With Africa’s beautiful landscapes and exotic wildlife, a safari is every photographer’s dream come true. Whether you’re a professional with years of experience or an amateur trying your hand at expressing art through the lens, Africa is a paradise where you can find a variety of interesting subjects. Below are a few tips to help you make the most out of your artistic endeavor.
. Look for a safari that can take you through the best spots rich in game. There are agencies that offer safaris tailored especially for wild life photographers.
. A trip to the zoo before leaving may help you prep up for taking pictures in the wild.
. If you plan to buy a new camera for your trip, make sure you can already operate it with ease before leaving.
. Be ready for emergencies. Bring plenty of spare batteries. And if you have a spare camera, take it with you as well.
. If possible, don’t bother bringing tripods. They will only add bulk to your luggage and are quite cumbersome to carry around.
. If there is a specific animal group that you wish to focus on, study up on their behavior and find out where they can usually be found. This will help you track them easily and predict their actions, allowing you to take some really great photos.
. Don’t get too carried away with your artistic ideas. Your safety should be first on your list. Always keep yourself at a safe distance when taking pictures, especially when shooting wild animals. Getting too close will probably let them think you are a threat – which will most likely cause them to act in a very hostile manner.
. At some point during your trip, you might have to meet people from local tribes whose culture is very different. They might feel uncomfortable about you taking pictures. Always be polite and friendly. Ask first if you plan to take someone’s picture.
. Be alert with your camera. Animals move quickly in the wild and they tend to turn their backs when cameras are pointed at them. You have to keep your eyes peeled if you want to get amazing shots.
. A simple tip for a great close – up is to focus on the animal’s eyes to get the most balanced shot of the face.
. You have to consider the type of film you’ll be using. Low contrast film is best when the weather is sunny and high contrast film when the sky is a bit overcast.
. Experiment with different approaches and angles. This will help you achieve compositions that look alive.
. Lens with a 300mm in focal length are the best to work with in this kind of setting. Other animals such as birds however, are best photographed with 500mm lens. A shutter speed of 1/125 is recommended when shooting a subject in motion. 1/500 or more is ideal when shooting birds in flight. When shooting people or scenery, a standard 50mm lens will do.
. It’s pretty expensive and difficult to buy film once in Africa, so stock up on as much film as you can. Most photographers shooting in daylight while out in open territory prefer Kodachrome 64 or Fujichrome 100. Don’t forget to bring a flash unit, which could be very useful for low light conditions. Keep your equipment in a bag that can protect it from heat, moisture and most especially airport x – rays.
. Wide-angle shots with sky and clouds and pictures taken over water will have great results when used with polarizing filters.
. Have your equipment insured. A lot of unexpected things can happen on a safari trip. It’s better to be prepared than to blame yourself later should you encounter any major problems.
As fun and absorbing as it is to take pictures of wildlife, remember that safari activities are potentially risky, especially if you’ll be working closely with wild animals. It’s never a good idea to compromise your safety just to get that perfect shot. The right attitude to wildlife photography is a sense of adventurousness balanced with common sense.