Day 2: Around Tree Lodge

Sept 5—Because Montsentsela is a game farm, today we practiced some game drive basics, such as how to position and support cameras in vehicles, how not to bonk the person in the seat in front of you with your 600mm lens when coming down from the roof, and other similar things. Not an earth shattering day, but I want everyone to be in full command of their equipment and not rocking the boat when we get to our first interesting sightings in Moremi. 

Also on the agenda was some basic focus and exposure practice, to make sure everyone was ready to deal with the situations we'll be encountering. And finally, I worked with my new students on the unique way I teach composition. 

Late in the afternoon, I finished my lectures and Tony, my assistant, made his on things to watch out for when shooting wildlife. A few people took some time to chase after the ubiquitous birds around the lodge.


In short, a day with a lot of review of the basics. A side result of this review and practice is that Tony and I watch to see if we see any bad shooting habits. We want to start correcting those before the Big Shot comes along. 

While all this seems boring and mundane, it isn't. I've yet to conduct a session like this where we haven't found some misunderstanding of a setting or some small handling error that'll show up in images. Moreover, many of the guests on these trips have hectic day jobs. They don't shoot every day. It takes them a bit of time to get back into the swing of things, so I try to make sure that we have everyone up to speed before putting them into the great environment we're about to enter. The one thing I don't want to have happen is have a group full of workshop students who are still trying to figure out focus and exposure when we come up on some unique or seldom seen sighting on the first drive of the workshop. Sometimes I think I'm clairvoyant. (In case you didn't notice, that was more foreshadowing. Actually, it was a repeat of earlier foreshadowing. All of which becomes more obvious tomorrow.)

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