Wildlife Photography School: Wildlife Photography

Dan Eitreim

June 16, 2015

To a wildlife photographer, Africa is unique. Blue skies, game parks, wilderness, deserts rich in wildlife. Who has not heard about the African sunset?

What equipment to Take

Before we consider the equipment to take on safari, a note of caution directed to the independent photographer, the one in control of his travel arrangements and movements.

In some countries the autonomous photographer can rent a car or campervan and drive to game parks or wilderness areas staying the night in designated camps. However, in other countries this is impractical and unsafe due to the poor infrastructure, mainly dirt tracks with huge pot holes and deep sand. Malaria and other water born diseases are also active in some of these places.

You’ll need to make a careful and comprehensive research of the locations you intend to visit. Learn about people, customs, potential dangers, where not to go, documentation and vaccination required. Africa is not a place for short cuts unless you are absolutely certain of what you are doing. Ignorance is not an excuse.

There are dangers posed by wildlife if the photographer acts irresponsibly. As an example of this, take note of what happened in 2010 in one of the camps in northern Kgalagadi on the borders of Botswana and South Africa.

This camp is in a semi-desert area. It’s fenced off but as it often happens in Africa maintenance wasn’t carried out. Some of the wooden poles holding the wire mesh needed urgent repair.

During the night lions growling awakened the camp. People rushed to the fence perimeter to see what was happening. There were about one dozen lions by the fence looking in. Some campers quickly returned to their tents to fetch their cameras.

The only ranger on site was furiously running about ordering people to move away from the fence and stop taking pictures with flash.

He said later, “there was a great danger that the light from the flash would have cause the lions to attack – if the large male lion attacked the fence, I think the barrier would have bent inwards allowing the lions to jump into the camp.”

What a disaster that would have been. True, the fence was flimsy but it was good enough if people acted responsibly.

Unforeseen events can happen wherever we are, but people’s ignorance, carelessness and sometimes stupidity, are at the root of most problems in wilderness areas.

Before departure read everything you can about the location you’re visiting. If available, listen and follow the advice of government agencies where you live informing you about the country you intend to visit.

When travelling through built up areas be discreet keeping your photo equipment covered from view at all times.

All-inclusive preparation and a wise head will go a long way to give the self-sufficient photographer one of the best photographic experiences in life, returning home with wonderful images and memories.

Basic List of Photo Equipment.

Travelling light has many benefits, but for a photographer it can have some disadvantages. For example, the list below doesn’t take into account camera break down. Without some duplication there is a risk of not having a working camera.

A good alternative is to take a small back-up compact camera with you.

Another item on the list is an empty been bag. You can buy the beans on arrival. Perhaps most of your photography will take place from inside the vehicle. A beanbag to rest on the window of the motor vehicle will enable you to operate a long telephoto lens in any light conditions.

The list doesn’t mention any device to transfer images from the memory card for safe storage. A memory card can easily get lost or corrupted while in transit.

Camera with two lenses – Long and short focus.
Grey graduated filters – to control sky light at sunset.
Polariser filter.
Empty beanbag.
Lightweight tripod.
Camera and lens cleaning material.
Fast memory cards – take more than you need.
Photo bag to take kit.

The list above is basic and lightweight. A lot depends on what kind of photography you intend to do – and that is the key point to consider when selecting the equipment you’ll need. Only you can make the right choice.

How can you protect your camera and change the lens to avoid getting dust into the camera sensor?

I regularly change lenses inside the vehicle, when a lot of dust is around I change the lens inside a transparent plastic bag. When not in use I keep the camera inside that plastic bag. Every evening I clean the camera and lenses to have them in top condition.

To see some images of Africa follow this link: http://www.mountain-light.co.uk/africapic

Carlos Pereira received a qualification from the British Institute of Professional Photographers. He developed a successful business in the UK as a wedding and Portrait photographer. He received further training in the USA from Monte Zucker, a master photographer.His Wildlife and Portrait photographs have been published in the UK and European photographic magazines.He concentrates his photography as a travelling photographer and a teacher, offering his expertise as a nature photographer through digital books.His vision has been moulded by the classic portraiture that was his business for a number of years.Website: www.mountain-light.co.uk

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

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