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Can You Simply Wait?


To take a good picture and to capture something that stands out a little from the rest means there are several things that you need to do. I’ve spoken about this in the past and I’ll keeping talking about this subject every now and again and hopefully the examples that I show will encourage you to take this article on board..

Often I’m asked, “Wow how did you get those shots etc. and so on. Having patience and spending time in one place and not moving to another location will help achieve the shots that people ask, “ how did you get that shot. ”The secret for many of the shots that I take where there is emotion in the shots comes from having patience and then putting that patience into practice..

The series of pictures in this blog were taken at Monarto Open Range Zoo here in Adelaide where I live. This biggest in the word outside of Africa itself.

Last week Vicki and myself spent an entire day on the one spot. I said to her, the way to getting good shots about any subject is being prepared to spend time at a place, not to be impatient and saying to yourself’ Nothing is going to happen here, so lets go.’ Often when you do get up and go, that is when something happens.

Yes there are times when nothing at all happens, I get that but unless you give it a go you’ll always be wondering.

At Monarto, I run my own specialized photo tour there where we are up close and personal with the animals, where we get time to spend at each place in the enclosure with the animals. The end results are always rewarding and you’ll get shots that you cannot get while doing the standard tour that is offered there.

When we arrived, Vicki and myself did the tourist thing and did a lap of the open range zoo, in their provided bus. The end result of that was it made me even appreciated more the programme that I run there and my guests are very lucky when they join the tour as the time you get in each enclosure and to have the window down to shoot the animals, is leaps and bounds ahead of there normal tour for Monarto.

The time in each enclosure was between 30 seconds and 90s being the longest. Those who have done my photo tour there would appreciate it even more if they were to go back and do the regular tour that the zoo offers.That’s why I run the Photo Tours there as ut all about the time spent, having time and no matter where you are , no matter what you are photographing, time and patience is the key to coming away with pictures that will be different from those who don’t spend time.

So after doing their regular tour, which wasn’t that long, we decided to put into practice what our purpose was. We wanted to get some shots of the baby giraffe that was born bout a month ago and to do that, we were going to spend the entire day waiting….. and waiting at the one spot!!!!

When you wait long enough and you wait for the wildlife to get closer to you ,you’ll be able  to take their portraits and framing and composition is just so important. Knowing how to use the light  and working in with the animals movements are also crucial in achieving nice and emotive portraits of the animals.


Wildlife even in captivity is unpredictable; you never know how far away it will be from you. Our mission was to stay at the giraffe platform all day and to see what would come our way.

The series of photos that you see in the blog were a result of just doing that. There were quiet moments when the giraffes were way off into the distance, others times they ventured close enough to make it worth while in taking their pictures.

I can’t stress this enough the key to any amount of success in taking picture is being able to spend time with the subject, not to be rushed. ( This applies to any subject, not just animals)This I know sounds all like common sense and yet, few have the patience to do just that.

One of the things that I state on my photo tours is that it is never about coming away with a 1000 shots wherever you go, it is about walking away with hand full of shots that you are very pleased with.

When was the last time you actually stayed and waited an entire day in one spot and walked away with a collection of images that you were really pleased with vs staying for an hour and walking way with a 1000 images, all which you’ll mostly liking never look at again.

The value of the picture to yourself can be measured in how often you look at it, what emotion is behind the picture and the impact that it has on others.

We live in an era where people are so self absorbed in taking every movement on themselves.

When I’m just waiting in one spot for the day I’m always looking and observing what is before me and if the wildlife comes close enough to me, I love working with the abstract. This is only possible when the wildlife is close enough and that comes with patience. All of my shots are perceived in my head before I put the camera to my eye. I can see the picture before I take it and with the following abstracts that you see, I was able to see them before I put the camera to my eye. That comes when you have time in a place, it comes when you are prepared to simply wait and wait. Are you prepared to stay in one spot for the day?

Not that long ago I was running a photo tour in Australia and there was this couple there. Normally at sunrise I’m usually the only one there with my group at this spot but this morning we were graced by the company of this couple. I’m not stretching the truth but this couple would have taken well over 400 shots of themselves at the different points of this place. The funny thing is, given they were so close to themselves, they would have not seen the background, as their faces would have dominated the frame. How many pictures of the self do we need to take? Nothing wrong with taking a few pics of where you are with friends etc. but it’s become such an obsession today.

So we take our 1000 pictures of our self all which most will never be looked at again or deleted perhaps and I think this style of mentality in shooting has made us lazy in our approach in taking quality shots as opposed to quantity of shots .It also has made us lazy.

The biggest negative of the digital revolution is that it has made us lazy, self absorb and we have lost the ability to be prepared to wait, spend time and observe. We live in a world where our attention span has been reduce to very little.

Taking pictures is a craft where you take the time to know how to take time to work out your composition. With the millions of pics that are taken all over the place, what strikes me the most is the complete lack of composition and thought that is placed into the picture which is very little.

Being at a place, spending time, not being in a hurry should encourage you to look at the subject, you be able to look at your composition and to wait for it to happen.

All of these pictures that you see in this blog, I thought about the composition, waited for that to come about was all at the forefront of the picture taken. When I’m at a spot, composition is what I look for to add more emotion to the pictures. Remember when you take a picture , this is your sole opportunity to show the world what you see through your eyes , so make it count.

Now you will notice that there is dirt road in the pictures, well one cannot do anything about that as this is what is in the landscape. Many I know what clone the track out where, as I prefer to leave it there, as this was the setting where the pics were taken.

I love it when you are able to get good close ups of the subject as it makes it more engaging, more emotive and these shots in this blog came about when the animals on their own accord make their way to you. Most animals are inquisitive at times and will at some stage move closer to explore what is before them. Spending time at a place requires only one thing, patience.

Monarto is an outstanding place and the temptation to see everything in a day and that’s fine but if you want to be able to come home with some pleasing shots that will be emotive, that help tell a story , then you will achieve that if you have the patience to wait.

It is not uncommon for me to go to a location and stay for the entire day. I have dome this on so many occasions and the photographs that I walk away with always put a smile on my face and it continually teaches me that you can never have the attitude, been there done that.

What you put into your photography is what you get out of it. If photography is a strong passion of yours, then make sure if you go away on holidays with others that you are all on the same page otherwise , you will be very frustrated…hence the reason that its great to do photo tours as you are all on the same page that’s another story for down the track.

What was fascinating with these two, the feather was the main attraction. They were like little kids, so playful. When one had discovered the feather, the other wanted a play as well. Seriously. this was so entertaining, so inspiring and it did the heart well to see these adorable ladies having fun and they were ever so gentle during this time. These creatures can be aggressive to each other when the males are fighting for the rights to mate. The way they do that is to pound each other with their necks but  in this case, it was just playful fun. Spending time in one place for the day, you get to see little things like this, the unexpected moments but it is these unexpected moments that stirs the emotions deep within us and put a smile on our faces.

I run a special Monarto Photography Day at Monarto. Numbers are limited and if you would like to be apart of this special day or find more information about it , click the link below for all of the details.

Monarto Zoo Day

Pete Dobré

Author Pete Dobré

Pete's photography is self taught. As a young child photography was an interest. His passion for the varying landscapes of Oz comes from frequent visits as a youngster, to his Gandparent's sheep farm in Barmera, a small country town in South Australia. Pete Dobré is a Freelance Photographer who blazes the trail for 6 months each year, capturing awe-inspiring images. Pete's work expresses his creative flair, emotions and love for the natural scapes of Australia. He remembers the hot day when he was 8, leaving town for the farm. His parents had an old car. Within about 2 kilometres of reaching the farm gate, they were bogged on a small red sand dune. The flies were buzzing continuously and the heat was beating down. Sticks, leaves and branches were wedged under the back tyres, to get the car moving. His mum was in a panic but Pete thought that it was exciting. From that moment he knew that he loved being out in creation, with the sense of adventure in the wild. This is where Pete's passion began. Photography for Pete is an expressive means for visual communication. He says, 'There is never a boring moment in my work. There is always something to photograph and I love being creative. The only limit to creativity is a lack of creativity.' Pete's aim as a photographer is to present images that provoke and stimulate the mind, to capture God's awesome creation and to share this with others. If Pete can do a little justice to God's creativity, then he is quietly satisfied. As a photographer Pete's inspiration and passion for his work comes from knowing God who created everything in the beginning. Knowing God, the Creator gives more substance and meaning to what he captures on film. Pete sees his role as freezing a moment in time and history which will never be repeated exactly the same again. The light, clouds and seasons will always be different. Pete's love for natural conditions at different times of the day, displaying varying moods and cloud formations makes his work very special and eye catching.

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