Before getting in to wildlife photography one of the aspects that actually seriously put me off making the jump was the need for a whopping big telephoto lens. Firstly telephoto lenses are seriously intimidating pieces of kit for the uninitiated. Secondly, they cost a serious amount of cash. If you buy a telephoto lens then you have to seriously commit, and be seriously passionate to the craft.
It has taken me a while to figure this out, but effective wildlife images don't have to be super zoom portraits. On my latest safari, I made a conscious decision to work with a second body with a 24-70mm f2.8 lens. I'm so glad I did. I got some of my best shots with the wider end of this lens. Without doubt there are compositional challenges using a lens like this…and the key is to know when and how.
The image I'm sharing here was one of the best sightings I witnessed. A whole troop of elephants moving towards the aptly named Tlou Dam (Tlou is Tswana for Elephant!) for a dip. As elephants tend to stick closely together it would have been difficult with a telephoto lens to pick up a clean composition of just one or two elephants. And in this instance the sighting didn't lend itself to a series of portrait shots. This was about the descent into the water under big cloudy African skies and the contrast of dead trees and lush foliage. Most photographers I follow are seriously modest, but I think once in a while it is good to feel proud of your work. I seriously love this image I took. It's one in the future I will look back at and feel great satisfaction.
Shooting the bigger picture with a wider angle has changed the way I photograph. My eye is still developing but the important step on the journey was to recognise that sometimes you need to just let go of your big telephoto lens…try it next time…it'll change your view for good!