As a football fan, as well as a photographer, I’m taking inspiration from Leicester at the moment.
Who’d have thought? They sit 6 points clear of their nearest rivals, Manchester City, at the top of the Premiership. They beat City 3-1 on Saturday. Yet the team Leicester fielded against the sky blues cost £200M less than their opponents.
So spending big and being flash doesn’t necessarily bring success, either on the pitch or out in the field. Likewise, the finest camera on the planet and the most expensive lenses won’t do any of us any good if we haven’t put in the hours, learned our craft, experimented, got it wrong countless times before we got it right and thought long and hard about how to compose a shot, approached it in the most creative way and wrestled with the techniques needed to craft it.
If you’ve done all these things the lens and camera you have are all you need – you will always be able to create a stunning shot. You may not get zoomed in close enough to see the whites of a lion’s eyes if you don’t have a 600mm lens, but a shot of him in the context of his surroundings, engaging with others in the pride, or focusing on potential prey can tell a far more interesting story.
So when anyone asks me what kit they need to come on any of my workshops or safaris, I always say the same thing – you don’t need to break the bank, bring whatever you have. And they do – iphone, bridge, compacts, camcorders and even a lovely old film camera have all made appearances alongside the latest DSLRs - and they’ve all taken amazing footage and shots.
For me the most important aspect of any photograph is actually being there to take it – so my advice is don’t wait for five years saving up for a giant new lens, just come and revel in the safari experience and learn to look and think in new ways. Our photography workshops and safaris include landscape, people and cultural photography as well as wildlife, so there's always a great shot for your lens and inspiration every step of the way.
If you’re really stuck on having a certain lens it could be worth renting one for a special trip – again it won’t break the bank. But I’d always advocate working on how to get the best out of the kit you have, and making the most of your resources through enhanced knowledge, technique, creativity and your own unique vision and storytelling. Then you can’t go wrong.
Having a great coach that brings out the very best in the resources at hand is key to both Leicester's footballing success and your photography success.
So let's go! See all our 2016 itineraries here