Likweti, a photographic playground

Love them, or hate them, smart phones have opened up the world of digital photography to, well, anyone with one!

While the days of high-tech amateur cameras may be numbered, simply owning a smart phone does not mean you will take fabulous photographs. This requires patience, persistence and a life-time of dedication. Though for those wanting to hone their skills a little quicker, we have a few helpful hints that will help you produce shots a pro would be proud of.

1. Get to know your phone – Most smart phones have cameras with amazing functions, play with them. Test out the panoramic, challenge its night functions in low-light conditions and see whether sports mode really can help you capture an antelope at speed. Just stay clear of functions that add editing effects when you are taking the photo, as this should be left to the edit and clean shots are always the best!

2. Love the right light – Early mornings and late afternoons produce the perfect lighting, or ‘golden hour’, where the sun is low enough to provide a beautiful back light for your subject. Poor lighting creates flat-shots, as the camera is unable to generate the depth of field our eyes see. So if you want the perfect picture, be prepared for early mornings and late afternoons – or “sundown(ers)”.

3. Change your perspective – Ever noticed that your photographs have the same look and feel? This is a trap most of us fall into, it’s simply too easy to point and shoot without thinking about the feel you are trying to create. So switch things up by taking a different perspective, and changing the way you look at the world. Get low or on the ground, go high perhaps climb up a tree, use something in the foreground or place a reflection in your shot – by simply playing with framing you can transform your photography.

4. Play with frames – Correct framing will draw the viewer into the photo, look around for interesting ways to frame your subject matter. Frames are important as they add depth and context to a shot as well as visual interest. While most frames are things in the foreground – an overarching branch, doorway, window, etc. You can also look to use things in the background like trees, mountains or even clouds. The contrast between light and shadow provides a great framing effect, in fact there are endless framing options once you go out and explore them.

5. Edit, edit and edit some more – It is in the edit where the magic happens, where an average photo is transformed into an extraordinary one. With more edit apps on the market than we care to count, the biggest challenge is working out which to use. Thankfully there are numerous blogs, YouTube videos and photograph magazines that will point you in the right direction, meaning editing your dream images has never been as easy.

Now you have our five helpful hacks, it is time to go out and start snapping – but before you do, here are five of our favourite things to photograph at Likweti:

1. Sunrise at Mac Hide Dam – Capture the reflection of the sun’s golden light as it dances across the water’s surface. The dam is a wonderful place to capture action shots like the birds diving for fish or skimming over the surface for insects and nesting amidst the reeds.

2. Looking out over Nelspruit – The views of the city from Imbizo lookout point are second to none, enabling you to capture the twinkling lights of the city at night. Equally enchanting are the stars, which shine brighter at Likweti thanks to the lack of light pollution on the estate.

3. Rocky outcrops – These may seem like an odd suggestion, but here you can really have some fun! They are the perfect setting for family portraits with a difference, climb on top, peek out from behind, jump off, as long as it is fun you are almost guaranteed a great photograph. They are also home to the blue headed lizards, which are an ideal muse when it comes to honing your action shots.

4. Natural statues – Big, bold tree’s are the perfect playground for an amateur photographer. Use the tree to experiment with light and shade, textures, perspectives and even family photo shoots (if they will climb it!). What’s more, when it comes to subject matter what could be a better choice than one which will never break frame.

5. Giraffe silhouettes – Iconic of Africa and part of the Likweti landscape, capturing the perfect giraffe silhouette is a photographic must that is not as simple as it sounds. Be persistent, because done well it can produce a show-stopping print.

So get clicking and preserve some fantastic memories and magical moments in the beautiful backdrops of Likweti Bushveld Farm Estate.

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