Are you planning for asafari?Do you know what are the problems you will face while on your safari?Then if not hear we have A Travellers Quide To Safari Photography for you,
Preparing For A Departure.
When preparing you need to put to consideration very many aspects but we will only touch on the photography Tips as we dont want you to be dissappointed after spending alot of money on asafari and you are unable to get the right results.It is always unwise to commence a holiday with new untested equipment.With digital cameras,take some pictures on each of your memory cards and check that they download correctly onto your computer.For adigital multimedia storage device,check that your memory cards copy successfully and that you can then transfer the files onto your home computer.It is adviceable at least to put one roll of film through a new camera and carry out a full test on any newly purchased lenses.Before deaparture ,make yourself familiar with all the commonly used camera and lens fuctions.Ensure you understand all the functions of any digital storage systems you will be using.Researching might seem to be invaluable and having established the flora and fauna you are likely to encounter,will aid you in selecting the most appropriate equipment to satisfy your own photographic needs.Also ensure and it is for your own good and advantage to insure all your equipments incase of damage,theft in all the countries you will be visiting.It is paramount you keep a checklist of the cameras and lens serial numbers as this will be useful in an event you need to lodge aclaim.Should equipment be stolen,it is important you record a statement with the local police of that country andd get a document with rubber stamp as the insurance will only process compensation when they have this document.
WHAT TO BRING WITH YOU.
These days there is avariety of cameras to choose from.For really successfully safari photographers a top brand Single Lens Reflex (SLR) camera,either digital or film,with an interchargeable lens facility is ideal.Almost all of the top models have an auto facility which is a great asset to the wilddlife photographer.This systems can save a valuable seconds and consequently secure pictures that may have been missed with manual focus equipment.Due to the rigours and stresses that any safari places on equipment ,it is strongly adviceable you take at least two camera bodies -there will be little or no chance of getting any camera repairs undertaken outside major cities.Obviously it is beneficial to have two identical camera bodies,but if this is not feasible you should ensure that your “back up” camera accepts the same range of lenses and accessories as your principle camera body.
Compact cameras have either a fixed or zoom lens,are quick andd easy to operate and prove ideal for those visitors wanting just a photographic record.When visiting coastal area it is possible to obtain underwater compacts.This is a relatively cheap way of getting started in underwater photography.Since most of these underwater compacts are unpressurised they are only operational to depths of just over ametre.
Most of the compact digital cameras are similar to their film equipment in size and operation but have the added advantage of instant replay,either through a small built in monitor or computer link.Images are recorded on a memory card,so pictures can be quickly sorted,saved or deleted,to make space for more photography.An increasing number of digital videos records have a stills option, and these have the added advantage of being able to record hours of action. As most digital cameras are powered by rechargeable batteries dont forget to pack chargers,leads,and plug adaptors and also a spare rechargeable battery and memory card are paramount.
If your choice is the SLR option you will need to think about what interchangeable lenses to take with you.The wide variety of photographic opportunities that are presented to the nature photographer whilst on safari demand an equally wide range of lenses.These can be found with the manufacturer of your camera system in an excellent range of lenses to choose from.In supplement,independent lens manufacturer will be able to offer competitive prices and maybe different focal lengths.Amedium zoom lens of between 70 and 300mm and a short zoom lens of around 28 to 135mm will cover most photographic opportunities.For the more wary mammals and the vast majority of the bird species ,longer telephoto lenses are required.These lenses are usually 400mm,500mm or 600mm and although often heavy and rather large,are essential for the more serious nature photographer and some camera manufactureres even offer image stabilizer lenses.These use a vibration gyro which detects shaking and then counter balances the movement with amagnate and coil driven optical compensation system.These particular lenses are useful for handholding situations such as from boat or vechicle.This technology really comes into its own when using longer telephoto lenses where camera shake is greatly magnified,it makes using 500mm and 600mm lenses with teleconvertors a far more successful option.Many of the new lenses will have auto-focus and this will offer three options.Firstly,by switching ift off,you can manually focus,secondly,using single shot auto-focus the camera will lock on to whatever you are pointingat,but will need activating again should the subject move.Thirdly,servo-focus can be selected where the auto-focus will be constantly updating the focus point:this is ideal for moving subjects.
The inclussion of a macro lens in your equipment bag is essential if your photographic interests are in recording close-ups of insects and flowers.The most useful macro lenses have a focal length of between 90mm and 180mm : these allow a reasonable working distance from most subjects.With experience macro lenses of around 50 mm have too short a working distance, which can disturb some subjects.This short working distance can also often cause lighting difficulties ,particularly when using flash.The macro facility offered by some zoom lenses can be useful, but it is rather restricted and in no way matches the quality of a true macro lens.
Cheaper alternatives to amacro lens include the use of extension tubes,placed between any lens andd the camera body,thereby reducing the minimum focusing distance,the use of reversing rings and the use of close-up lenses attached to the front of an existing lens.
Tele-converters increase th lens magnification by a factor of either 1.4x or 2x and some zoom lenses are designed specifically to work with them.Extension tubes and close-up filter attachments are another way of increasing magnification for macro photography.A UV or skylight filter on each lens offers extra protection from accidental damage to the front lens element. a polarising filter is well worth taking, as it will help contral reflection and increase colour saturation. Many enhancements that filters achieve on film can be added later to digital images through computer programs such as photoshop.
Many of the digital cameras use some form of removable storage memory cardd,such as XD, Smart Media (SD) or compact Flash (CF) .Storage capacity is measured in megabits (mb) or Gigabits (GB) .The higher the “mb” or “GB” the more images can be stored between downloads. Its a good idea to use a digital storage device to dowenload your memory cards each night.These are palm size hard drives that vary in capacity from 20 to 100+ gigabits. Some have small colour screens for viewing.Travelling with a laptop is another alternative where images can be viewed,stored,or even burnt onto CD or DVD .Small battery power CD and DVD writers are also available and offer probably the most secure form of backup.
RAW or JPEGy
Most digital cameras offer the option to shoot in RAW or Jpeg and this is the format that records your image, the digital equivalent of film.Jpeg is a file format that stores digitsl photographs in a very space efficient way.It uses compression to reduce file sizes at the expense of fine image details to do this.The level of the compression ( and thus the loss of quality) can be varied. Raw files contain all the data collected by the sensor,not a sub-sample as is the case with Jpeg files.Raw gives the most flexibility for post correction of the exposure and colour and is the preffered shooting format of most professional photographers.
Noise and ISO
As in film photography,the noise level increases with higher ISO settings and shows itself in the form of pixels of the wrong colour appearing at random in dark areas. At ISO settings up to 400 very little noise is noticeable, so keep the ISO below 400 and save the higher ISO settings for when there is no alternative.
There is avariety raging from negatives for prints or transparencies for projection,there is avast array of films to choose from.The speed or sensitivity to light is gauged by an ISO rating.The higher the ISO ,the more sensitive to light the film will be.However,the results will look more grainy.As light levels in East Africa are general very good,it should be possible to take advantage of the finer quality of the lower ISO films.The quality of film you require may be difficult to calculate.Try and work out a daily requirement and then double it! X-ray security checks at airports are standard procedure.However , those used for hand luggage checks should not cause any problems for film or digital. Hold luggage is aften checked with more powerful X-rays,so always take your film as hand luggage.
For the protection of your camera equipment from damage,dust and rain is essential hence the need to buy a good quality camera bag.There are many well-designed camera bags on the market nowdays,with several more recent designs taking the form of rucksacks- these are excellent particularly if you expect to have to carry your equipment any great distance.In selecting a suitable bag,resist the temptation to purchase one that is too big- you will only feel obliged to fill it! with ever-tightening controls and restrictions being imposed by airlines on the size and weight of the cabin baggage, the smaller the better.Waist – mounted camera and the lens pouches can help to spread the load.Stuff bags,sold in most camping shops in varying sizes, offer an additional form of protection from dust and rain.
The commonest cause of picture failure is undoubtedly lack of defination as aresult of camera shake.Ovecoming thi problem will increase your success rate enormously with the help of camera instructions manuals which give details of “How to hold your camera” and it is well worth developing a good technique in this area,with elbows locked tightly into the body.
Whenever possible we would recommend the use of a tripod. There are many lights, yet sturdy models on the market which will fit confortably into the average suitcase or roll bag.Monopods are also a good means of steadying the camera, but they do require a little practise. On most photographic safaris to East Africa the vast majority of filming will be undertaken from a vechicle during game drives, in most cases this precludes the use of a tripod or monopod.The best alternative for photographing from a vechicle is to employ the use of a beabag, a very simple, but extremely effective method of camera support.Although beanbags are commercially available they are not difficult to make and all you need is a section of cloth or canvas sewn to form a zippered bag of around 300mm by 150mm.This can be packed in your luggage ,on arrival at your chosen destination,be filled with rice,beans or peas and then place it on the roof of the safari vechicle it quickly moulds around your camera and lens, forming a very efficient support.
Rifle stock and pistol grip supports allow freedom of movement when attempting to photograph moving subjects such as animals running or birds in flight.if you have no option other than to hand hold your camera while shooting ,you should always ensure that your shutter speed is as great or greater than the focal lenghth of the lens in use, so for 500mm-1/60th:100mm-1?125th:200mm-1/250th:500mm-1/500th and so forth.
Once you have all as mentioned below you are set for your safari and ready for any evcentualities and are assured though we do have technical problems but you already know and have the backup.
Scenic Safari,sightseeing & aerial photography will only be enjoyable andd memorable when you get quality pictures orelse it is all awaste and hence the importance of giving you tips on what to do when perparing for a safari to avoid last minute dissappointments.