Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Photography Course at Mokolodi Nature Reserve

C4 Images and Safaris and Mokolodi Nature Reserve will be presenting a photography course at the reserve, just 15 km from Gaborone in Botswana. Award winning photographer Albie Venter will be leading the course.

The course is designed to show you more than just the technical details of photography. Our aim is to help you take better images from the first day. Thus we concentrate on taking better images, and thereafter, look at the technical aspects that enable even more creativity.

Mokolodi Nature Reserve, email: or +267 72118800
Places are limited - book now to avoid disappointment.


Monday, March 26, 2012

Changing perspectives at Mashatu

It was with great excitement that we trekked north on our annual pilgrimage to C4's first Mashatu workshop for the year. Meeting all our guests at the Alldays coffee shop on our way to the camp has become an institution for those participating. It was great to see all the excited faces, mostly friends who have done trips with us before, but also some new faces that would soon become part of the C4 family. We confirmed that the weather forecast looked great for the next few days as we headed for the border into Botswana and the start of our five-day Mashatu photo workshop.

Mashatu Tent Camp is a lovely small camp nestled in a forest that makes you feel closer to nature and would be our home for the five day trip. It offers all the necessities and luxuries for a photographic weekend with wonderfully friendly helpful staff. Mike Dexter met us at the border. He is C4's hide expert and is permanently stationed at Mashatu. As a well-respected guide and photographer in his own right he was going to be my fellow host for this weekend.

I was telling the guests all about Margaret's famous lemon meringue pie at Mashatu Tent Camp that is considered to be the best in the world. With great disappointment we learned that it would only be served during Sunday high tea, which we would miss. We persuaded the kitchen staff to switch Saturday and Sunday menu's around to experience this decadent delight and in the end I was happy that everyone agreed... the best lemon meringue pie in the world!

After settling into our new home we got together for high tea and set off on our first drive. A call came about a cheetah with five cubs. Seeing a cheetah with such a big litter of cubs is quite rare. We've had a cheetah with six cubs in the Masai Mara in Kenya before, and I've heard of someone seeing a cheetah with seven cubs once, but this is extraordinary for Mashatu and we raced to the sighting with great anticipation. We were not disappointed and found them all in great late afternoon light. Shutters were clicking furiously and it was a fantastic way to start the workshop.

The next morning we stumbled upon two lionesses on a fresh zebra kill not far from camp. Everyone was enjoying the early morning photography. While sitting at the lion kill, at one stage I turned around facing the back of the vehicle to help a guest with camera settings. Suddenly, in a moment of disbelief I saw a wild dog out of the corner of my eye. I immediately stopped talking out of pure shock! A pack of wild dogs were trotting on the road where we came from and also stumbled onto the lions. The one lioness immediately got that expression of intense focus on her face, stood up and started chasing the wild dogs. They all moved at an incredible speed. Luckily the lioness did not have any other intentions except for chasing the dogs away from their kill and thus gave up the chase quickly. We followed the wild dogs over very rough terrain and were amazed at the speed and stamina they had trying to move out of the lions' reach.

The afternoon was spent photographing general game and a big herd of breeding elephants in the last light of day. Some of the baby elephants were very entertaining and one young brave baby came to smell our vehicle, but he shook his head in disgust as his trunk touched the metal bar on the side of the vehicle. We had planned to do star trials that night but our plan was interrupted by the sighting of a leopard cub and his mother playing and drinking water on our way back to camp. The guests were not much disappointed for missing the star trail that evening and luckily the forecast was for clear skies for the next evening as well.

When I arrived at Mashatu, Mike had been telling me about the great sightings at the elephant hide and showing me some of the pictures he's taken from within the hide. I was bursting with excitement to go to the hide. We organized with him to go to the hide during the next two morning game drives. The elephant hide was recently completed by C4 in the middle of the reserve at a place called 'Moddergat', close to the Mujali river. The hide is sunk into the ground next to a waterhole with two small openings, giving you an eye level view of the waterhole. The perspective is amazing. To see the animals from that angle creates a whole new dimension to wildlife photography. It looks spectacular - even the usually dull-looking turtle doves and grey go-away birds looks great from this new perspective when they come down to drink.

Both sessions we had in the hide were fantastic. Shutters were firing away furiously as we were entertained by all kinds of birds coming to drink, impala, warthog, elephants and even a leopard tortoise that we saw approaching from a distance. When a 25 strong breeding herd of elephants arrived it was breathtaking. They surrounded the waterhole and it felt as if you became part of the herd. Looking up at these majestic creates from ground level, standing meters away from you, was a surreal but humbling experience - one of my ultimate bush experiences ever. The photographic experience was overwhelming and when the herd left we were all shaking from adrenaline and excitement. I can now envisage all the potential photographs from this hide and wish I could stay there forever to capture all those shots. C4 has definitely hit a home run with this hide and the other three that are near completion.

The rest of the drives on our workshop seemed average in comparison to what we experienced at the hide but they were spectacular in their own right. Lots of leopards, including the three cubs that we had seen during our August workshop seven months ago and that are amazingly all still alive, two young male lions, breeding herds of elephants and all of the general game.

The format of our workshop weekend includes morning and evening game drives, tuition and advice on the vehicles, and photography instruction in the day between game drives. Definitely hard work that everyone is very keen for and just can't get enough of! Since all our guests are experienced photographers, most of whom have travelled with us before, our curriculum for the weekend included flash photography for wildlife, a demonstration and discussion on Lightroom and the changes in the new version 4, and image reviews. I was blown away by the quality of the images from our guests, once again confirming what a magical place Mashatu is and the quality and diversity it offers the wildlife photographer. Thanks Jake, Justice, Commando, Ona, Congo and the staff at Mashatu tent amp for an unforgettable experience.

Join one of C4's next Mashatu Workshops:
27 April - 1 May
14-18 June
22-26 November


Mashatu Photo Workshop Feedback

"Back from Matshatu after a long day on the road with hearts filled with joy of the beauty of the bush…

We had a stunning time and came back with lots and lots of pics… many worth keeping and it'll serve as a visual reminder of a great few days in the bush under the guidance of Isak.

The hide, in particular, offered "a new perspective"! - Paul Vorster


Monday, March 19, 2012

Master of Photography Art Wolfe.

Article and interview by Denis Glennon AO

Over the course of his 30-year career, renowned photographer Art Wolfe has worked on every continent and in hundreds of locations. His stunning images interpret and record the world’s fast-disappearing wildlife, landscapes and native cultures, and are a lasting inspiration to those who seek to preserve them all. Wolfe’s photographs are recognised throughout the world for their mastery of colour, composition and perspective.

His photographic mission is multi-faceted. His vision and passionate wildlife advocacy affirm his dedication to his work. By employing artistic and journalistic styles, he documents his subjects and educates the viewer. His unique approach to nature photography is based on his training in the arts and his love of the environment. His goal is to win support for conservation issues by “focusing on what’s beautiful on the Earth.” Hailed by William Conway, former president of the Wildlife Conservation Society, as “the most prolific and sensitive recorder of a rapidly vanishing natural world,” Art Wolfe has taken an estimated one million images in his lifetime and has released over sixty-five books, including the awardwinning Vanishing Act, The High Himalaya, Water: Worlds between Heaven & Earth, Tribes, Rainforests of the World and The Art of Photographing Nature, Light on the Land and the controversial Migrations.

His signature work The Living Wild, has more than 70,000 copies in print worldwide and garnered awards from the National Outdoor Book Awards, Independent Publisher, Applied Arts and Graphis. Art’s latest books are Dogs Make Us Human and Animal Art.

Art is the proud recipient of the Photographic Society of America’s Progress Medal for his contribution to the advancement of the art and science of photography; he has been awarded with a coveted Alfred Eisenstaedt Magazine Photography Award as well as named Outstanding Nature Photographer of the Year by the North American Nature Photography Association. The National Audubon Society recognised his work in support of the national wildlife refuge system with its first-ever Rachel Carson Award. Magazines all over the world publish his photographs and stories, and his work is licensed for monograph retail products as well as advertising. Numerous North American and international venues have featured his travelling exhibits.

Art has ventured into the world of television production with “On Location with Art Wolfe,” “Techniques of the Masters” and as host of “American Photo’s Safari”. He made His public television debut with the high definition series

“Art Wolfe’s Travels to the Edge,” an intimate and upbeat series that offers unique insights on nature, culture, and the new realm of digital photography. The thirteen-episode first season garnered American Public Television’s 2007 Programming Excellence Award—unprecedented for a first season show. The thirteen-episode second season garnered five Silver Telly Awards, their highest honour, for outstanding achievement. It has been broadcast more than 180,000 times in the United States alone and is now seen worldwide.

The son of commercial artists, he graduated from the University of Washington (UW) with Bachelor degrees in fine arts and art education and was named to the UW Alumni Association’s magazine list of 100 “most famous, fascinating and influential” alumni of the 20th century.

Art spends nearly nine months a year travelling, carefully researching the locations as well as pre-visualising the photographs he wants to take. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, a Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers and serves on the advisory boards for the Nature’s Best Foundation and Bridges to Understanding. He donates performances and work to environmental and educational groups every year.

Interview with Art Wolfe

A large proportion of the 65+ books you have produced are unashamedly advocates for greater environmental stewardship of the planet’s disappearing wildlife and its fragile ecosystems and cultures. Where did the forces that forged these deep caring characteristics in you, come from?

My advocacy comes from my childhood experiences. Growing up in 1950s-60s suburban Seattle, I was one of those kids who was fascinated by and explored the wooded ravines. I disappeared into them for hours with my little plant and wildlife guide. By the time I was seven I had memorized all the local flora and fauna. It was a natural progression to travel further afield as I grew older, and here I am today, travelling professionally for decades.

I’m told that you have photographed in over 100 countries over 30+ years. What are the elements that influence your decision to choose a photography destination?

100 is an exaggeration, but I’ve travelled to a lot of unique locations in my day. I like to say that the places I choose are on the US State Department’s travel advisory list as they usually are the most fascinating. Aside from my own knowledge of the world, I have a network of friends and colleagues I draw ideas from. I jump online occasionally to explore potential destinations. The ideal location can deliver many photographic subjects: wildlife, landscape, and culture. A couple of places like this that come to mind are the Bolivian Altiplano with its severe landscapes, colourful flamingos, and remote Andean peoples; and Kakadu National Park with its vast marshlands, stone country, and Aboriginal legacy.

Your “Travels to the Edge” series are simply stunning and are a collection of great experiences for viewers. How was this program born? What drives you to still do more series?

When you think about it, almost all the photos I have taken are really intended to inform, educate and entertain. I shoot for other people rather than just solely for myself, and with the TV show I realised I could reach a much broader audience with just one episode than collectively the 65+ books I’ve done. The show was born out of a desire to bring the world home to people’s living rooms after 9/11. “Travels to the Edge” is really about communication, education, and it’s a call to action to look at the world around us and take a moment to really care about it.

When I watched some of the “Travels to the Edge” series I experienced what I can only describe as a lifting of my own spirit. Has the making of the series increased your spiritual connectedness with the natural world and influenced your photography?

Undoubtedly, making the series has influenced my photography. I don’t profess to any religion, but when I am out photographing in one of these very special places, I
do feel a spiritual uplift and this connectedness has deeply affected me.

I recently photographed alongside you in Antarctica and China. In China, you demystified the aesthetic, you taught people to see images that were at first hidden and it became evident there is a strong synthesis between your livelihood, your passion for photography and your enthusiasm to educate – this is a rare combination. Why is teaching (of artistic endeavour) such a noble profession
for you?

I have a very strong drive to leave the world a better place than when I entered it. In other words, I like to contribute to a greater society and teaching is noble. If I can pass on a bit of the wisdom and knowledge I’ve accrued over the years, pass on that love of the environment, it makes me feel good. I don’t have children, so my legacy is the work that I have created and the people who I have touched

Has Africa had much influence on you as a photographer and if you could travel to and photograph any one place in Africa, where would that be?

I would love to travel to the new country of South Sudan (which, of course, is on the State Department travel advisory list). This is home of Sudd wetland, one of the largest in the world, and the Dinka. They are perhaps the tallest people on the planet, and herd large-horned cattle. It would be an extraordinary opportunity that few have had to photograph these people.

Your formal studies are in fine art and art education. Today, you are one of the most renowned photographers on the planet and your recent photography is clearly becoming more abstract. Are you melding your painting and photography together?

Absolutely and I find no greater joy than the creation of imagery for my current project “The Human Canvas”. It combines my painting background, photography skills, love of the environment and fascination with indigenous cultures. Any artist desires to create something unique during their career and I think this particular project really stands alone from all the work I’ve ever done.

You have a significant birthday coming over the horizon! As there is no sign of you slowing down, what new work can we expect to enjoy in the next decade – more TV series, an exhibition of your paintings, more abstract photography, or some complete surprises?

Of course, no one can predict the future, and given the fact that I respond to inspiration and circumstance, who knows what I might come up with. But truly, my main goal is an exhibition for “The Human Canvas”. I do enjoy the role of elder statesman for the profession and no doubt, I will continue to be called upon to expostulate about this or that and the state of nature on the planet. But who really knows what lies before us? We can only suggest a path, not foresee it.

As we come to the close of the interview, I have one final question; treat it as an “Irish Question”, if you wish. What is the one question you have never been asked by previous interviewers but is the one question you waited for, every time, but it never came and you would love to answer?

How long is the stream in your yard, Art? About 80 feet. But seriously, if you had all the money in the world what would you do with it? Well, all the money in the world and all the money I need are two completely different things, so I’ll take the second one. I would be doing exactly what I’m doing now, just on a much grander scale: educating, publishing, exhibiting, creating, and giving, of my time and expertise.

Art Wolfe will be presenting a series of seminars and photo workshops in South Africa during April 2012. It is the first time this legendary photographer will be in South Africa.
The dates are:
4 April Johannesburg One day seminar
6 April Cape Town One day seminar

8-11 April Arniston 4 day photo workshop
11-14 April. Arniston 4 day photo workshop


Friday, March 16, 2012

Wild Art

Click on the images below to read the article.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A short visit the Mara

One of C4's clients, Arno Ellmer, recently had a short visit to the Masai Mara. It was just amazing to see what he experienced in just 4 days. Below is is a short description of a few encounters and images.

"On the way to Entim we encountered the female leopard that has the cub(s) at the den. The next morning we came across 3 young male lions on a massive Eland kill. They had already eaten a lot and were quite exhausted and hot , but they would not leave the carcass since 10 hyenas were circling and waiting. It was fascinating to observe the interaction between the two groups for control of the carcass. We left after a while and returned the next morning (the kill was far from Entim). When we arrived, a single hyena was leaving and several Hooded and White-backed vultures were present. However only the head remained!! That night probably 40 or so hyenas would have dispatched the 900kg carcass. Incredible! On my last morning we witnessed a beautiful successful cheetah chase, the victim was a Thompson’s lamb. Then lastly we encountered a beautiful pair of Grey Crowned Cranes."


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Serengeti Trip report - By Albie Venter

After our very eventful predator Safari in the Mara we hopped across the border into Tanzania to go and catch up with the Migration which we met in the Seronera region. It really doesn’t matter how many times one has seen this spectacle it still remains an incredible sight.

After the migration it was across to the shortgrass plains and woodlands of Ndutu where the predators put up a spectacular show for us. From the first evening being kept awake by lions roaring though camp to the last morning following four playfull cheetah cubs the action never stopped. Highlights included a female Cheetah killing a Thompson’s gazelle in full view of everyone with four cubs in tow while for me sighting such as Golden Jackal (regular in the Serengeti) and a remarkably relaxed Striped Hyena mom and cub at a den was real treats.


Monday, March 5, 2012

Art Wolfe in South Africa

"Art Wolfe’s photographs are a superb evocation of some of the most breathtaking spectacles in the world.” — Sir David Attenborough

For over 30 years, Art Wolfe has photographed on every continent. He has authored over 65 books, each full of outstanding images. He is one of the world's greatest pictorial story tellers, Intermingling artistic and journalistic styles to create his signature images, his photography captivates the viewer. He has transformed his photography into an art form.

Magazines all over the world publish his images and pictorial stories. He is at ease in the world of television production and his acclaimed 13-episode Travels to the Edge is a stunning production. It will remain a significant part of his remarkable legacy of work.

Everyone one viewing Wolfe's evocative images has their mind captured. He stands alone in terms of sustained brilliance in photography. His passion generates its own energy. His teaching is infectious.
People are eager to learn from him and come away absolutely inspired, eager to try his unique approaches and compositional styles in their own photography.

He is a master teacher, an artist and one of the finest photographers alive today. He is coming to speak in South Africa, for the first time. This legendary photographer will be presenting seminars and photo workshops in Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa. It is the first time Art Wolfe will present his work in South Africa.

4 April - Johannesburg Gallagher Estate, 09h00 – 16h00. R1300 per person
6 April – Cape Town, Mutual Park 09h00 – 16h00. R1300 per person
8 – 11 April 2012. Arniston Bay Hotel. R13500pp sharing. All inclusive photo workshop.
11-14 April 2012. Arniston Bay Hotel. R13500pp sharing. All inclusive photo workshop.

Details of the content and the one day seminars and 4 day photo workshops can be seen via these links.

"Art has the broadest range of excellence of any nature photographer I know.” -- Galen Rowell

Join C4 Images and Safaris with Art Wolfe in South Africa for this once in a lifetime opportunity to learn from one of the great masters of photography.


Serengeti - by C4 client Christine Chong

"Just wanted to says thanks again for a fantastic trip – everything I wanted in a photographic safari, complete with brilliant sightings! The locations were spectacular and the photographers on the trip not only knew how to assist the clients to increase the level of their photography within a very short space of time, they also had vast knowledge of the wildlife and their behaviour which enhanced the photographic opportunities. Many thanks to Albie and Greg! And thanks to Shem and C4 for amazing organisation and a great trip, would highly recommend C4 to anyone wanting to improve their photography!" 


Friday, March 2, 2012

Masai Mara and Serengeti Client Images

A few images from clients Michael Parker and Andrew Louw from our recent Masai Mara Predators and Serengeti Photo tours.

Andre Louw, Masai Mara

Andrew Louw, Masai Mara

Michael Parker, Masai Mara

Michael Parker, Masai Mara

Michael Parker, Masai Mara

Michael Parker, Masai Mara

Michael Parker, Serengeti

Michael Parker, Serengeti

Michael Parker, Serengeti

Michael Parker, Serengeti

Michael Parker, Serengeti