There comes a point in most wildlife photographer’s path where the large-scale photo safari group tours just don’t cut it anymore. You don’t get the attention and tutoring that you need to get the best out of your investment and improve. And, let’s face it, a quality photo safari is never cheap. You do get what you pay for though and I’m a firm believer in this. Personally, I’m not interested in ‘pillow menus’ and what flavour chocolate is left on my said pillow. That’s not what I’m about. I’m all about the experience to be had out there… on the savannah, in the jungle, or out there amongst the ice floes.
Since 2003, I have lived the dream and amassed thousands of hours of wildlife photography in some of the most iconic locations on Earth – including the Mara-Serengeti Ecosystem, India’s Tiger Country, Svalbard Archipelago, and Antarctica. Since 2010, I have been sharing my knowledge and passion for wildlife with ORYX Photography, delivering high-end, expert-lead photographic safaris. Cherry-picked for their incredible concentration of wildlife and unparalleled photographic opportunities, I am now offering a collection of Elliott Neep Photographic Safaris that have been specifically designed to get you the shots you’ve always dreamed of.
The Way I Work
I’m not a loud and shouty high-fiving guide. There are plenty of those and some people love that. I educate at base and guide out in the field. By ‘guide’ I mean, suggest compositions, check your exposures, teach shooting techniques, line the vehicle up for you, liaise with the local guides, explore the best opportunities for you, and explain your requirements to them. Then, when we get back to our base, positively critique your images and teach you how to get the best out of your RAW files with Adobe Lightroom.
My incredible photographic safaris are based on small groups of just six clients or less. This intimate groups size provides two major benefits: One, maximum guidance and contact with your guide; Two, you have the space you need to manoeuvre as you’re guaranteed your own seat row (on land safaris). With maximum guidance, comes my ability to always make myself available at lunchtimes and before and after dinner. Because you’re not fighting to be heard among a large group, you can bring your cameras, bring your images and together we’ll do everything we can to resolve any issue or improve any aspect of your photography game that we can. The deal here is that you must be honest with me and tell me asap if anything is going wrong. I can’t fix it on the last day, or via email when you’re back home. Deal? Good!
The Social Side
Some clients want to spend time with their guide and others would rather dive into their memory cards and resurface the next morning. With my clients, there is never any stipulation on whether you ‘must join us for dinner’ or not. It is entirely up to you. It’s your tour, your time, you should be able to do as you please (within reason). I have never operated tight ‘group rules’ and I never will. If the camp or expedition ship allows, I’ll even try to arrange meals to be sent to your tent. We can’t have you malnourished now! I am always up for an ice-cold beer on the savannah or a good wine (I know a little bit). I am sure we can find something to mutually celebrate the day’s the photography and experiences.
Photo Safari Guide ‘For Hide’
In between scheduled departures for ORYX, I am available for bespoke PRIVATE safaris which provide the maximum contact, tuition, and guidance, with a range of camps and lodges to suite you. Learning ‘the craft’ can be a fundamental element throughout your safari with additional Lightroom tutorials and critique sessions whenever time allows. I will always be on hand to answer questions and queries, to direct and to advise as you capture stunning images of the region’s wildlife.
Photo Safari Destinations
My experience comes from three key regions and these are among the best for wildlife photography in the world: The massively famous Mara & Serengeti ecosystem; The astonishingly beautiful and stunningly pristine Svalbard Archipelago; The genuine land of the tiger, Central India’s National Parks where the most beautiful predator of them all, still roams free.
Ranthambhore Tigers – April 2018
In April 2018, I will be leading an exclusive safari to India;s most famous National Park… Ranthambhore! Rather than drive around to various parks, we’re going to spend the entire duration in Project Tiger’s crowning jewel. This park is epic. Just epic. Not in size, but its varied habitats, not to mention all the ruins and palatial ruins from a bygone era. The group size is strictly limited to just six participant. There’s a maximum of just two photographers in each vehicle. This is a single-minded tour… tigers are our goal. Tigers, tigers and more tigers!
Mara & Serengeti
When I flew into the Masai Mara in 2007, it felt like I was coming home. It was such a bizarre feeling. I have incredible luck in the Mara. On my first day, I photographed a leopard sucking her cubs and the luck has remained ever since. I only use the best camps and guides with the most reliable vehicles. And, by best, I mean the best for photographers. Not the most expensive or most luxurious. I can recommend a selection of camps and from these you can select those that meet your budget. If you’ve been recommended a lodge or camp, just let me know and I can check it out for its suitability.
Arguably Africa’s most thrilling wildlife and scenic photographic destination is Kenya’s Masai Mara Game Reserve. Immortalised by award-winning nature documentaries and Hollywood blockbusters alike, Kenya needs little introduction to wildlife photographers. This East African country offers the quintessential elements for all African photo safaris – phenomenal wildlife, luxurious camps and breathtaking wilderness under huge skies.
The Mara-Serengeti eco-system is home to the World’s greatest wildlife spectacle, the annual wildebeest migration. These grazers, together with zebra and Thompson’s gazelle traverse the eco-system through the year, and whilst there are resident animals in the Mara throughout (those that don’t migrate), numbers swell to gigantic proportions during the drier season – July through to November. In February and March, this colossal mass of wildlife moves to the south of the Eco-system and fills the plains of the Southern Serengeti and Ndutu.
The Mara’s abundant herbivores make it a paradise for predators. The large carnivores include the big cats – lion, leopard, cheetah (as featured yearly on the BBC’s Big Cat Diary) and the spotted hyena. More than a million wildebeest and two hundred thousand plains zebra migrate annually following the rains in search of grass. Crossing the Mara River is the greatest obstacle they have to face with steep slippery banks, strong currents and the enormous Nile crocodiles. This area is great for predators. It has an exceptional cheetah population, lion prides and leopards (tolerant and habituated to vehicles). The famous black-maned Mara Lions are possibly the stars of the Mara show, but various other species including African bush elephant, wildebeest, topi, Thompson’s gazelle, waterbuck, bushbuck and primates are all here too providing one of the most holistic photographic experiences in Africa.
Join me on an early departure as we search for iconic wildlife in one of the most breath-taking locations on the planet, exploring the Svalbard Archipelago on our ice-rated expedition vessel. It really doesn’t matter whether you’re into wildlife or landscape – this trip has it all in abundance! Draped in secluded darkness during the northern winter, this frigid land is dramatically transformed into a place of perpetual daylight.
The summer sun reveals Whales, Walruses, Seals, Arctic Fox, Reindeer and Polar Bears, surrounded by towering snow-capped mountains, forbidding glaciers and flower studded tundra – the scenery here is nothing short of breathtaking! Adding life to the vast skies are avian treats such as the elegant Ivory Gull, towering seabird colonies and the lovely Red Phalarope, splendid in its brick-red summer plumage. This epic high Arctic photographic expedition will focus on the sea ice lingering in the North – Polar bear territory.
On this far-reaching photographic cruise to the islands of the South Atlantic Ocean and the Antarctic mainland, you will revel in 18 eye-popping days of exploration and photography. Unforgettable highlights on this exceptional photographic expedition include colossal penguins rookeries, towering icebergs glowing with green and blue hues, humpback whales feeding on minute krill, somnolent and inquisitive seals and the continent-sized sweeping ice sheet of magical Antarctica!
This truly incredible photographic cruise takes us to one of the world’s last pristine wildernesses, as we explore the Falkland (Malvinas) Islands, South Georgia, South Shetlands and the fabled White continent itself – Terra Incognita. On this journey we will be treated to spectacular vistas, hauntingly beautiful icebergs, and the planet’s greatest concentrations of marine birds and wildlife.