Hunting Images: An Artistic Dilemma

Many people who join me on safari are understandably a little squeamish about the more primal aspects of life on the plains. I am of course referring to the hunting and killing of prey by our apex predators. It can be a graphic and bloody business, so when you show the folks back home your photos how can you convey all the drama and excitement without putting them off their dinner?

It’s a question I’ve been considering this week while watching lionesses hunting warthog. The answer I came up with is to slow the camera shutter to capture the fast action.

For example, this first shot is all blood and guts and could well be off-putting for many tastes.

Now please consider this second version that I shot during the same action sequence, slowing the shutter speed to just 1/20 of a second. You can still understand what’s happening but it is presented in a much less explicit way, dare I even say more artistically?

Each shot will have its fans, and each is a valid way of representing the same situation.

The wonderful thing about safari photography is there is never a right or wrong way to shoot any situation: there are always creative choices to make and different images to be experimented with.

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