During the last week of May I had the priviledge to spend 8 days with 5 wonderful people photographing the wildlife of the western corridor of the Serengeti and all from the comfort of the amazing &Beyond Grumeti Serengeti Tented Camp.

The unusual high rain fall in East Africa this year resulted in a disrupted migration pattern based on our experiences of previous years. We were fortunate though that vast numbers of zebras leading the migration north arrived at Grumeti giving us very unusual landscape images against beautiful black skies. The bird, mammals and cat photography were spectacular as per usual. What I am personally very proud of is the top photographs that our clients and in some cases totally inexperienced photographers were able to capture. Let me introduce you to our special friends and their work.

From left to right: Elsie Pieterse, Manie Pieterse, Tokkie Pieterse, Frans Pieterse, Lou Coetzer, Janet Scott

Janet joined us from New Zealand and in the original orientation she shared with us that she does not have as single wildlife photograph other than stationary portraits. She expressed the hope that she would at least be able to capture some movement in her images. Well she did!

Canon 7D Mark II | Tamron 150 – 600mm G2 @ 600mm | 1/8000sec at f6.3 | ISO 800 | EV -1.3

Canon 7D Mark II | Tamron 150 – 600mm G2 @ 329mm | 1/1000sec at f5.6 | ISO 1600 | EV -0.7

Manie & Elsie Pieterse were both totally new to photography and this was their first attempt at wildlife photography. If there is one thing that I have learned over many years of teaching people wildlife photography is that people like Manie and Elsie are not only very keen to learn, but more than anything they listen. They took my advise and guidance at face value and shot photographs that many seasoned wildlife photographers would be proud of. Well done you two!

Nikon D810 | Nikon 600mm F4.0 @ 600mm | 1/640sec at f22 | ISO 1000 | EV -1.3

Nikon D810 | Nikon 600mm F4.0 + 1.4x Converter @ 850mm | 1/1250sec at f11 | ISO 280 | EV -1.3

Nikon D810 | Nikon 600mm F4.0 + 1.4x Converter @ 850mm | 1/8000sec at f7.1 | ISO 3200 | EV -2.0

Nikon D810 | Nikon 600mm F4.0 @ 600mm | 1/6400sec at f4.5 | ISO 1600 | EV -2.0

Frans and Tokkie Pieterse are both seasoned wildlife photographers and they wanted it all and they wanted it now – and they got it !

Canon 1D X Mark II | Canon 600mm F4.0 + 1.4x Converter @ 840mm | 1/2500sec at f9 | ISO 400 | EV -1.7

Canon 1D X Mark II | Canon 70-200mm F2.8 @ 200mm | 1/640sec at f22 | ISO 500 | EV -1.7

Canon 1D X Mark II | Canon 70-200mm F2.8 + 1.4x Converter @ 280mm | 1/2000sec at f5 | ISO 100 | EV -1.3

Canon 1D X Mark II | Canon 400mm F2.8 @ 400mm | 1/2500sec at f16 | ISO 800 | EV -1.3

In selecting these images I absolutely did not even attempt to select everybody’s best photographs simply because I would not have succeeded. There were literally hundreds of great images. I selected a few photographs to tell the Grumeti story and show you the amazing diversity that we photographed. If there is one thing that will stay with me for a long time is how the CNP approach to Wildlife Photography levels the playing field between experienced and inexperienced photographers. We gave Manie & Elsie (Nikon) and Janet (Canon) super telephoto lenses to work with that they received on arrival. They photographed from the comfort of the CNP Photography Vehicle always facing their subjects with cameras and lenses on gas strut gimbal supports, we got the vehicle in the right positions for the action and we directed every one to nail the shot. There were great consensus amongst them all that the CNP way of doing things – total attention to detail in both set up and photography produced photographs that were out of reach for them in the past. CNP Specialist Photographic Vehicle Video

One of the worst possible scenarios for an experienced photographer is sitting on a vehicle with non-photographers who can potentially ruin their photography. If you look at Manie and Elsie’s photography the total opposite is true. They shot photographs that are right up there with the best and that as total beginners! At CNP we will never allow top photographers to lower their standards when working with newbies. What we will do though is get the inexperienced photographers to shoot at a very high level pushing the so called experienced photographers to new heights. Well done to you all. 

Warmest photography greetings from Grumeti.

Lou Coetzer