The unique aspect of having a professional photographer with many years of experience photographing Botswana, along with a guide who understands the importance of lighting and being in the right position is what sets this trip apart from many others. Whether you are a keen beginner with their first DSLR or an experienced photographer looking to take your images to the next stage, you need not worry about the workshop being pitched at the wrong level. All seats in the vehicle are window seats, but we will tend to switch seats regularly to allow everyone to take advantage of different perspectives.
These safaris focus on teaching guests how to get the most out of their camera in order to get the right shot.
Award winning photographer, James Gifford has always been an avid traveller. It was the continent of Africa and its wildlife that first captivated him from an early age, beckoning repeatedly until it could eventually be called home. He has now spent the last decade living in Botswana on the edge of the world-famous Okavango Delta, photographing wildlife for editorial features, running specialist photographic safaris and conducting commercial photographic and video shoots for luxury safari lodges.
In 2016 James won the wildlife photograph of the year award in Nature’s Best Photography Africa competition, in addition to being a finalist in the Big Picture Natural World competition. His work has been published in numerous magazines including Africa Geographic, BBC Wildlife, Geographical, Travel Africa and The Times. In 2010 he wrote and published the popular handbook, “Wildlife Photography in Botswana” and his images have also featured in a range of other publications from glossy coffee table books to ubiquitous best-selling guide books. He has spent the last two years working on a project in Savute for his own large format book which is due to be published in early 2017.
James views photography as a powerful conservational tool – its instantaneous universal appeal and visual simplicity make it the perfect medium to illustrate the complex plight of Africa’s diminishing wildlife and he regularly works in conjunction with a number of local research and community projects.
Whether teaching photography to local children or on safari workshops tailored towards keen photographers, his goal remains the same: to impart as much of his knowledge as possible and open people’s eyes to the power of photography to influence the way we think about the world.
On safari, James’s wealth of wildlife experience will ensure you are perfectly positioned in advance of the action. During the course of the workshop, you will cover all aspects of photography from the technical fundamentals to creative use of shutter speeds and light giving you the tools and the inspiration to capture unique images of the amazingly diverse array of wildlife you are sure to encounter.
The overriding goals of the workshop (other than you having a good time!) are to teach you about both technical and compositional aspects of photography which will enable you to perfect those “classic” wildlife portraits and also open the door to more creative techniques such as panning, use of light, capturing birds in flight and animal behaviour. No matter how low (or high) your initial level of proficiency you will leave the trip with a full understanding of exposure, aperture, shutter speed and other technical elements. Even more importantly, by the end of the workshop you will have gained a certain familiarity with your camera settings, so you will start to adjust them automatically when a certain situation arises in order to create the effect that you desire. This speed of thought is the key to capturing good wildlife images.
We will aim to cover as many techniques as possible during the trip as and when a particular sighting allows it. Often this will mean staying at a sighting longer than on a normal safari, particularly if we feel a ‘change of light or an imminent bout of subject activity will provide a better ultimate image. Although everyone is keen for the stereotypical big game images, we will also focus on the endless possibilities of macro photography whose colours and occasionally abstract nature can lead to spectacular photographs. In addition, there will be plenty of opportunities to practice landscape shots during the expedition, especially at sunset not to mention a myriad of potential bird photographs. This will not only diversify your subject matter but also help you to acquire different skills which are applicable in all genres of photography.
After lunch each day we are in camp, we will spend some time going over and assessing the images from the previous day giving you the opportunity to learn from mistakes and to appreciate the factors that make a striking photograph, be it one of yours or one of your fellow photographers. This constant learning process is a vital element to improving your photography and to be able to compress the process into ten days helps to engrain the details in your mind, leading to more instinctive photographic decisions.
The unique aspect of having two professional photographers with many years of experience photographing Botswana, divided between a maximum of six guests is what sets this trip apart from many others. With only three guests per photographer, the ensuing individual attention means that whether you are a keen beginner with their first DSLR or an experienced photographer looking to take your images to the next stage, you need not worry about the workshop being pitched at the wrong level. All seats in the vehicle are window seats, but we will tend to switch seats regularly to allow everyone to take advantage of different perspectives and to gain the greatest benefit from each of your photographic tutor.
Letaka Photographic WorkshopsView this entire gallery
James Gifford was raised in the United Kingdom and worked in The City before giving up the bright lights of London to work at Jacks Camp in the Makg ...View all of the guides