Wildlife Photographer Andrew Schoeman

A short video on me and how I can help you with your Photography and Wildlife Photographic safari

The Written version !

In 2000 my wife and I decided to move from the city to the Lowveld bush. Being “rookies” we were extremely excited to be going to work at a lodge in the bush and for the fantastic lifestyle the job entailed. At the time I had no intentions of being a photographer, and photography was not foremost in my mind! The only camera I owned was an old Vivitar 110 film camera that had lain in my cupboard, without a film, for years!

One afternoon after dropping off my guests I drove the “scenic ” and less travelled road back home to the lodge, and at a junction in the road I saw a silver package lying in the road. I got out and picked it up. It was a roll of film! Un-opened and waiting for me!

I raced home to see if the film would match my camera and by a sheer stroke of incredible luck, it did! Now I had a camera with a new roll of film and I was set to take pictures. I imagined the cover of National Geographic graced with my images, I could hardly wait to take my new guests out on Game drive to put my new found photographic skills to the test. Within a few days I had taken all 36 exposures on the film and I rushed off to Hoedspruit (the closest town) to have my film developed. After a few hours of waiting in town I returned to the local lab only to be told that I had NO images on my film I was told everything was completely Overexposed and all I got was pure white on the entire film. Only much later did I realise that the sun had completely ruined the film as it was lying in the middle of the road.

Undeterred I bought my first ever roll of film and headed back to the lodge and the next game drive to go and take some award winning images! And the rest, as they say… is history. I was completely hooked! I had a immediate love for photography and a burning desire to take the best possible Wildlife images the world had ever seen. I set about buying books on photography from numerous well known South African Wildlife photographers hoping to learn their secrets. I watched National Geographic TV and BBC Wild for inspiration. And I think I completely drained all the knowledge of any guests visiting the lodge that had a camera and a keen interest in photography.

15 years on, and only a few things have changed. I now have many years of bush and photographic experience, numerous photographic achievements and accolades as well as seeing my images in print all over the country. Undoubtedly the top photographic highlights for me over the last 13 years has been a “Highly commended” image in the Natural History Musuem and Veolia Wildlife photographic competition in 2010 and my “Runner up” Image in the Black and White Category in same competition in 2013. One of the top Wildlife photographic competitions worldwide hosted by the Natural History Museum in London every year. I have also upgraded my camera gear a few times since the Vivitar 110…….My wife has now learned to ignore me when I say ” I only need this one more lens or camera body and then that’s it!” she long ago learnt that upgrading lenses and cameras seems to be part of Wildlife photography. My love and passion for wild places and taking photographs is still the same as my very first game drive with Vivitar 110 and Sunburnt film in hand.

Over the last 15 years I have had the privilege of guiding in:

Balule Game reserve in the Lowveld

The Welgevonden Game Reserve north of Pretoria

4 1/2 years of guiding in the Sabi Sand Game reserve

(undoubtedly one of the best big game viewing destinations in Africa and my first ever exposure to one of the most beautiful cats, the Leopard)

Kleins camp,Serengeti National Park (a piece of heaven on earth!)

The Okavango Delta in Botswana

From May of 2011 to September of 2015 I was based in Nelspruit which has easy access to the Kruger and Sabi Sands where I hosted scheduled, as well as custom made photographic safaris to all the great Wildlife destinations the World has to offer.

Currently I am based at Kirkmans Kamp in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve where I host Photographic Safaris for andBeyond, one of the Top Luxury Travel companies in Africa.

I also love entering Wildlife photographic competitions and here are a few highlights for me, the first is a image that was the runner up image in the BBC Wildlife photographer of the Year 2013 in the Black and White category Called "Shot in the dark"

Here is a short video of me about this image in the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year made by the Natural History Unit.

Another highlight for me was getting a highly commended image also in the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the year for 2010 in the Mammal Behaviour category with this image called "Lion and his little Nipper"

My Photographic Gear !

Everyone has a starting point! Mine was with a Vivitar 110 film camera in 2000, it was upgraded to a Samsung film camera, the one with a zoom lens built in and then I moved onto a Pentax MZ 30 camera with a Sigma 150-500 F5.6 lens, my first Pro camera body was a Canon EOS 1 film camera and a Canon 100-400 F4.5 to F5.6 lens, this combination lasted me for a long time before I eventually stared using digital cameras.

My very first Canon Digital camera was the 20D, it was a good camera and I used it for many years, the digital era had taken off and there seemed to be better digital cameras released every few months! Finally I decided it was time to upgrade and I traded in my 20D for the Canon EOS1D Mark 3 digital camera, later I got myself a second body in the form of a Canon 7D, I also got a few new lenses, the Canon 300 F2.8 lens, Canons 70-200 F2.8 lens and a 16-35mm F2.8 lens as well as Canons Speedlight 580 EX flash. I used this Equipment for many years while guiding in the bush and it stood me in good stead.

In 2012 I used a Nikon D3S digital camera for the first time with a 200-400 F4 lens and I was hooked!

I decided it was time for me to switch over from Canon to Nikon, it was not a easy decision but one I made non the less! I traded in my Canon equipment and got a new set of Nikon Camera gear, A decision I have not looked back on!

Now my Camera gear has a whole new look and consists of the following!

Nikon D4 and D800 Cameras
Nikkor 200-400 F4 lens
Nikkor 70-200 F2.8 lens
Nikkor 300 F2.8 lens
Nikkor 24-70 F2.8 lens
1.4 TC
2x TC
SB910 Flash