This page contains submitted images and commentary from members of our September, 2008Botswana Safari Expedition Workshop.
A selection of images by Michael Reichmann and additional commentary on the shoot is also availablehere.
400 mm DO lens, 1/500th sec at F/4 and ISO 400
Canon 1Ds MKIII, 400 mm DO lens
1/320 sec at F/6.3, ISO 1600
Canon 1Ds MKIII, 400 mm DO lens,
1/200 sec at F/5.6 and ISO 400
First of all, I would like to give lots of kudos to Andy and Michael for organizing an amazing trip. The planning was outstanding, and the execution was flawless. Combined with the fact that we were lucky to have a wonderful group of participants, this became a truly memorable experience. A big round of applause and lots of gratitude to the two of you, particularly to Andy who stayed the course in spite of his family going through tremendous hardship because of Hurricane Ian back in Houston.
This was not my first trip to Africa, so I had some idea of what to expect. Africa has always been for me a totally unique experience. Somehow, being out in the bush has a way of immediately putting in perspective what is really important in life, as well as how small and fragile our planet and all its inhabitants, including humans, really are.
I knew that pretty much everyone on the trip wanted to focus on wildlife, so I chose my equipment accordingly: Two Canon 1Ds MK III bodies with an assortment of lenses. From prior experience I knew that the vast majority of my images would be taken with the 400 mm DO lens and with the 70-200 mm F/2.8 IS L lens. This indeed turned out to be the case.
We have all seen massive amounts of wildlife images from outstanding artists that spend months if not years in pursuit of a good photograph. How one can even begin to think about capturing a unique image is just plain scary.
Having something fresh, or something unique is a daunting task. It requires focus, patience, enormous skill and during a short trip like this a good amount of luck. Botswana is a great place to search for a lucky occurrence because the wildlife is so plentiful. At the same time, the Kalahari desert landscape is so unlike anything anywhere else on earth, that it presents some unique opportunities for those with a keen eye and an open mind.
Unlike most folks that participated in the workshop, I would have been ecstatic to shoot the landscape with a view camera instead, and to simply enjoy the images of the animals in my brain. I may actually do exactly that on my next trip to Africa. But, I digress, so let’s get back to the workshop.
I mentioned that wildlife is very plentiful in Botswana. I wanted to represent this by shooting large groups of animals. My first successful image in this regard is the image of "The birds".
We enjoyed absolutely wonderful sunrises and sunsets, with the opportunity to make some great images or end up with another "postcard cliche". Sometimes it is hard for oneself to determine which is the case, because being there in the moment tends to bias one’s view of the image. So, at my own risk, I have included two sunset images, one with a lioness and one with two giraffes.
When shooting wildlife, I, like Michael Reichmann, always look for environmental portraits or images that put the specific animal in the context of their lives. I am always looking for something either significant or something exciting that can produce an image out of the ordinary. The image of the impala jumping, and the image of the leopard surveying his territory were taken with this in mind.
I did have an opportunity to shoot some landscapes, although I consider a 35 mm size DSLR the wrong tool for this. To my eyes, one of the most beautiful things about the landscape in Botswana are the vast areas with water and small islands and the vegetation, including many types of reeds. The last image I am posting here was taken from the helicopter and focuses on an island covered with reeds.
As I said before, the workshop was truly a memorable experience, and Africa is now in my blood even stronger than before. I am definitely going back again, and I hope I can do it with Andy and Michael one more time.
Southern Carmine Bee Eate