Operating a Safari company and several Wildlife Camps since 2008 I find myself in the ideal situation for wildlife photography as I try of course to spend as much time in the bush as I can possibly can, I have come to learn that time, patience and observation are the master keys to good wildlife photography, knowledge of your surroundings and animal behavior come in handy too, the rest is luck and experience.
Born on June 18th 1964 in Hannover, Germany
My encounter with wildlife started at the early age of 3 in an unlikely setting. My Family and I were living in northern Germany, in the town of Hannover, on the weekends we occasionally payed a visit to the local Zoo. Judging from the only picture witnessing my encounter with a baby lion on the laps of my sister, I was not really sure what to think of it at the time.
Later in my early teens, after some years spent abroad, we returned to Hannover and this time the apartment my parents rented was in the close vicinity of the Zoo. I could hear Elephant feeding time from my room in the morning before going to school. But that obviously cannot account for my present passion for wildlife and the bush. My childhood and adolescence were mainly under the artistic influence of my Mother, herself daughter of Architect and Art critic Herbert Albrecht. Soon after my Baccalaureate in Paris, France I applied for L’Ecole des Beaux Arts but was rejected not once but twice under the pretext of young age, so I attended classes at ESAG Penninghen for 1 year, then I learned traditional plaster moulding at ESAA Duperré and worked for artists as a moulding technician. But my passion at the time was for music as it had been since the age of 6, so I tried my luck on that road for some years. I still make soundscape recordings in the bush, the audio analog to photography in my view.
Years later I moved to Brussels Belgium (1989) and took up artistic studies again, this time at St. Luc Institute in St. Gilles, in the painting section though I never painted anything in my 3 years there, they were devoted to Sculpture. But here I had my first serious encounter with photography, learning the theory more than the practice but practice was still a big thing, I purchased my first black and white lab and learned the techniques with some help of my teachers but also my Uncle Dieter Hinrichs, at the time teacher of photography at the Munich School of Photography. He had been living and working in Namibia in the 60’s and I admired his photos from that time. As for my part photography was not my priority, I had not found a subject that captivated me yet.
In 1994 I joined my dear friend Gerard Watkins on my first adventure trip, backpacking in Mozambique via South Africa, the country’s mood was optimistic then, although a bit awkward at times. The highlight of the trip was a 5 day and night stay at a private ranch belonging to a friend of my Father's. It consisted of 2000 acres of private terrain in the bush, all for us alone, in Sabie Sand Reserve, bordering Kruger National Park. It left an indelible mark in my mind, I remember thinking at the time (times were not so rosy then) that if everything went wrong for me on the old continent I would try my luck in Africa, something involving wildlife. But this of course remained a dream for the next 14 years, life just kept going along other paths …
Then in 2008 it was time again for Africa, I had until then been extensively travelling in South East Asia and the Caribbean, taking travel pictures, recording sounds, but I never found that feeling that I missed so much, life in the bush. I decided to go on Safari in Tanzania, my German roots and family history, the names of Ngorongoro, Serengeti, Dr. Grzimeck and Hardi Krüger kept resounding in me. I went on this Safari fully equipped for M/S sound recording, camera wise I only took a Coolpix, little did I know that this Safari would be a new beginning for me. A week after my Safari, at a family reunion I had a conversation about Africa with my Uncle and he revealed to me that he had been sleeping in the Ngorongoro Crater around New Year 1962-63, he later sent me copy of my Aunts diary as well as pics from that time, I also learned to my surprise that my fathers best friend Wolfgang Helbig had been in Arusha in the 70’s and enjoyed it very much. so …
Just a few weeks later I decided to invest myself (and some money) and founded my Safari Company Wildlife Guides of Tanzania with my former guide Peter Pilliard. This was now my opportunity to take on photography again and this time the conditions were right, I could invest in the appropriate gear, learning what works best in this field of photography and most of all, I finally found my subject, and I found it right in front of me, the magnificent fauna & flora of Tanzania.
My business partner Peter Pilliard and I now operate Ang’ata Camps in addition to our Safari operation Wildlife Guides of Tanzania. I thus find myself in the ideal situation for wildlife photography as I try of course to spend as much time in the bush as I can possibly can, I have come to learn that time, patience and observation are the master keys to good wildlife photography, the rest is luck and experience.
Welcome to my world in pictures
Frank M Hinrichs