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Shem Compion

Shem Compion is an adventurer, nature photographer, creative, author and photography hide builder, gleaned from years observing birds from self-constructed hides in his back garden. His passion is to share his love of the natural world with other people. He is one of the few remaining professionals making a full time living from his passion for wildlife and nature photography. He celebrates creative photography by exploring every aspect of the natural world, making him one of the most diverse and celebrated natural history photographers, whose work has been awarded and published all over the world.  Born in Africa, Shem travels the world to share his images, his knowledge and his deep natural history experience with other people.

After discovering his love of photography, Shem decided the best way to become a wildlife photographer was to live like one.  He sold his belongings, quit his work and packed everything he owned into a landrover for a 7 month self drive safari into Africa, where he lived his dream as a full time wildlife photographer.  From those carefree days, he never looked back.

In 2005 Shem co-founded C4 Photo Safaris and has been leading and hosting photo safaris ever since. He is a first class naturalist and credits this as being the essential ingredient for successful wildlife photography. His talents have been tapped by the likes of the BBC Natural history Unit in Planet Earth series in the Great Plains series featuring lions hunting elephants in the Savuti, Botswana. He has worked with many celebrated wildlife and travel photographers including Art Wolfe, Frans Lanting, Jonathan and Angela Scott and Tom Mangelsen.

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Ever the innovator, Shem implemented and built the first dedicated underground photography hide in Africa at Mashatu Game Reserve in Botswana. Guests travel from every corner of the globe to capture subjects from the unique perspectives offered by the hides, not to mention the humbling experience of being within 1 meter of a very large elephant.


Shem still makes one trip a year to a wild and remote destination, the most recent including a safari by boat along the Omo River in Ethiopia.  Here he clears his mind and opens up his camera - often producing some of his best and most creative photographic work. 

Shem is an outstanding educator - in person and in print. He published his first book "A Landscape of Insects" in 2009 and since then has published a total of 7 titles, including the three-part 2012 series Insider's Guide: Top Wildlife Photography Spots, exploring some of the most remote destinations in southern Africa, including technical details as well as insights to understanding animal behaviour - a photographer's greatest asset. He is a popular speaker at photo events, and in demand as a keynote speaker by international photographic conventions, having spoken on 4 continents. Ever the explorer of Africa, Shem is a fellow of the Royal Geographic Society, London.

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"As the co-founder of C4 Photo SafarisPhoto Mashatu, and Nurture Africa Safaris, Shem’s signature on each one is very distinct and personal. He has a passion for photography, safari and families, and shares this with the guests he brings to Africa and in the safari products that run under his auspice."

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