Out of the 6 years he’s been working as a full-time photographic guide, he’s spent at least two of those years on safari; waking up before sunrise. No wonder that when Brendon’s at home he wants to sleep late! We consider ourselves really lucky to call such a talented (some would say South Africa’s best) wildlife photographer, friend.
Brendon Cremer grew up in a small farming community in Marondera, Zimbabwe. The boarding school he attended was on a private game reserve close to home and he remembers ALWAYS being outside. His whole family was ‘outdoorsie’ kinda people who loved going camping and fishing. During school holidays, Brendon used to work at a safari camp, which led to him becoming a Professional Game Ranger later in his life.
How his photographic journey started
Constantly surrounded by the beauty nature has to offer and have always liked photography, Brendon started posting his photographs on galleries and forums such as the Outdoorphoto Gallery. He started getting better and more people took notice of his work. Eventually, it came to the point where he started working as a freelance guide for Tusk Photo (ODP Safaris at the time) and he’s been guiding with them for 6 years now.
In general, the big cats are Brendon’s favourite. He says that they’re always up to something new and that their personalities and characters differ just like humans.
WILD-life’s beauty and the beast
I asked Brendon to share with us a moment out in nature that really ‘hit him in the feels’ and he says that he’s witnessed many births, from elephants and giraffes to zebra and buffalo and that it will always be captivating. “It’s amazing to see how quickly (give or take 2 hours) a new-born animal goes from being unable to stand, to running, especially when you compare it to a human baby.”
On the other side, they were out photographing young leopard cubs the one time when a male came into the picture. The mother tried to protect her cubs but the male got to one and killed it. “It was rough to witness!” It was not that particular male’s cubs and he wanted to spread his genes so for that reason the males will kill other offspring. “It brings you down to earth and reminds you that in nature, it’s survival of the fittest. (and… it’s not called WILD-life for no reason.)
To capture Alaska’s diversity
His dream photographic travel destination will have to be Alaska & British Columbia. “Just as other people want to come visit and experience Africa, I would like to experience something that’s unfamiliar to me.” Alaska has a variety of diverse wildlife like the salmon run, wolves, Bald Eagles, Polar bears, Brown bears and the rare Spirit Bear. (The Kermode bear, also known as the “spirit bear”, is a rare subspecies of the American black bear living in the Central and North Coast regions of British Columbia, Canada. It is the official provincial mammal of British Columbia.)
Brendon’s gear list:
- Nikon D810
- Nikon D600
- Nikon D500
- Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8
- Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
- Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8
- Nikon 400mm f/2.8
- Nikon SB900
- Nikon SB910
- Profoto B2’s
- Cactus Laser Trigger
- Benro Carbon Fiber Tripod
Brendon’s recommendation for first timers:
Nikon D500 Camera
It is easy to use with great image quality.
(Read Brendon’s review of the D500 Camera if you want to find out a bit more about why he recommends it.)
Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 and Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6 Zoom Lenses
When out on safari for the first time, you need to think about renting or buying a lens that will give you excellent zoom capabilities. You want to be able to photograph the leopard right next to the game viewer as well as the cheetah sitting on an anthill in the distance. Both the Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 and the Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6 lenses will provide good versatility with great image quality and are lightweight, which is a bonus.
When on safari in low light conditions, his advice would be to set your camera up to focus faster. “Instead of using group focus, use a single point focus.” He also recommends that you know the ISO capabilities of your camera and to work within that range.
A little bit of post-processing
When asked to elaborate a bit on his post-processing procedure he said, “I am by no means a purist. I am in the business of selling images, so if need be, I will remove something that bothers me.” But in true photographer form, he added that ideally, you want to do as little as possible.
Sharing his love of nature
He loves teaching and sharing his knowledge with the clients on safari. “I especially like it when it’s people experiencing Africa for the first time.” Seeing how excited people get just helps him appreciate his ‘job’ even more.
Brendon’s top tips
Nature has its own time.
If you don’t get the shot right the first time, try again until you succeed.
Work a sighting
Think of all the possible ways you can photograph a sighting. Don’t get stuck in photographing the same angle and end up with generic images.
Sitting down, chatting with Brendon, one can’t help but notice how his whole demeanour changes when talking about what he does. The immense love he has for nature and what he does for a living is tangible. And when he says that he NEVER grows bored with what he does… inspiring, to say the least.
“You never know what you’re gonna see. There’s a huge element of the unknown, which I love.”