January User of the Month: @a_day_in_the_life_of_p

One of the greatest things about Foap is the community we all create. It gives us a chance to connect and learn from one another. This is why we’re presenting you with the latest User of the Month: @a_day_in_the_life_of_p.

Portia has only joined Foap about 3 months ago and she definitely is one of the rising stars of the Foap Plus program. Her photo of three buffalos drinking water became Editors’ Choice Photo of the Week, and she caught our attention with her amazing shots of African wildlife.

Keep reading to see what she had to say about her life in Africa and her photography journey.

You live in South Africa, which is such a vibrant place when it comes to nature. How would you describe South Africa? What’s the best part about it? 
So, I live roughly half the year in Zimbabwe and the other half in South Africa. Zimbabwe is absolutely beautiful but, sadly, and more often than not, Zimbabweans don’t make much of an effort to find that beauty. I’ve been lucky enough to develop a great love of nature and the outdoors and so I do often go out of my way to find these kinds of places. I have been so blessed to have lived my entire life next to a stunning dam which houses a great variety of birds, fish, and even jackals. In terms of South Africa, well, it’s got everything. I live approximately 45 minutes away from three different beaches. So, on the weekends, I’ve been able to enjoy that side of South Africa. South Africa also has so many different places to hike – whether on a beach or in a forest of some kind. There is so much to do and so much to see. 
What drew you to photography in general, and specifically wildlife photography? 
In general, photography was just something that came naturally to me (apologies for not sounding particularly humble). To clarify, I was always someone who appreciated nature. I had a great appreciation for sunsets and sunrises. I loved looking at things differently, more intently, than the normal person and I still do today. Appreciating nature and being able to take photographs that I could share with others was a great tool that helped with my mental health issues. I was always able to be grateful for the beauty that this world possesses and I continually dream of seeing and doing more. I am so grateful for the peace that being in nature brings me.
With regards to wildlife photography, living in Zimbabwe (and South Africa) has really given me the chance to experience wildlife to its fullest. I’ve spent a lot of my free time at game reserves or out in the bush where there are hardly any other people. It’s truly incredible to witness a variety of different animals and to see them in their natural habitat, doing what comes so naturally to them. I was so extremely lucky to find myself in Kavinga (Mana Pools, Zimbabwe) in a hide as a herd of 250+ buffalos emerged from the dust. Standing only a few metres away from some of the most deadly animals in the world was exhilarating. I’ve always loved animals but there’s something so special about wild animals because of their freedom and nature, especially when comparing their nature to that of humans. It was experiences like this that made me crave more. I was recently bitten by an emu that I was photographing. Something to add to the bucket list.
What tips would you give to someone just starting with photography? 
I would suggest that amateur photographers (like myself) really learn how to use their camera. The possibilities, the photographs that you can create, are endless. It will take some time as it is quite a lot to learn but stick with it, it’s so worth it. In particular, learn about the different functions you should be using in certain circumstances i.e. you need to set your camera to shutter speed when taking wildlife photographs as the animals may move, what ISO you should be using dependent on the lighting in any given situation, what aperture you should use to get the kind of depth of field that you want. I would also suggest that amateur photographers try their best to think outside the box i.e. use props, take the photo from a different perspective or view point, or position. 
Portia will be featured in our Instagram and Facebook Stories. She also received 300 Foap Coins. Go ahead and congratulate her in the comments and keep an eye out for the next month’s user!

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