Is your exciting safari experience with Live the Journey fast approaching? You’re going to want to make sure you give up plenty of luggage space to enough memory cards, lenses and cameras to ensure you capture every moment. The memories you make on safari will last a lifetime, after all! Here’s our top tips on how to get the perfect safari shots while you’re here!
Let’s look at the challenges first: you’re in a vehicle [and please, stay in your vehicle for your own safety]. Getting closer [or further away] isn’t as simple as taking a few steps, and things happen very fast in the bush. So everything you take or do should aim to offset these challenges and help you craft a better photographic experience.
1. Go long
A long lens is definitely your friend on safari. In fact, we recommend a telephoto lens for the best possible predator shots. This should allow you to capture expression and personality as well as the moment. If you don’t have a large lens collection, consider renting one, as it really will be your most versatile choice. Of course, if you also want to capture small mammals and insects, or anything up close and personal, throw a wide lens in the bag too.
2. Manual focus [if possible]
The one thing you can’t correct at home is a blurry shot, and with lenses especially it’s easy to ruin a great pic with bad autofocus. Obviously, if something quick happens you’re simply going to have to react and hope your autofocus is up to the task, but if you have a little time to tinker opt for using manual focus and some flexible focal points to produce the best image possible. If things happen at a run, burst photography could be your best friend and increase your chances of a better shot.
3. Get a little technical
Actually, it’s not too technical- we simply advise fast shutter speeds so you are prepared for anything. In technical terms, this may ratchet up your ISO or noise, but most modern cameras handle both well [and it’s typically pretty bright on safari], they can be reduced in post-production if you really need to, and it’s far better to get the picture then to miss it due to a sluggish shutter. While we’re on the topic, get to know your camera before you come, so you’re confident and happy to play with it, and pack a shock-absorbing stability aid like a beanbag to be sure a moving vehicle doesn’t wreck your shot.
4. Let lighting work for you
The bush gets bright quickly, and dusk/dawn are very short. However, it’s one of the very best times to be on the trail of animals in any safari park, as you’ll catch night hunters coming home and the diurnal animals waking up. This makes them slower and easier to capture. You also have a rare chance to catch moody, atmospheric lighting instead of crisp and bright but unrelenting African sunshine and stark shadows. Be sure to capture a little of the bush in your shots too- some of the best pictures worldwide are of the aching, dramatic African landscape.
5. Windows to the soul
The best wildlife shots are ones where their eyes come to the fore. It acts to draw you in and makes for a dramatic picture every time. Be sure to bear the ‘rule of thirds’ in mind when composing your pic, too. It’s always worth spending a little time before your arrival ‘getting to know’ the destination and what to expect, so you can frame your pics [and your expectations] accordingly.
With these solid safari photography tips under your belt, you’re sure to come home from your Live the Journey experience with the ultimate prize- gorgeous shots that will help you relive the moment forever.