It’s Monday 1st November 2010 and cameras in the park

Last week David Rogers promised to show us some of the photos taken in the photographic workshop – there really are some stunning pictures – and to write about that week. As David says, Photography Safaris are about three different levels of work, gathering images, processing, selecting images and post production. So they tend to do processing and post production in the middle of the day when the shooting light is not great.

Over to David:

“I have run many photographic workshop trips in the Emerald Season but this was the first time that I have hosted a dry season trip at RPS. October proved mighty hot in the Luangwa valley, but so was the game viewing.

Luangwa River Sunset

We started off at Nkwali for the first two nights and we had 6 leopard sightings in the first three drives. We did not need to go far for the elephant either, which congregated each afternoon around the Nkwali dining area and drinking thirstily from the waterhole. What a wonderful host Kanga proved to be providing us with great angles, easy going smiles and just the right amount of information about the animals we were seeing. The carmine bee-eaters were also a highlight.

buffalosLilac breasted roller

In the Nsefu Sector Braston took over. “I wished you had been here this morning,” he told us. “Three Nsefu lionesses killed three buffalo right in front of us. The guest got such a fright he dropped his camera and broke it!”, Braston told me.  He took us to Croc River at sunset to see the site and we had a great view of lionesses and their four cubs scrabbling in the dust. Hundreds of crowned cranes swooping onto the emerald green grass at the hot springs also got our cameras clicking and so did the enormous carmine colony near Tena Tena.


The weather at Nsefu was sweltering and we slept at night under wet kikoys, so it was a great thrill to be able to spend our last night at Luangwa House with its four spectacular bedrooms, swimming pool and shady deck. We spent the afternoon thrilled by the parade of game which included giraffe, baboons, and tons of elephants which were lining up to drink.

On our last evening, after being taken on a drive by Jacob, we sat around and discussed what it is that makes a photographic workshop different from other trips. Firstly there is the chance of being with like-minded people who are prepared to go the extra mile to get great pictures (we were usually up at least an hour before other guests) and to share ideas.

herd of elephantsPhotographic workshop

Certainly photography today is not just about taking images but also processing them. While it’s still vital to take good photographs is certainly possible to turn a photograph, which has no detail in some areas, to something that is much closer to what you see with the human eye. It’s not a matter of creating something that was not there, but simply pulling back on light areas and pushing very dark areas in ways very reminiscent of darkroom techniques of dodging and burning.

elephant skeletonCarmine Bee Eater

We had a fascinating group on this trip and it was very insightful to hear their views on photography. “Being an expert is knowing what to discard,” said Gerhard who is a talented environmental architect from Pretoria who found himself rather swamped by a tally of nearly 2000 images. “When you look at a picture and say I could do that, that is a photograph. When you see something that goes beyond that, it is art,” said Vaughan, a financial analyst from Cape Town.

Carmine Bee Eater

I find these photographic workshops hugely satisfying and realize once again that as a teacher you never stop learning.

I will be back in the Valley in March for the next Emerald Season Workshop.”

Thanks David,

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