Makuleke Photography Testimonial

 

The rewarding part of any of my Nature Experiences with guests, is when one of them take the time to put thoughts on paper and send it to you without any other reason, than how thankful they are for the experience and how the time has changed their outlook on nature and photography.

Thank you to Thomas for sending me this letter and some of his personal favourite images. I also look forward to seeing him again in March 2023 as he has in fact, book another Makuleke experience with me as the host.

Makuleke Photography Testimonial

Makuleke Photography Testimonial from Thomas Weidner, Germany

I like to be out in nature and photography is my hobby. I was therefore very happy to participate in the Wilderness Photography Workshop, not least to visit an area of Africa that I have read a lot about – Makuleke. I had never participated in a photography workshop before, nor had I ever been to the bush, and at 61 years of age I knew that I was not the youngest in the group, so I set off from Germany on the long journey with many expectations and some concerns.

I felt very comfortable in Makuleke from the moment I arrived, our photography coach Andrew gave us a very warm welcome and all five of us had a very good connection to each other from the very first moment, a common hobby just connects a lot.

For me, as the only participant from outside South Africa, it was also, beyond the goals of the workshop, a very special pleasure to be part of this group and to learn a lot also about life in South Africa. I was also very impressed by the strong connection of my colleagues with nature and their great knowledge about it.

Our days were divided into two game drives, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, each time leaving early and returning in the evening after dark, sometimes with short bush walks. One day we made a fantastic walk into the Luvuvhu river gorge, which was an outstanding experience. Andrew planned the tours, according to his agenda, with the guides and then gave us recommendations

He has an endless wealth of experience in this regard and was happy to share it with us generously. The main points were how to best set up the camera in the natural light, how to best photograph it and as a further focus creativity and composition. Andrew prepared for each of us, both in terms of equipment and photographic knowledge. In doing so, he opened up opportunities for all of us to grow, right from where we were.

He showed us, many camera settings that allow us to take sharper and more creative photos.

Because of the diversity of the landscape and wildlife and the changes in lighting conditions, these practical tips on how best to light and visualize the subject at hand were very valuable to me and could also be implemented immediately in the field. I also learned how important it is, especially with animals, to know their behavior in order to anticipate predictable movements and thus take unique photos. Clearly, I still have a lot to learn in this area.

For me, some things that I considered set were thrown overboard and I continue to apply this knowledge and enjoy the new quality in my images. Andrew also encouraged us to use black and white photography, something I hadn’t thought of before and which can produce some amazing photos. I took some photos during the workshop that will stay with me forever and inspire me every time I look at them. What more can you expect?

The days in Makuleke were instructive, interesting and entertaining. In addition to the instructions on the field, there were also presentations on certain topics in the camp or we discussed certain topics with Andrew. My own modest contribution may have been to show my colleagues, who were all using Canon gear, that Sony cameras also produce acceptable results.

Our head guide Tayla, together with the backup guide Ben, drove us during these days with great kindness, patience, mindfulness and skill through the bush to many beautiful places and spots. Her extensive knowledge of flora and fauna was a great asset. She also always made sure that we did not disturb the wildlife and were able to move safely at our destinations. Our guides were a great and confident team, we felt very comfortable.

Also in the Makuleke camp was a very good atmosphere between all present with nice rounds around the campfire in the evening. Not to forget how great we were supplied and spoiled by the kitchen. For me it was a very special and instructive time under many aspects. Photographically, Andrew has opened some doors for me and I look forward to applying the new knowledge.

The experience in nature, the diversity of the landscape and variety of animals is not comparable to anything I had experienced or seen before. And of course the encounters and exchanges with my course colleagues and the people who live and work there have impressed me very much. I am very glad and happy that I dared this adventure and the long journey.

The nice thing is that in photography it goes on and on, and who knows, maybe I will sign up again for this wonderful and very special Wilderness Photography workshop.

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