Monday, November 22, 2021

Another nice article in the Los Gatos Magazine - "Call of Africa"

You may remember an article that was written in the Los Gatos Magazine back in June of this year featuring my Olympic work. During that interview with the writer, we started talking about the other photography that I do and she asked if she could write two articles instead of one. She wanted to write one featuring my sports photography and another featuring images from my photo tours to Africa. I was not going to say no to that!

Maria did such a nice job on the first article that I was excited to see what she came up with for the next one. I got home the other day and saw a bunch of copies of the magazine in my mailbox. Once again, I think that she did a great job with the article. Here is her layout with the text below. 

I hope you enjoy the read.

Call of Africa


A mere two minutes into our Zoom call, Jeff Cable shows me a video of an adolescent elephant in Botswana, giant ears billowing as it challenges his safari vehicle. The bull’s trumpets are as life affirming as they are loud.

It’s an already-interesting morning in late September, and Cable is exhilarated and still a bit jet lagged from his latest photo tour, teaching photography to a small group on safari in Tanzania, Kenya and Botswana.

“You never know what you’re going to see. It’s always different,” says Cable, back in his studio in Saratoga. “The wildlife is amazing, from the large cats to the smallest birds. That’s what makes Africa so different is the variety you’re seeing, the terrain, the light you’re seeing it in—all of those things combined are what makes it so amazing.”

For Cable, the highlight of this last trip was watching, from a gently rocking photography boat, a herd of 80 elephants cross the Chobe River, testing the water’s depth with their trunks. Though he’s been on 10 safaris now, that was a first.

While Cable teaches photo tours all over the world—from the rainforests of Costa Rica to the lively streets of Cuba, Japan during cherry blossom season, and, new for 2022, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia— it’s Africa that calls to him most vividly.

“It’s totally life changing. The people, the culture, the wildlife,” says Cable. “I tell all my friends, before you die, you have to go to Africa.”

To be clear, the envious life of a world traveling professional photographer takes hard work: within the last 48 hours, Cable has shot a wedding, a party, and corporate portraits in the Bay Area. His trip to Africa came just six days after he wrapped up shooting the Summer Olympics in Tokyo for Team USA. On photo tours, Cable shares the professional skills that got him where he is today while also getting a chance to slow down a little and shoot alongside his guests without the pressure of a deadline.

“I’m teaching the whole time,” says Cable. “It’s like any other safari except we’re looking for the best light and the best pictures.”

Throughout the day of shooting, which begins at sunrise, Cable gives camera setting suggestions as the light changes, and communicates in Swahili so that the drivers can help them capture, say, the light illuminating the tawny eyes of a mother lion and her cubs.

“In Africa, it’s easy to take 2,000 pictures a day,” Cable says. Rich orange sunsets, expressive acacia trees, and wildlife out of your wildest dreams—from Tanzania’s Great Migration of ungulates (large hooved creatures including giraffes, elephants, rhinos, wildebeest herds and zebras), to colorful birds you’ll never see elsewhere, crocodiles, and the largest species of cats in the world. “At certain points I’ll stop and say ‘show me your best five images.’ And we do a critique,” says Cable. “I’ll show them editing, work flow, and how to go through their images quickly—because if you’re shooting that many images a day it helps to go through them.”

Every animal has its challenges, he adds. But challenge is something Cable constantly seeks. Whether he’s shooting a chameleon eating a grub with its 200mph tongue, a high diver at the Olympics, or even a Bar Mitzvah, new perspectives and techniques are what keep his passion for photography alive.

Just as he challenges himself, Cable likes to give the group challenges, too. “As a photographer, the job is to tell a story,” says Cable. “Whether the Olympics or wildlife, you want to shoot it in a way that tells a story.” He’ll invite participants to slow things down and practice motion pans on a flying skimmer or a running zebra—a technique that can take hundreds of shots to get, but pays off in spades with its ability to capture movement. “Or sometimes it’s knowing when to get a tight shot rather than always going for the big picture,” says Cable. “Elephants have amazing eyelashes.”

A unique perk to Cable’s tours is that participants get to borrow the latest Canon cameras and lenses at no charge, thanks to his pretty sweet Canon sponsorship.

Wildlife highlights aside, what Cable loves most about photo tours is seeing people improve their photography skills over their time with him. On this last trip, he says, it was “The look on one woman’s face when she posted her photos on Facebook and her friends couldn’t believe they weren’t from National Geographic.”


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Check out my upcoming photo tours to amazing places around the world. I have photo tours to Africa, Costa Rica, Cuba, Europe, Asia, India and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours. 


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