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Adventure Safaris | Africa royal Safaris | Classic Wildlife Safaris |Group Safaris |Tanzania Day Trip 2016
 
Photo graph tips

It's important to know the behavior of the animals you're trying to photograph. By understanding their behavior you will have a better chance of finding them and you will be able to predict their actions.

By reading up on animal behavior you will learn the different kinds of terrain the various animals prefer. You can combine that knowledge with that of your qualified guide to plan the best African game drives and bush walks, where you will have the opportunity to take some amazing photo's.

Security is very important, so make sure that you don't put yourself in danger. Also never interfere with the natural behavior of the animals in order to take a better photo!

Some part of all trips will involve meeting people from local tribes and with cultural backgrounds different from ours. Please be courteous when taking pictures.

It is always a good idea to build rapport with your subjects first and then ask them if it is OK to take their picture. Tribal folk can be very suspicious of cameras and vocal and demonstrative with people who shoot first and make friends after.

The following tips should help you to take memorable photos while on your African safari:

When taking close-up photographs of game you should focus on the animal's eyes. This guarantees that most of the animal's face will be in focus. Be prepared and ready with your camera at all times, as animals may suddenly appear and disappear just as quickly.

Range your subject. For example, when taking photos of an Elephant, take a portrait shot; include one more with the general habitat in context to the subject, then another with close-up detail, such as horns and face.

Utilize low contrast film when the sun is intense and high contrast film when it is overcast or dull. Take different pictures in vertical and horizontal approaches. Take photographs from different levels when you are on a game viewing activity. Pictures taken at the animal's eye-level will appear more sensational.

Do not centre all your shots; leave room in your subject for the animal to move into. This will prevent lifeless composition and give an imitate portrayal of your subject. A good starting point for wildlife photography is a lens with a 300mm in focal length. Bird photography will require a 500mm lens. When the subject is in motion, use a shutter speed of at least 1/125, except if you are using a panning method. Birds in flight necessitate speeds of 1/500 or more.

Accessories:

Bring plenty of spare batteries for motor drives, flash units, etc. and for your camera (they are very scarce in Africa). It is very handy if all your equipment uses the same size batteries, so that if you run short, you can borrow batteries from your other equipment.

If you plan to buy new camera equipment before this trip, make sure you are completely familiar with its operation. Try to envisage the type of lighting and subject conditions you will experience on the trip, and use a few rolls of film to experiment and perfect your technique. A trip to the zoo may help with identification and technique.

Time spent in preparation will pay dividends in the field. For those of you who are real camera buffs, it is a good idea to bring along a small automatic (point and shoot) camera for convenience, in addition to your bulky SLR cameras. This will be very useful as a backup camera and in situations where setting up an SLR is too time consuming and absorbing. Polaroid Cameras are usually an instant hit and serve as a great ice breaker with local folk. If the locals receive a picture, usually they are very willing to pose for a shot with your SLR camera.

Protection and Insurance:

The transportation used in these trips is quite rugged, vibration from engines and corrugated roads can play havoc with your camera gear so pack it well. Also, it is not uncommon to drop cameras in or out of the vehicle. On some trips you will be on board boats and there is the chance that you and your gear may take a swim. Insure your equipment. A home owner’s policy will usually cover camera gear.

Cultural interaction:

Some part of all trips will involve meeting people from local tribes and with cultural backgrounds different from ours. Please be courteous when taking pictures. It is always a good idea to build rapport with your subjects first and then ask them if it is okay to take their picture. Tribal folk can be very vocal and demonstrative with people who shoot first and make friends after.

Picture-Taking Advice:

Do not let your camera blind you. There is a whole world out there and pictures only capture the images. The sights and sounds of these undeveloped areas are all interwoven, and if you spend an inordinate amount of time peeking through the viewfinder you will miss most of the trip. Be ready with your camera at all times. Animals do not keep appointments; kills happen in a flurry of fur and snarls; and leopards leap from trees in a split second.

If your camera isn't loaded or ready you will miss the award winning shot. The vehicles we use are very stable; however with 5 to 7 people in them each person's movement can affect someone's ability to take the perfect picture. It is a good idea to ask everyone to be still for just a moment, while you shoot, and thank them afterwards. Please remember not to monopolize the best spot for photos and to be considerate of your fellow trip members' needs and wishes. Your trip leader will help organize seat rotations within the vehicle.

Video Equipment:

A videotape of your wildlife safari is a wonderful memento. With today's technology the cameras are as small as an SLR and are very versatile. It is possible to recharge your camera batteries from some vehicles. You will need to bring approximately 3-4 hours of film, 3 batteries (one in the camera, one in the charger, and one spare already charged), a 12 volt charger with a cigarette lighter attachment, crocodile clips and some gaffer tape.

Try recharging your batteries on your own car first to familiarize yourself with the recharging set up. Your driver/trip leader will give you specific instructions about when you can recharge your batteries. To make the most of your videos - shoot some practice film before your trip. 

Frequent mistakes are zooming in and out too quickly, holding the cameras unsteadily, and swinging the camera around in a fast traverse, all of which can lead to sea-sickness amongst your living-room audience.

You will find that the slightest noises will be picked up on your video microphone: motor drives, comments, whispers etc. You might want to bring a clip on microphone so that your own voice or that of your on the spot commentator can be heard above the background roars, clicks, zips and conversation.

Binoculars:

Binoculars are strongly recommended for every trip member. They are invaluable for observing larger animals as well as birds. A 7 or 8 power binocular works well for most people, but if you are particularly interested in birds a 10 power is best. We recommend that each trip participant bring his or her own pair, as it is most frustrating to strain for the sight of a brightly colored bird high in the tree, while waiting to borrow a pair of 'Bino's, only.

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