Recently we had the pleasure of contacting Adam Riley from Rockjumper who you have seen on the blog before. After 2 successful posts with Adam, he recommended I contact his business partner Marius Coetzee, and we are all very lucky today that I followed up on that recommendation. Not only is Marius Running Oryx World Wide Photographic Expeditions, but he is a killer photographer. I guess if your leading these expeditions you better be able to hang with the pros and show off your skills with the best of them. That is what Marius does. I still have a bruise from when I first looked at his personal website and my chin slammed into the desk. Warning: Secure yours before going any further.
What got you started in photography, Marius?
I started my career as a professional safari guide almost 12 years ago at the tender age of 18. What was supposed to be a ‘gap’ year turned into my profession. About 4 years ago I decided to buy my first DSLR to capture the remarkable wildlife I observed on a daily basis and like they say the rest is history.
Tell us a little about your business and how you got started.
After more than 10 years being based at some of the most glamorous safari lodges in South Africa, I wanted to spread my wings and concentrate on private guiding. Adam Riley contacted me and after our first meeting Oryx Worldwide Photographic Expeditions was born. We now lead both scheduled as well as tailor-made photographic expeditions to some of the worlds most scenic and remote locations. Offering our clients hands on photographic tutoring from some of the world’s most promising wildlife photographers. All our expedition leaders are award winning and published throughout the world. Furthermore we are all guides and passionate conservationist.
Do you have a typical customer?
Our customers vary from people in their 20’s to people in their 70’s, our tours cater to anyone, be they professional or beginner, that would like to improve their photographic knowledge and have the opportunity to capture potential award winning images. All Oryx tours are limited to only 6 participants and one Oryx leader; we also use only destinations that offers our clients the best possible photographic opportunities. For this privilege, our clients do pay more but it is worth every cent.
What’s a customer to expect when they come to see you?
Our tours are created for photographers by photographers and we only provide our clients with the best. For tailor – made expeditions we create tours around our customers photographic needs, budget, length etc.
When is your busy season?
Due to Oryx operating worldwide we do not have a busy season as we are busy throughout the year. All tours, be custom or scheduled, are perfectly timed for when nature can provide the best photographic opportunities.
What do customers need to do to get ready to enjoy the experience?
Ensure all your camera equipment is in working order, study the area you are going to, so when we meet you as a client, you can let us know what you would like out of your tour.
What is your favorite subject to photograph?
The Leopard. I spent more than 6 years guiding photographic safaris in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve (South Africa), world famous for the best leopard photography on the planet. I was fortunate to spend thousands of hours observing the shy and elusive felines. My leopard images were published in portfolios in BBC Wildlife Magazine (the worlds biggest natural magazine), Africa Geographic and BBC Knowledge Magazine.
What has been your most exciting moment taking a photograph?
Photographing the highly endangered Mountain Gorilla in both Rwanda and Uganda.
Tell us about a dangerous situation you have been in while taking a photo.
Due to my guiding background I am all about safety, for both the animal and myself. I will never jeopardize safety in the name of an image.
What’s the best part of your job?
Traveling the world photographing the most iconic mammals on earth. Getting to meet new people and assisting people to improve their knowledge about photography.
What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Spending vast amounts of time at airports.
Is there something you have yet to photograph, that you would like to?
What’s the most exciting place you’ve ever traveled to?
Antarctica. It is the last true remaining wilderness in the world.
You do quite a bit of traveling for your work. What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten and implemented that makes it easier?
Pack only what you need, both personal and photographic gear.
How can prospective customers get in touch with you?
They can email me at moc.yhpargotohpxyronull@suiram or moc.yhpargotohpxyronull@ofni. I can be reached through the Oryx site or my personal site. I also have Facebook pages for both the business and my personal work.
My suggestion is to pack your junk in the trunk and get it on over to any of these sites that Marius uses to promote his personal photography and the ones he snaps on the expeditions with Oryx. I know that after you have seen what he has to display here, you realize there is more to come. You’re not far off the mark. He’s currently in Madagascar and the images he has been posting on the Facebook page are one of a kind. Keep up the good work Marius. You’re leading the way.
To read the full interview feel free to click on the link below: