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Photographers paradise with Ernest Porter

Ernest Porter is a professional photography guide for Eagle Eye Safaris and has been leading and planning wildlife and bird photographic safaris since 2016. He is extremely passionate about nature, from a tiny jumping spider to a bull elephant and loves photography. When it comes to capturing the essence of a bird in flight Ernest is your man. 

Ernest will be joining CameraWorld on 29th April for a masterclass in wildlife photography. His talk will be based around the Kgalagadi in South Africa, an absolute paradise for photographers. Register your interest for an event reminder.

Ernest Porter


How and when did you get into photography?

I started with photography in 2011 with a Canon 550D. I have always been very passionate about nature and loved going on vacation with my family to Kruger Park as a kid. It was after High School that I decided that photography would be the perfect hobby for me and would link so well with my passion for Nature. This hobby grew into a profession and I am now doing photography safaris for a living.


What does photography mean to you?

Photography started out as a hobby but grew into so much more for me over the years. Seeing amazing animal behaviour is awesome but to be able to capture it and share it with other just makes it so much more dynamic. I love that photography gets me into the bush with the magnificent wildlife available in South Africa. I really enjoy the challenge of photographing fast moving animals and birds whilst amazing behaviour plays out right in front of you. 


What equipment do you have now and what is your favourite lens?

Photographing animals in their natural habitat requires a fair bit of kit.

The 400mm f2.8 is by far my favourite lens, the sharpness and amount of light that lens lets through is just pure magic for a 400mm focal length.


Where do you get inspiration?

I have been inspired by many of my photographer friends over the years. I have also learned a lot from other photographers and always stay open minded and ready to learn something new. I must also mention Dereck and Beverly Joubert, who are just phenomenal videographers and story tellers, their work has definitely inspired me over and over.


Do you plan what you want from a photo in advance?

Ow yes definitely, I have envisioned so many photos and worked really hard to get them. Many of these photos rank as favourites in my gallery. That being said I am always alert and on the look out to see what mother nature has to offer and sometimes she really surprises you with amazing photo opportunities without doing much planning ?

Canon EOS-1D X

Studio, on location or both?

I am a wildlife photographer so have limited control over light and location and no control over my subjects as its best to practice wildlife photography in an ethical manner without interference.

What has been your most memorable photo shoot and why? 

Two photoshoots pop up instantly. The first one is where I planned to capture the story of conflict between cyclists and a pair of Black Sparrowhawks that have just finished raising their chicks. It was one of the most difficult photos to get for many reasons. I had to wear a Ghillie Suit so that my presence doesn’t influence the bird’s behaviour, This happened in a dark forest and I had to shoot at f2.8 with 300mm f2.8 lens and a Canon 1Dx and had to boost my ISO to 4000 to get 1/2500 shutter speed to freeze the motion. I only had one opportunity to capture the shot I envisioned because if the Black Sparrowhawk saw me in the Ghillie Suite after the first attempt it will know I am there. I luckily mange to make the most of my one opportunity.


For those who don't know what a Ghillie suit is, here is Ernest modelling his!


The second shoot was a photo I envisioned for 5 years before I could make it happen and this was to get a photo of a Lanner Falcon catching a dove about 1cm before it strikes its victim. It sat at a water hole in Kgalagadi every morning for 3 hours attempting this for 6 days straight and only came back home with one photo that was perfect.

For more information on Ernest and his photo tours and talks:


The Lanner's Viewpoint: As a birds-in-flight photographer, I've wanted to capture the moment just before a Lanner Falcon strikes its prey. It's taken 5 years for me before I managed to capture this. This would have been a good clean photo with a single dove and the falcon poised to strike, but it becomes the story, from the Lanner's view, when the target dove blends with the dove behind, making them look bigger and obscuring the dove’s shape. This is what the Lanner needs to deal with when hunting...this is the real story of life and death in Kgalagadi.





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