In February, before the start of the annual Emerald Season Photographic Workshop to South Luangwa, I was pleased to be invited by RPS General Manager Rob Clifford to give six of their guides a workshop on photographic training. They are from left to right Kangachepe Banda, Braston Daka, Julius Banda, Fredrick Phiri, Chris Mwali and John Mphasi.
Anyone who has been to Robin Pope Safaris camps in Zambia will know that their guides (unfortunately not all could attend because of work commitments) are real experts in their fields. This workshop was not about finding animals, talking about birds or interpreting wildlife; it was about finding pictures, depth of field, choosing backgrounds, composition, cameras, and how to adjust settings for different situations.
The aim was about helping guides help their guests to take better pictures.
When guests say ‘what is wrong with my camera?’ or ‘why are my pictures so bright or so blurry?’, these guides will now be able to help them sort out their problems. They will also be able to talk the photographic talk and advise them to ‘increase your ISO’ or increase your exposure compensation.
The modern camera includes a whole new world of terms and tricks and the guides all passed a 40-point multiple-choice test before they were given their certificates.
I had a lot of fun preparing for the workshop and big thanks to my 12-year-old son, Dane, also did some great cartoons to illustrate certain points. (See below)
“The workshop was a great success,” said Rob afterwards.
I certainly look forward to getting back to the valley later in the year to continue training and start working with other guides who were not able to attend this workship.
The on-course action picture of Fred (left) and Braston (right) was taken by Chris Mwale. In 2017 he was given a camera by the Carnivore Project in reward for his hard work in gathering pictures for their research and is taking great pictures.
These are some of the cartoons that Dane drew for the course. They illustrate from left to right : the difference between slow cooking a RAW image in Lightroom as opposed to fast cooking a jpeg in a microwave; the fact that its sometimes best not to get too close to animals; and the benefits of getting on eye-level with your subject.