It’s early June. I get a message from a friend, Lauren, that her travel partner has bailed on her. She doesn’t want to drive to Pongola (Northern part of Kwa-Zulu Natal in South Africa) by herself. Do I want to travel with her? My girlfriend is spending a final weekend with her mom. We leave on Friday morning.
It’s a 4 hour drive from Durban to Pongola: coal trucks, sugar cane trucks, tanker trucks and logging trucks… But when we arrive we are warmly greeted with cold beverages and friendly hugs by Sean and Tamsin, the managing couple at Amakhosi Lodge, and sir Nicholas Hindson, who has been a very good mate since we were in high school.
The mission for the weekend was to chill out, drink a fair amount, and do as much game viewing as we could. Lauren had recently bought her first DSLR, done a basic photography course, and now wanted to put herself to the test, and perhaps pick my brain in the process. I wanted to be able to leave at the end of the weekend knowing I had some cool photos, but I wasn’t limiting myself to only pictures of animals. If there was one shot that I had to come back with, it was an awesome landscape.
Landscape photography is something I’ve always liked, but never really tried to improve. I’ve been following a Durban based photographer called Kieren Allen of Ocean Driven Media. Some of his landscapes have inspired me to improve mine.
The first step to improving landscapes has to be focusing on composition. When I say composition, I don’t mean, the basic rule of thirds, leading lines, and all that stuff. That’s just common sense really at the end of the day. They’re rules, because even a lay person that doesn’t know they exist, will find a picture that follows the rules appealing. I’m talking about finding a place that you can apply these rules to.
I’m seeing a trend in my landscapes. I tend to look for lines that lead off into the distance: roads, rivers, fences. Maybe it’s just something I like, which comes through when I choose my locations. Strangely enough, my favourite landscape photo from this trip, didn’t have leading lines, it just has an awesome view, and some good memories attached.