Photographer Luke Stackpoole (who is also a judge in this year’s “Africa in Focus” Photo Competition) recently explored some of our Zimbabwean and Zambian camps. A landscape photographer by profession, Luke was delighted by the beauty of Zimbabwe and the amazing people who call this country home. Oh, and he did encounter a couple of elephants too.
1. What stood out most for you on the trip?
The friendliness and personalities of the staff were a real eye opener for me. I felt right at home in the camp and it just made the whole experience very welcoming and joyful.
I was also blown away by how close we were to the elephants. They would just roam up to the camp and you could see their expressions so clearly. Such a beautiful experience. And there are so many! Literally hundreds around.
2. Any touching or other mind-blowing moments from the camps?
There was a moment when I was sitting at the breakfast area doing some work on my laptop. I looked up and this elephant was calmly eating seed pods off of the terrace about 4 metres away from me. Magical! Also getting to fly in a small plane for the first time was really cool!
3. What surprised you the most?
Probably the amount of elephants we saw. Beyond comprehension. Also the food was just fantastic at the camps.
4. Any new tips you learned photographing African wildlife and landscapes?
I would say trying to get as low to the ground as possible when capturing wildlife is ideal, as you get some foreground in frame as well as a blurred backdrop, which you don’t when shooting from above. I often got out of the vehicle for a game walk with my bush guide so that I could lie on the ground to get shots.
5. Was there a moment when you were so caught up in what was going on around you that you forgot to take a photo?
I have learned that the hard way, so not this time! I’m so focused on my camera that I often forget to enjoy the moment myself. But that’s okay. I love capturing these moments to cherish.
6. What was it like seeing the Victoria Falls?
Pretty mind boggling how big this place is, the volume of water is incredible that flows over it! Hard to photograph due to the sheer scale of it.
7. Was Africa everything you expected?
I have been to Africa before, but not Zimbabwe. Everyone I met was so friendly and cheerful so this was great to see!
8. What are your take-home thoughts about Zimbabwe?
Beautiful country, beautiful people, lots of elephants!
9. You previously mentioned, “You learn more in the field through trial and error than in any classroom. And travelling with others is a great way to share resources, knowledge and get creatively inspired”. Did this happen during your Wilderness journey? Did you meet people who inspired you and how did they inspire you?
Yes, I was sharing a vehicle with a fellow wildlife lover from the USA, and he told me so many stories about his experiences with animals from all over the world. This has really inspired me to go travel to some of the destinations he spoke about, such as Antarctica!
Source: Wilderness Safaris