Whether you are behind the wheel or behind the lens, we have the material to assist you in making the most of the incredible everyday photographic situations we find ourselves in. We cannot claim to be the world’s best photographers or you might have heard of us! But after years in the field with our cameras and with our guests with their CAMERAS we know what it takes to deliver a great safari. If you are an avid photographer, please share your tips with us too!
Although the age of Image-stabilized lens has been a huge boon, camera shake remains possibly the biggest enemy of the wildlife photographer (or any other for that matter). Unless shooting at really high speeds with good light, movement of your vehicle/boat or canoe caused by guests, guides or trackers moving about will destroy pin-point sharpness just about every time. We tend to forget how sensitive the cameras and the photographers are, so it is critical that you manage the situations well to minimise frustration on the part of the photographer and also the other guests who can easily get tired of waiting for a photographer to get the shot – you need to manage the tightrope!
Here are a few simple and not-so expensive ideas to minimise the shake and ensure that the guest that paid thousands for not only his camera gear, but his safari, will get some great images.
BEAN BAGS: the original stabiliser is still the most welcome sight for a photographer climbing on safari with you – it shows you recognise the need for stability and have the guest/s’ interests at heart. You or the lodge can purchase the commercial varieties or make your own with a simple (but neat and clean) cloth bag into which you insert rice or beans. Make sure that whatever you place inside is protected from getting wet or you will start to grow things! Keep it clean!
The POD: a recent design that is also a small cushion which guests could lay on the ground or especially on an uneven surface like the rocks where you stop for sundowners or morning coffee. (Shop online for around R150). Or get fancy and google Joby GorillaPod for a brilliant piece of equipment that can be attached and stabilised on just about anything that isn’t moving itself!
MONOPOD: this item is fairly straightforward in that it allows for use in a vehicle where a normal tripod simply wouldn’t work. It will be more expensive, but perhaps an item the lodge could purchase for use by the whole guiding team.
SIDE MIRROR! This one’s for you – Land cruisers that still have their sturdy side-mirrors are ideal. Flip the mirrordown, place your jersey or beanbag there and fire away!
Note** All Essential Guiding training courses will have the use of a digital camera and binoculars. Our aim is to help those of you who have never lifted a camera before and help you understand photography and why people travel such great distances and pay the amounts they do just to capture a moment in time.
Future Articles will feature a wide range of useful equipment, techniques, profiles, competitions you can enter and photo assessments, so be sure to sign up and follow.
If you capture unusual behaviour or strange creatures that need some explanation, please e-mail them to us. We also encourage you to submit those ‘cracking shots’ that you are proud of, to Ranger Diaries where they will be displayed for all the world to see.