A big rainstorm that moved across North Texas on Friday, December 15, made the prospects of the wildlife photography day camp a little dicey. It made the follow-up night skies camp even more improbable. While it’s easy to move all of the instruction indoors inside the Hackberry Farm barn, the essence of the wildlife photography day camp (or any of the day camps in particular) is to practice the craft.
Luckily, the rain passed and in its place, clear blue skies and a brisk north wind. It’s been dry here for a while and as such, the parched ground soaks up most of the rain. The soil is a heavy clay, so a lot of the water sits on top. The wind and sun, however, dries the dirt quickly, and while the soil is still a bit tacky, it’s passable.
Canon R5 camera, Canon 500mm f4 lens, 1/4000 sec. @ f5.6, ISO 640
The first half of our day is spent covering the basics and beyond. The conversation is lively as the folks who come from all over learn more about a subject about which they are passionate. By noon, we enjoy one of our (almost famous) Hackberry Farm homemade meals (see video above).
After lunch, we headed to a local exotic game ranch. Our mode of travel is via CanAm Defender buggies. These vehicles are all-terrain, a quiet and comfortable in which to traverse a lot of ground, and are an excellent platform for photographing animals safari style.
Canon R5 camera, Canon 500mm f4 lens, 1/3200 sec. @ f5.6, ISO 640
Canon R5 camera, Canon 500mm f4 lens, 1/4000 sec. @ f5.6, ISO 800
Canon R5 camera, Canon 500mm f4 lens, 1/1000 sec. @ f5.6, ISO 640
While the wildlife is used to seeing people, they are definitely not tame, and it takes a bit of planning and strategy to get close. The various species come from all over the world. We see axis deer, fallow deer, Pierre David deer, aoudad, wildebeest, zebra, and others. Some animals were cooperative, but others were not. All in all, it is the perfect, real-world exercise for photographing wildlife not only from a vehicle but also with the challenges that shooting pictures of wildlife anywhere brings. The animals are sentient and autonomous, and as such, they don’t always do or stand where we want. Therefore, a wildlife photographer must learn to adapt.
And adapt we did.
If you want to learn more about our Day Camps and other educational offerings, including the Nature Photography Academy or our lineup of travel opportunities, CLICK HERE