Charging elephants and lionesses on the prowl… it’s all in a day’s work for wildlife photographer Adrian Steirn.

Fall in love with a lens

Learn the intimate nuances of a particular lens and use the knowledge to frame your images. My favourite lenses are the Nikon 35mm 1.4, 85mm 1.4 and 200mm F2. The lenses are very fast. They have a shallow depth of field, but at that focal length don’t “flatten out” the image like traditional long lenses.

Play more

I love playing with what I see before me – looking for different compositions, reflections or looking to capture negative space. It is essential that the images have a context. Their context is usually in the environment. A close crop of an animal doesn’t bring you closer to Africa. A beautiful portrait that includes a huge sky or a tree, now that works for me. It helps to tell a story.

Take your time

The more time I spend with the animals the easier my job becomes. Understanding basic behaviour patterns is critical to getting into the right position, and staying out of trouble. Spend time with the guides and trackers, learn a few tricks.

Make a plan, and stick to it

To me, taking a picture without a calculated, structured plan or process is not professional photo-graphy. The animal’s movement and behaviour will vary, light is always changing. You can’t influence that. But the clarity of the process, the method for getting the perfect pictures lies with you. Capitilise on the control that you do have.