of the biggest advantages of this system is its ability to change lenses which then changes the focal length and can completely alter the image that falls onto the sensor, an enormous advantage for a wildlife photographer who has to react to different and ever changing scenes.
As a starting point looking at buying a Wide angle lens (16 to 24mm), a standard zoom lens (35 to 70mm) and a telephoto zoom lens (70 to 300mm). If your budget allows look at getting a fast telephoto prime (500mm f4 or 600mm f4).