Guest Report: Nick Gill | Double Luangwa | 3 - 10 September 2017

22nd January 2018

Nick & Caroline travelled with me in September 2017, in the prime photo safari period. During the booking stage, we discussed which camps we should stay at and I encouraged them to choose camps that were deep in the heart of the best safari areas. These camps sometimes command higher rates, but the payoff in terms of sightings more than makes up for that! This was particularly the case with Nsefu Camp which provided us with some of the best sightings of the whole year, including an extraordinary leopard vs baboon encounter that none of us will ever forget!

Before we have a look at some of Nick's photos, here's a write up he sent me after the trip; it's very gratifying for me to know that guests have loved the wildlife side of the trip as much as the photography. It's absolutely crucial to me that guests enjoy a classic wildlife safari as well as great photographic opportunities.

It was a chance remark with a colleague at a dinner in London that led us to to travel to Zambia on a photographic safari with Edward. We had only been on one Safari and that was in a small South African game reserve. It was interesting but did not set the world alight. This I was assured would be a bit special and that turned out to be an understatement. I primarily went for the photography and Caroline the animals. Something for both of us. What I had not expected was to be so captivated by the whole experience. By the time we arrived at the Lodge on the way from the airport we had already seen more elephants than on our whole previous Safari.

We were immediately struck by Edward’s knowledge and understanding of the bush and the animal kingdom. He used his ears almost as much as his eyes, listening for the calls of the animals and birds to lead us. By the end I began to know some of them myself. I was also struck by how we always seemed to be in the best spot; not just the first to arrive but at the right angle for the light and potential shot. So often he would then move just a few inches one way or the other to perfect it. It would then be “try ISO 6400, F8 @ 1/1000 sec". His guidance was always so quietly and calmly delivered, reinforcing points time after time so before long it became second nature. Editing my shots recently I am struck by the improvement between the first day and the last.

It is not possible to say what the highlight of the trip was because there were so many, usually at least two or three each drive. I am very squeamish and was not looking forward to the kills, to the point I was hoping there weren't any, but I even came to understand that too. The pecking order, who had who for lunch and who cleared up at the end.

This was supposed to be a once in a life time holiday but just in case there is only one life we are coming back; besides we never did get to see the Carmine Bee Eaters. One couple we talked to who had been on more Safaris than I had been on sailing boats, asked us if we would come with Edward again. My response was simple. We would not come again without him.

Let's take a look at some of Nick's images! He tells me there are more to come, but this is already an excellent portfolio of the trip, showing interesting animal behaviour and some of the drama that the week gave us. As Nick mentioned, what is great to see is that the images taken at the end of the week are better in terms of technical skill as well as compositionally. There is also a better range of images from each sighting towards the end of the week - great work!

The apparent lack of sharpness in this image and the one below was caused by large amounts of dust thrown up as the baboons and leopard chased each other back and forth through the undergrowth. Watch the video on my YouTube channel to get a better idea of the lead-up to these images!

This is a great portfolio! I'm always proud and really pleased when guests enjoy the very best experiences that Luangwa can offer, and with my guidance, convert those events into fantastic photos. Nick learned his photographic skills on boats, and still maintains a passion for the Ocean - you can see some of his sailing images, and the rest of this Luangwa portfolio, on his website.

Comments

Photo comment By Michael Rawlings: Great photos Nick. Amazing sightings. You had a lifetime of sightings in that one week! Cheers, Mike.

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