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By 18 December 2015 | Categories: news

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With his photography brought to our attention by Grant Atkinson, the skills of safari guide Lets Kamogelo from Botswana are undeniable. We chatted to him about how he got started, his favourite time to shoot, and some close encounters that he’s had in the bush.  

TechSmart: You are a trained safari guide. What sparked your interest in photography?

Lets Kamogelo: During the early years of my guiding career lots of guests asked me about photography, but I didn’t have the necessary information to meet their expectations. Luckily I have an artistic background which made it very easy for me to develop a great passion for photography. When driving around I always come across incredible beauty and taking photos was one way to record and keep the great memories about the places I have worked in and visited.

How did you learn the basics of photography?

I started with a point and shoot camera and from there I learned more about composition. Regardless of the fact that I was using a small camera I didn't hesitate to learn from the guests and started discovering different camera makes and models. I worked myself up getting to know the basic settings and eventually started shooting in Manual since at first I was nervous that I would miss the shot while fiddling with the settings. It didn't take long before I changed to Aperture Priority.

Shooting in such a prestigious location must be magic. Do you have a favourite time period for photography?

My favourite time for shooting is in spring, with the best month being November. Thanks to the transition from dry to green, the contrast in pictures is breathtakingly beautiful. It gives a different view and hence provides my work with a bigger scope because it also changes the animals’ behaviour a lot. The grass is very short which is good for photographing predators, the trees are very green, and together with the storm clouds building mostly in the late afternoon, you only need a good subject to complete a great shot. Luckily, this is also the time in which most of the antelope will be calving, giving predators like wild dogs and leopard a good success rate in their hunt. 

Have you ever come under threat while shooting?

I was once charged by a leopard while on safari, a male known to be shy. I thought I had parked the vehicle far enough from him as he was feeding on an impala. To him, however, it felt like I was invading his personal space. Before I even realised, he was charging and I started shouting at him and banged on the door to make as much noise as possible to distract him, at the same time reassuring the guests. He stopped halfway, stared at us still growling and went back to his kill.


What would be the image you are proudest of?

This would be the Selinda pride crossing the water. We picked up the lions just after sunrise and they were walking towards a crossing as I predicted they were going to do, but it took longer than I expected. Luckily I was patient enough to wait and eventually one of the adult lioness approached the water and the rest of the members of the pride followed, including four month old cubs. They grouped themselves to make sure they cross once in order to avoid being attacked by crocodiles. I took lots of frames and I managed to capture the water line forming an arch as one of the lioness flicked her tail up.

For all photographers, just like for fisherman, there is always a shot that got away. Do you have a photo opportunity that you are still disappointed about missing?

I was on a morning drive when I came across a male leopard chased by a pride of lions. The moment the leopard took off I happened to be out of focus and I missed the facial expression. It will always stay at the back of my mind.

What would you like to achieve with your photography?
I have invested a lot of time in my photography and it’s my passion, so my next step will be venturing into private photographic safaris. I also want to enter some international photographic competitions.

All images courtesy of Lets Kamogelo. 

Find more of Lets' work at his Facebook page

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