Gallery: taking a wider view in Botswana
Best wide-angle lens? Two steps backward. Look for the ‘ah-ha’.Ernst Haas, photo-journalist
Looking for the ‘ah-ha’ seems to me to be an excellent mantra for any photographer. Although in truth I sometimes search for that not by stepping back but by zooming in. For me the important thing is not to settle for the obvious, for the first angle that occurs to me.
Digital photography frees us from the constraints of cost imposed by film, so we can try multiple angles, wide and otherwise. Move around our subjects, step back or zoom in …
Of course we don’t always have that luxury. For wildlife or action shots we must seize the opportunity; we may only get one brief chance. The temptation on sighting an animal is to use your zoom to capture a close-up image, and of course I do that. But it’s good to find the time too if you can to take some wider shots. Capturing the land itself on camera provides context for the wildlife shots and places the animals in their context.
For this week’s Lens Artists Challenge theme of ‘Going wide’, set by Patti, I’ve assembled some shots of the stunning landscapes of Botswana and of the animals that inhabit those lands. Some of these I have shared before, others I hope will be new to you. Together they demonstrate that ‘going wide’ can indeed deliver that ‘ah-ha’ moment we all seek.
Impala herd by the Chobe River
Elephants coming to drink from the Chobe River
Zebra and Sable grazing in Chobe NP
Lioness and cubs with distant buffalo, Chobe NP
Game drives in Chobe NP – a good sighting draws the crowds
Hippo pool on Palm Island in the Okavango Delta
Okavango Delta elephant
Red Lechwe in the Okavango Delta
Distant elephants on Sausage Island in the Okavango Delta
A note on cameras and lenses
These days I use a Panasonic Lumix FZ200 as my main camera; all the images above were shot on that. In the old days when I shot on film I used an SLR camera with a selection of lenses. But I found I almost always used a wide-angle to telephoto zoom rather than change lens. Besides, I got tired of carrying a lot of equipment; (my back seems to have aged faster than the rest of me!)
So when I changed to digital I opted for a bridge camera; and after a brief flirtation with a disappointing Fuji Finepix have settled on the Lumix which suits me perfectly. These photos were taken on its widest setting. If I can’t get wide enough I sometimes follow the advice of Haas and step back. Alternatively I shoot panoramas, create them in Photoshop, or cheat by using a letter-box crop. With wild animals the ‘step back’ option is always an advisable one!
I visited Botswana in 2018
I enjoyed this wide angle photos, too tempting to zoom in, but this gives us the whole perspective. I wonder about the lions so close to the water buffalo. Might have been some drama there later.
Yes we wondered if they might make a kill but although the lioness looked at them, maybe she felt it would be too much of a challenge with four cubs in tow?
Definitely loves your wide(r) shots! It seems fitting here capturing the wild animals in their own habitat ☺️.
Thank you 😊 Yes, I think taking photos like this helps to show the animals in a more natural way. I love zooming in for close-ups, but you could get that sort of photo in any good zoo, whereas this is the real Africa!
Wonderful Africa! Beautiful choices so well photographed, Sarah!
Thanks so much Ann-Christine, I’m glad you enjoyed these photos 😃
I really did. I always enjoy your photography.
Oh, the Places We See
How fabulous! These pictures are marvelous. We didn’t see anything of this magnitude on our safari, so consider yourself lucky to have been there are the right time. Thanks, too, for the information on which camera you prefer and why. It’s good to hear from other users about their preferences. And you make the best of this camera!
Thank you 😊 We saw loads of animals both in Chobe and the Okavango. Where were you on safari? Sounds like you were unlucky?
Oh, the Places We See
We were at a small but lovely place called Thornybush. We were quite lucky to see what we hoped to see, but not large herds. I could definitely go again to a different location.
I think you’re absolutely right….that it’s tempting to zoom in and focus on the animals rather than get the big picture. That’s why I really enjoyed these images, Sarah. It helped put the animals in context, in their natural environment. I loved this collection. The light and the color of the lion’s manes are so beautiful in your 5th photo. Just lovely photos.
Thanks so much Patti – not just for the lovely comment but also the interesting challenge 🙂 It made me really think about how I approach certain subjects. I’m glad you like the colour on those lions – that’s the reward for the very early morning start on these game drives!
Some day I hope to go on a safari. Looks amazing.
It is! I highly recommend it if you get the chance 🙂
Beautiful beautiful photos. RE: Game drive photo, tourists R Us!
Thank you 🙂 Yes, of course I was in exactly the same sort of vehicle doing just what they were all doing!!
The perfect place for going wide Sarah – although like you I found the animals so gorgeous it was tempting NEVER to go wide in Africa. On the other hand the savannah and the delta do absolutely call for a wide shot as well. What’s a photographer to do?? Both of course! Beautiful vistas and gorgeous creatures. Well done.
Both indeed – and thanks to digital photography we can indulge ourselves with loads of shots! Thank you Tina, I’m glad you liked this 😊
You did well to be able to take your mind off the surroundings and get such good shots of the animals. They are, after all, the reason for the picture.
Thank you Mari 🙂 The temptation was rather to zoom in on the animals and ignore the landscape altogether, but I’m pleased I managed to avoid falling into that trap all the time!
Wow… beautifully captured, Sarah!
Thanks so much Amy 😊
Wide open spaces are so magical.
Thanks Teresa 😀
I. J. Khanewala
These open grasslands call out for wide angle shots. Beautiful set
Thank you 😊 I have a tendency to zoom in and focus on the animals, but I was glad I’d remembered to photograph the settings too!
Beautiful photos Sarah, thank you for sharing your links with me!! Thoroughly enjoyed reading about your trip!
Glad you enjoyed my posts 🙂 Have a wonderful time there!
Thank you so much Sarah.