Wildlife photographer vs wildlife watcher

I have some wonderful wild pictures. Indeed, when the shop on this site is reformed, I hope to list some of them. I have a reasonably good camera and when this website starts generating some revenue, I would like to buy a better one.

However, I don’t think I would ever consider myself as wildlife photographer. When I have the animals in front of me of course I want to get good shots of them, however for me it is more important to experience that moment with them.

There are several particular moments I have shared with wild animals that stand out for me. Generally these are when the animal question has shown some interest

The first is when a lioness walked through are camp well we were staying in the selous. She passed no more than 10m from us, and are night guard had at about 8:30 already gone to bed (night guards are also day guides, and each group must pay a nightly fee even if he is already working for another group). She walked through the camp, glaring at us as she went. We were sat near a fire, so she would have been unlikely to approach but that moment our eyes met we’ll stick with me for life. I did not have my camera close enough to hand to snap a shot, but I am not sure I would have done so anyway-it was more important to enjoy the encounter. 

The second was a Croatian bear.my wife and daughter had spent 4 days hiking in the national park, and bar spotting a deer in the distance, we had seen no mammals. As we left, about 100m outside the national park gate, one of the largest European bears I have seen (admittedly a small list of perhaps 15) crashed down the steep bank to our left, and glared at us as it cross the road in front of us. It then crashed down another steep bank, I reasoned that it would take me far less time to run the 5 metres back to my car door, than the bear would take to climb back up the 10 meters vertical distance it has gone down. As I peered into the forest below, in the dim light it was hard to make out much, the bear stopped and look straight back at me and held my gaze for a few seconds before it ran into the forest. Having left the park on this occasion again, my camera was not the hand, however again I would not wish to change this. The moment of understanding the past between us meant more than a picture would have.

The third was while I was at university. I had walked a friend back to college, and had started the walk back to the house I was living in at the time. As I was passing through the edge of Durham, a badger came up the road I was about to go down, wandered past me and ran down the road. As with the previous occasions the moment we shared was brief however it sticks with me more than a picture would have.

The job of a wildlife photographer is to capture that moment. While tourists also want to capture that moment, it should be more important that they enjoy the experience.

While a lot of the wildlife travel opportunities that I list will give you the chance of getting great photos, so many of these species are under threat-being able to talk to people about these fascinating animals and explain why they should stay in the wild should always take priority. In particular, as a traveler the amount of time that you get with wild animals is limited- remember to enjoy the moment. In a semi wild setting, either a sanctuary or similar the situation is different, the animal is likely to be fully habituated to human presence, allowing you to take many pictures and enjoy time with this wild (or semi wild) animal.

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