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Five Weeks of Non-Stop Photography:
The ingredients of successful wildlife photography is made up of a certain amount of knowledge & skill and a tremendous amount of luck. As in years past, this year’s adventures were “loaded to the brim” with good luck, good conditions, and great wildlife. The theme for this year seemed to be “babies, babies, babies”. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves, but trust me when I say it was a “banner year” for babies of all types, species, sizes and shapes!! In Africa, they have what they call the Big Five. My group and I now have the Little Five----well not quite……in truth, it’s the Little Four, as we are missing a baby shot of a leopard. That will be next year’s goal!
Not only is luck involved when it comes to making an outstanding image…. I’ll explain….. I pride myself on my ability to surround my tour participants with some of the best driver/guides available. Good guides know how to track the animals at a safe distance---they can almost smell their whereabouts---and, most importantly, my guides are open to my instructions on learning the needs of my photographers, understanding the lighting, the distance the lenses will reach etc., as well as being incredibly knowledgeable about all the flora & fauna. Good guides are as important to our success as is good luck and, again this year, we had both—good luck and great guides!!
I’ve been going back to Africa year after year---mainly to Kenya as is one of my favorite and most productive areas (so far), and I still managed to come back with six or seven new species of birds, and shots of mammal behavior I’ve never had before and some mammals I’ve never even seen before. This year’s list is long for that; the Serval cat (my first), a leopard kill (my first), three-day old lion cubs peeking out of the bush (my first), the fascinating lion mating ritual, bat-eared fox pup peeking out of an aardvark hole (my first), mating ritual of the mean-looking, fierce hyenas (in my opinion, not Nature’s best work!), a Secretary bird in it’s nest with its young (my first)---feeding and flight shot opportunities were also bountiful. The list goes on and on. Needless to say the group left Africa happy and with CF cards full of good images…..oh, and lots of exposed film shot by a diehard soul!!
As I said farewell to a couple of my tired but happy tour participants who were heading back home to the United States, the rest of my entourage and I got on a plane to Johannesburg to catch another plane to Madagascar. I was excited as I knew I’d done all my homework well, and I knew what was in store for all of them when we landed in one of the most mysterious and fascinating spots on earth. Madagascar is a hard country to maneuver around as it is still primitive in many ways, but with patience, understanding, and more patience it can be done successfully and the photographic rewards are outstanding. Mother Nature blessed this island (that is about the size of California) with more unusual and diverse wildlife and flora existing on most single continents alone. Once again, we had babies, babies, babies, especially with the various species of Lemurs ( I think this island boasts of 80 different species of lemurs). Of course, the variety of bugs, chameleons, lizards and frogs is mind-boggling. Again, I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. Hopefully, my web gallery will have many more posted soon: www.joannewilliamsphoto.com
This October 8 th, I’ll be leaving again for my in-depth “Recon Mission” to the various areas that surround the fabulous city of Rio de Janeiro which are noted for their fabulous wildlife opportunities. If all goes well, and these areas meet the needs of my tour participants, and it is safe for the equipment, (ie. transport, battery charging capabilities, etc.), that there is a certain amount of comfort for the human element etc., I will be adding it to next year’s 2009 Pantanal, Brazil agenda. I was recently asked by my extensively-well-traveled Swiss guest/tour participant, “Joanne, what area would you consider the most productive and abundant for wildlife photo opportunities—especially the birds?” Without a moment’s hesitation my response has to be; “excluding portions of Florida, the areas I go to in the Pantanal are without exception, the very best for abundance, diversity, easy access, and photo-ability”!! Hands down!!! Thumbs Up!!! Please note my emphasis on ‘easy access’!! This is an extraordinarily important feature and consideration for my tours, as I, too, have to lug around about 30 to 40 lbs. -- or more-- worth of camera gear!! (My Sherpa quit!!)
There may be a few new additions to next year’s 2009 itinerary, which I’ll be announcing in future newsletters if they prove to meet the necessary criteria. I’ll keep you posted, but please in the meantime take a peek at the website and some of it’s additions. You might want to note on your calendar, or keep in mind the big January Festival in Titusville---an outstanding opportunity to learn, see and share the good and positive portions of our world. Consider one of my Florida journeys like a Pontoon Putt, A Stroll with the Pro, or a Fotoboat Floating Fun Adventure!! All are designed to maximize your wildlife and photo experience --- all SLR shooters, point and shooters, digiscopers, and all wildlife hobbyists are welcome!!!!
“From Frame to Frame”
I’m often asked “HOW do you manage to get the wonderful pictures you do?” (which is the title of my Titusville presentation in January). Well, one glib answer is: “You Can’t Win the Lottery If you Don’t Buy the Ticket!!!” In other words, you don’t get those photos unless the opportunity arises. Most of the time I have to MAKE the opportunity HAPPEN…..that’s what I do…I search for, seek out and find the opportunity……that’s my job…and my passion and my love….making the opportunity happen. My other job, passion, love is creating that ‘happening’ for YOU also…..so you, too, can make wonderful images.
Come to my presentation on Saturday January 24 th, 2009 in Titusville, Florida at the Space Coast Birding & Wildlife Festival and learn some of my tricks & techniques. In the meantime………..
“KEEP YOUR APERTURE YOUR PRIORITY” !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Photo Researchers, Editors, and Publishers:
As stated in previous newsletters, at no obligation to you, send me a “want list” of images you are looking for that may coincide with a trip I’m about to take, or have recently taken, and I’ll do my very best to seek out that subject and shoot it with your request in mind. This may save you some expense, give me a specific mission and possibly a sale of that image. It’s a ‘win, win situation’!
A quick reminder that my library of 35mm original slides houses approximately 75,000 images, and my digital library presently holds over 100,000 (and growing-hourly)!