Put the words anticipation and patience together and you have a good recipe for photography.

A big part of photography is about patience. You might have to wait long for that one ‘perfect’ photograph, but missing that one picture is more the rule than the exception – putting your camera down, not having the right settings or just not anticipating the moment.

It was a lovely afternoon and the warm sun was starting to throw soft light into the bush. We found a few buffalo bulls when they were having their last snack before nightfall. We positioned the vehicle, anticipating that they would move towards us. Our anticipation and patience paid off as one of the males slowly made his way towards our vehicle.


When the sun is setting it throws a soft light onto your subject, which can add a lot of life to a photograph. When your position with regards to the sun and your subject is just right, you will be able to capture this light in the eyes of the animals. When your subject is between you and the sun it is impossible to capture this light in their eyes and a situation like that would lend itself better to silhouette or landscape photographs. As the buffalo were grazing and slowly approaching us, a small group of oxpeckers descended onto their backs. They too were looking for a last snack before they would spend the night roosting up in trees. I had my Canon EOS 30D and the stage was set with the buffalo approaching, oxpeckers on its back, flies in its wake and the sun at a favorable angle.

While you anticipate the ‘perfect’ photograph, you must make sure you have the correct ISO, aperture and focal point. In this case my ISO was set at 250 with an aperture of f7.1 and a shutter speed of 1/500. The moment the buffalo turned away from us, as anticipated, the oxpecker presented itself laterally, the light in its eye and the flies in view. My patience, anticipation and preparations all came down to a few seconds. The true pleasure of photography is when you check your photographs on the computer and it all comes out just perfect.

Patience is the key.

Jaap van Dijk

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