The Photo Safari

The photo safari is above all else an opportunity take photographs. It can come in many forms. A vacation to Thailand or Jamaica. A cruise to the Bahamas. Taking the dog for a walk. Any of these become a photo safari if you have a camera with you. South Florida is a beautiful place to live. Hollywood, has beautiful houses and great looking seascapes near the water. Riding around Hollywood on a motor scooter taking pictures was one of my favorite pastimes. Then I had an idea. All these beautiful scenes and houses could become a Photographic essay that a local newspaper might publish. It became a project. I spent many afternoons riding through the neighborhood searching for beautiful photographs.

We moved to a house 17 miles from Hollywood. The Woodlands had beautiful landscaping throughout the development. I rode the motor scooter around and started photographing foliage and tropical flora. There was even a waterfall a mile and a half away. I started tweaking these photos and some of them are extraordinarily beautiful. These safaris were spontaneous. I put a camera and a bottle of water and a tripod in my pack and out the door I went. You could do it differently. Plan a sightseeing excursion and involve the family. They would love it. How about a trip to Butterfly World or a picnic by the lake.

Any adventure is an opportunity to find interesting subject matter. It could be people working, the street you are walking down, or any of a thousand things you find visually exciting at any given moment. Always keep in your mind the elements of a good picture. Composition, color balance, repetition of form is good design. Does your eye follow a natural path viewing the picture?

Is the photo safari a good idea that will improve our skills make us better photographers? Yes it certainly will improve your skills. I will even tell you how and why it works. Artists and photographers are visually oriented. After they learn color and design, composition and color balance. They start using these elements in their work. Every photo we take, or picture we paint adds to our body of experience. I learn something from every picture I paint and every photo I take.

The painter is criticizing the painting all the while he paints it. What does it need? What should I do now? Sometimes he will just look at a painting for half an hour or so. Eventually, the painting tells him what should be done. The photographer works a little differently. He works while setting up the shot. He is moving around, looking for the right place to shoot, set his composition by zoom, camera height, angle, and optimal setting for exposure.

Then he pushes the button and it is done. He does the same thing for every picture he takes. The photographer goes back to his studio, and uploads his photos to his photographic software. Then he will criticize and tweak every shot he took. This self criticism by both the painter and photographer provides a new learning experience with each new work. Your body of experience and knowledge grow with every work you complete. How could you possibly do anything but improve your skills and results.