Many of our members will be familiar with Aart Louw's exotic wildlife shots from South Africa and Kruger National Park. He captures our attention with other forms of photography as well, while he hones his skills by shooting, sharing and requesting critique. Aart is spreading his enthusiasm and discipline to make, and to share at least one photo a day.
“There are few places in the world where some photo opportunities do not exist. Where you live, work and most importantly your interests determine your type of photography. Being on the doorstep of one of the great nature reserves in the world, where spectacular game abounds, has played an important part in my interest in wildlife. At the same time the rugged landscape also played a role but often, when in the mountains, I tend to take more pictures of flowers and insects than of landscape.”
In speaking of the preferences he has in photography, he first considers the question, then adds his own character: “My preference is natural science but I cannot call it a photographic preference. I like any photography that is not too ‘technical’, I shy away from gadgets. Ah! Got it; my photographic preference is photography without gadgets.”
In speaking of Nikonians, Aart expressed the following:“At first I was so in awe at the amazing pictures featured on the different forums of the community that I did not dare to post any myself. There was a forum called “Art, Technique and Critique “, or something similar. This gave me the opening to submit my first amateurish shots, because I really wanted critique and I got it… I can safely say that 90% of the little I know of photography I learned through Nikonians. It is great to be a member of such a great family.
Aart has expressed his intention to pursue capturing images of good quality of birds in flight (BIF).
As one can imagine Aart has had many terrific experiences and adventures:
“Taking pictures of the wildlife has it risks, one of my closest encounters while shooting was with a rhino. Early morning I saw a magnificent bull with a very long sharp pointed horn. As usual, I immediately snapped a picture and then worried about camera settings. As I zoomed in to take a shot at the head, the rhino screamed like a pig in pain. I have never heard a rhino make a sound before, except for snorts, the same as a horse. I did not notice another rhino behind the bushes.
The rhino, still screaming, disappeared behind the bushes. I drove a yard or two forward to an opening in the bushes. The rhino had his back towards me. I switched my car off to wait for the action. Suddenly the rhino twisted around with an agility a wild cat would admire, lowered his horn and charged me. I could do nothing at all. I was just wondering how I was going to avoid the horn penetrating the door of the car. The rhino braked with a cloud of dust literally millimetres from the door. He snorted, turned around, and returned to what he had been doing. Obviously, there are things one should not do.
One of my most precious moments was on one of our farms bordering the park. From quite a distance, I saw a herd of elephants near the fence. I wanted to take a picture within the area of our papaya planting with elephant in the background. I stopped the car walked into the orchard. A very big bull was standing close to the fence and he showed some annoyance at me. I talked to him in an even voice and told him not to be ridiculous.
Suddenly I realized that the poor animal must have been longing for the greenery on the other side of the fence; therefore, I picked a few mature fruits and rolled them through the electrified fence.
It was an awesome experience to befriend a wild elephant bull and in addition, to be able to capture some pictures with a 24-70mm lens.”
Way to end an interview with an adrenalin rush! Thank you Aart for your input, stunning photographs, and postings on various forums. Thanks also for reinforcing the advantages of being open to advice, pointers and constructive criticism. It is also an acquired skill to offer input but by doing so there can be more discussion and both parties can learn more. Asking for ideas and for information helps to improve skills quickly. The purpose of the forums, after all, is to discuss and exchange ideas in addition to sharing images, techniques, and to offer approval. You brought some good thoughts forward, Aart. Thank you.
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