Africa Stories and Tips

Photography tips

1. Leave the tripod at home. I brought one and used it once. You will not be allowed outside your vehicle and a tripod does not work well in a car. A bean bag is ABSOLUTELY essential! Some companies carry at least one, but you should bring your own just in case.

2. Forget film cameras. So many X-rays will destroy your film. This is the time to go digital.

3. I brought an Epson P-2000 to download my compactflash chips each night, a good idea in case you have a malfunction.

4. Purchase MORE DV tapes at home then you think they need. In the US they go for about $3/each. The lodges have some in the gift shops, but it will cost you $35/each!

5. Outside of Nairobi you will not find memory cards, so buy all you need before arrival.

6. Charge your batteries whenever you have the opportunity, as the lodge electricity (220v) is unpredictable.

7. The primary lens on safari is a telephoto. Many of my shots were with a 300mm, which became 480mm when used with my digital SLR. 300mm is also an exceptional lens for villager portraits. I seldom used my 1.5 converted. Wide angle is good for the sweeping landscape, especially at sunset. A 50mm is good for village shots.

8. Bring something to cover the camera gear, as it is incredibly dusty and the equipment can be harmed by so much very fine dust. That also means carefully cleaning your camera equipment each evening.

9. As with everywhere else, your best shots are dawn and dusk. Some of my best shots were at dawn using a 1200 ISO setting (amazingly, there was not much noise in the photos).

10. Don’t forget your flash. Daytime shots up close with a flash produce a nice sparkle in the eyes of the animals. I also used a Project-a-flash (essentially a Fresnel lens on a box that fits on the flash), which allowed me to use my flash to capture leopards in tall trees and also distant birds.

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