Having grown up in the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, aspiring wildlife photographer Cathan Moore has a keen eye for spotting the unique and beautiful shots. We sat down with this talented young man to find out more about his inspirations, his favourite animals to shoot and his advice for anyone looking to get a great photograph on safari.
Tell us a bit about your background.
I am 15 years old and have lived my whole life at Kings Camp in the Timbavati bush. My parents, Warren and Lisha, are the managers of Kings Camp and I have a wonderful little sister named Sveva who is 11. I go to an amazing school in Hoedspruit called Southern Cross that is situated in the Raptors view wildlife estate. The whole ethos of the school is to protect the environment and practice sustainable living. The motto for our school is “A school for the planet” and I am currently in Grade 10.
Every morning we have a 45 minute drive from the lodge to school driving through the Timbavati. Over the years we have seen so many amazing sightings just on the school run from Wild dog kills to the very rare pangolin. I am really blessed to have the life I have, and I thank my parents for the most wonderful upbringing. I am passionate about nature and conservation and my dream along with wildlife photography is to study wildlife veterinary science when I finish school.
When did you start taking photographs?
I started 2 years ago when my friend Albie Morkel gave me a Canon camera as a gift. From then on, I tried to go on as many game drives as possible at Kings Camp to take pictures. One of the field guides at Kings Camp, Almero Klingenberg has been especially good to me taking me out into the bush on many game drives. We have become good friends and enjoy taking pictures of wildlife together.
Which camera and lens do you use?
I currently shoot with a 7D Mark II Canon body and a 150mm – 600mm Sigma Lens. I also have a 100-300mm Sigma lens.
What is your favourite subject to photograph?
I love to shoot elephants because they are amazing animals, so intelligent and complex. Their enormous bodies provide wonderful opportunities to capture in different poses.
What’s the most memorable sighting you’ve had at Kings Camp?
It was last year when one night not far my house I witnessed around 30 hyenas gang up on 2 lionesses who had just killed a giraffe. The hyenas were very hungry and were determined to drive the lions off the kill. The noise, shrieks and giggles from the hyenas was frightening and exhilarating at the same time as they stole the kill from the lions.
Do you have a favourite photograph? If so could you send it on?
Yes I have a few, I’ve attached them here:
Do you have any advice for aspiring wildlife photographers?
All I can say is keep it simple and natural. Some people try to get too complicated with their shots.
Do you have any wildlife photographers that have inspired you or that you look up to?
I also respect the work of Ashleigh Scully from America. She is 16 years old and won Natures Best 2017 International Youth Photographer of the year last year. She convinced me to enter my pictures this year and I am holding thumbs.
What’s the secret to taking a good wildlife photograph?
PATIENCE and some luck helps too!! Being in the right spot at the right time.
Your environmental conditions are extremely vital, good soft and warm light is always important to capture good pictures of nature. Knowing animals behavior is an essential skill to anticipate the animals next move.
Is there anything you’ve always dreamed of photographing but never had the opportunity?
For me the big prize would be a Black Rhino. I have seen most things in the bush during my life but the elusive black rhino has always evaded me and my lens.
Have you ever seen an incredible wildlife sighting but not had your camera with you?
No I am always armed!
What tips do you have for our guests who are keen photographers on safari?
It is always a bonus if you can book a private vehicle while on safari. This allows you the opportunity to spend time with the animals without feeling pressured to moving on to the next sighting. Your guide can also get you in the best positions for that great shot and most guides are very knowledgeable on photography, so they can give you invaluable tips.
For more of Cathan’s images – follow him on @bushmaniac on Instagram.
All images belong to Cathan Moore. All rights reserved.