I just walked in the door from two weeks in Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa. We were leading a group and doing some scouting for our trip there next year. The trip was incredible, the wildlife stunning, and the accommodations were terrific. I’ve done a lot of safaris, but I shot more on this trip than I could imagine…26,000 images. I can hardly wait to return next year with the Nikon Z9.
One concept we discussed on the trip was cinematic landscapes. Just what are these types of images? Imagine your favorite movie, and chances are there is a big scene reveal at some point in the movie. Those sweeping shots that set the scene, mood and drama of the film. Cinematic landscapes can be about stunning light and beautiful scenes. But I think the most successful images are those that combine as many iconic elements as possible, mixed with some gorgeous light, and you have the wall-hanger shot.
Africa doesn’t disappoint when it comes to cinematic landscapes. Every evening seems to produce a stunning sunset with beautiful trees and animals. This image above was taken in Zimbabwe. Wildebeest grazing with a blood red sunset providing the backdrop.
But one of my favorite images came in Botswana one evening. We noticed a line of elephants walking in single file. In the background huge thunderclouds rose into the sky. Suddenly the sun broke through a gap in the clouds, illuminating the landscape with warm evening light. Right at that moment I knew we had a rare cinematic moment…light, landscape and animals all coming together for a few minutes of stunning beauty. This image represented the Africa experience. The sun quickly went behind the clouds, the elephants moved on, and only the photograph captured the moment in time.