A unique perspective; guest blog post by Tabby Mittins & Villiers Steyn

Elephant

Wildlife photography is a competitive business, even when it’s only a hobby.

The restrictions faced by wildlife photographers are somewhat heftier than those of, say, wedding photographers in that conditions are mostly uncontrollable, subjects are often unpredictable, and the whole business of photographing wild animals is a bit of a gamble and relies largely on luck.

Bushbuck

Shem Compion, wildlife photographer and author of ‘The insider’s guide to top wildlife photography spots in South Africa’ and ‘The insider’s guide to wildlife photography spots in Botswana and Namibia’, has provided the world of wildlife photographers a unique view of the world of wildlife, one that need not be based on which way up your horseshoe lies. He has come up with the ingenious idea of a half-buried hide right beside a waterhole.

The hide

The eye-level photographs taken from this cleverly-renovated shipping container in Mashatu Game Reserve in the north-eastern Tuli Block in Botswana are perhaps matched only by Greg du Toit’s world-famous shots of free-roaming east-African lions, the biggest difference being that to capture them you don’t have to sit in the middle of a puddle of murky water in the hot sun for hours at a time, enduring the determined burrowing of various nematodes into your skin.  Not many of us have the patience or constitution for that kind of thing.

Warthogs

Instead, guests to the hide have comfortable bar-stools, a bottomless supply of coffee, and the company of a knowledgeable guide and professional photographer while they wait patiently for whatever the day has in store.

Hide – interior

The underground hide is new and exciting enough to create a stampede of avid amateurs and professionals rushing to capture a piece of the action.  Most who descend into the submerged metal box keep their fingers crossed for one of Mashatu’s numerous herds of relaxed elephants to stop by for a jovial splash, even if it means only a photograph of one of their toenails, but even a flock of guinea fowl offers up an impressive sight in the early morning light.

Kudus, impala, eland, and baboons, slowly getting accustomed to the click and whir of shutters, also make regular appearances, and once, just once, a leopard was spotted not at the water, but close enough to believe that someday soon some lucky soul is going to capture that first, award-winning shot of a leopard lapping up the still water and staring directly into the camera.

Guinea fowl

Wildlife photography is always going to be challenging, and subjects are always going to be mostly unpredictable, but from Mashatu’s underground hide the stage is set for some of the most breathtaking shots you can imagine. All you have to do is get there… and wait.

 Words by Tabby Mittins and photos by Villiers Steyn



2 Responses to “ “A unique perspective; guest blog post by Tabby Mittins & Villiers Steyn”

  1. Annalene says:

    Wonderlike geleentheid, pragtige foto’s. Jy wil miskien net weer kyk na jou tweede foto se titel.

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