Every time there’s something different to photograph, be it lion prides or more unexpected sights like impalas fighting…
As the resident photographer for Governors’ Camp, I’m lucky enough to go out on regular game drives in the Maasai Mara. Every time, there’s something different to photograph, be it lion prides or more unexpected sights like impalas fighting. The way I describe photography in the Mara is that it’s very clean. There’s this huge expanse of grassland that goes on for miles, with very little interruption, so a herd of elephants in the distance really stands out against the vast landscape.
What’s special about Governors’ is that it’s located right by the Mara River, which draws all kinds of animals. If you love elephants, you’ll probably be able to sit outside your tent and watch them – I’m currently looking at a herd pass right outside the window. You’ll also see the famous Marsh Pride of lions from BBC’s Big Cat Diaries. I was with them just this morning, as their territory is all around the camp. One day, I’d literally just rolled out of bed when a guide shone their torch into the bush and I saw two lions staring back right at me.
You don’t need to drive more than half an hour outside of camp to see everything from buffalo to cheetahs, impala and all types of birds. As a photographer, I’d highly recommend starting the day with a hot air balloon ride over the Mara, you’ll get some great photographs of the landscape and wildlife as the sun rises. One of the most memorable photographs I’ve taken in the Maasai Mara so far was on a hot air balloon trip. We were floating about 15 metres above a marsh when I spotted a rock python eating a waterbuck. I’ve never experienced anything like it and neither have any of the guides, it was a once-in-a-lifetime shot.
Although the elephants and lions in the Maasai Mara are beautiful to photograph, I actually prefer the wildlife that you don’t often see, the smaller animals like the jackals and servals. Sometimes, I’ve been out with a guest and shown them something small, like a beetle rolling dung, and that’s the image that really sticks with them. I like to offer photographic safaris, so guests can come out with me and I’ll give them tips on how to take pictures. I can also take the images myself for guests if they prefer to just focus on enjoying their safari experience.
When it comes to photography tips, I’d recommend bringing a 300mm lens to Kenya if you have one, that will be a good enough zoom to capture wildlife images. I’d also say, don’t just take head shots of the animals. I know people come for that but the landscape is just as beautiful, so try and get a wider picture to show where the animal is living. It sounds ironic too from a photographer’s point of view, but sometimes you have to put the camera down. I think it’s important to watch the animals too, not just look at them through a viewfinder.
Your journey will start with one of our UK team – someone like Becky, who's travelled extensively in Kenya. They’ll shape your ideas into the trip of a lifetime. But they won't do it alone. They'll draw on the expertise of our contacts on the ground, connecting you to the people who'll make your holiday one you'll always remember - the rangers who'll ensure you'll spot the best wildlife in the Mara, the village chiefs who'll give you a genuine insight into local life and the camp managers who can recommend the very best spot for your sundowner.
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