The Burnside 35 goes on safari! These breathtaking images of models with wild African animals, shot by fashion and portrait photographer Theresa Sujata Senti, will leave you speechless. Read more about this very special shoot below.

I received my Burnside 35 about a week before I went to a photo shoot trip to South Africa, so I didn’t have much time to get used to it before I left. It turned out, that wasn’t much of a problem. I own Lensbaby’s Twist 60 as well, therefore I already had experience with the kind of bokeh and the manual focusing. So the only thing I really had to get used to was the slider for the vignette and that one that saved me in South Africa more than once. We planned to take very special pictures – shooting African animals and models together.

My friend Anne Nitschke had organized a photo shoot week at Glen Afric Country Lodge, situated close to Pretoria. The lodge is many things at once: a game reserve, a rehabilitation center taking care of animals that can no longer be released into the wild, an education center, and a movie set. Most animals that live there are not really tame but they are used to humans being close by, and with the right arguments (tasty food, that is) we could convince most of them to join our models in front of the camera. Some of the lions and elephants were more used to human interaction as the lodge also offers walks with those animals. But the cooperation clearly increased with the number of treats we offered. 😉

The people who work at Glen Afric, especially their animal behavior officer Vicky, know their animals very well. If they saw that the animals we were planning to shoot with were irritated, nervous, or just in a bad mood, they immediately changed plans and left them alone. The safety of the models and the well-being of their animals was their top priority. We really appreciated their way of thinking and working, as we wanted all the models (human and animal)to be relaxed, feel safe, and trust each other. Because of the fantastic work of the whole team, we managed to capture some really amazing moments!

March is autumn in South Africa, but we were quite lucky with the weather. The downside was that due to the beautiful blue sky, we often had to shoot against the light, as dawn and dusk are very short. The sun was still strong and with a “normal lens”, the sky would have been completely overexposed in all the pictures, which would have been a pity. Also, I generally like shooting with an open aperture because the blurry background doesn’t distract from the model and the animal. Taking all this into account, I usually end up with RAWs where the background is a bit overexposed and the model underexposed. But not with the Burnside 35. Thanks to that additional slider for the vignette, I could shoot with an open aperture to get the most out of the swirly bokeh effect while reducing the overexposure of the sky. and indirectly reducing the underexposure of the model. It worked great and made the post-processing much easier. I’m so in love with the results. An amazing lens and an amazing experience!

Check out more from Theresa Sujata Senti on her website, Facebook, and Instagram.

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