African photo tours

Virtual Photo Safari Part III: Be Aware of the Background



Each day this week I will take you on a daily virtual photo safari to Kenya's Masai Mara. Each post will feature a safari tip and a photo tip - or two. 

I took the images for the posts on a recent trek to the Masia Mara organized by &Beyond, a leader in African travel tours. Bateleur was our base camp for the eight-day photo safari. 

Scroll down to read previous posts.

Safari Tip: Meet with your guide in advance and plan your entire safari and daily trips. Tell him or her your goals. My goal was to get two good photographs per day, which I felt was a realistic goal.

Photo Tip: Know that in most cases, you will be shooting from a vehicle, which may jiggle when others in the vehicle may giggle. Be prepared to steady your camera with a bean bag or camera support - or hold your camera very steady. And because you and the animals will be moving, I think you'll get your best composition with a zoom lens.


The background can make or break a photograph. Above: the background, and framing the subject against the interesting background, makes the shot. And get this: I took these shots during an intense downpour. And I mean intense! Both the giraffes and our open-sided Land Rover were getting soaked!


Another photo tip: don't shy away from the rainy season. You might get dramatic sky backgrounds.

Both shots were taken with my Canon 7D and 100-400mm IS lens.

If you'd like to join one of my travel tours/workshops, see the Workshops page of my site. Shoot me an email if you are interested in a 4-person workshop to Tanzania in 2012.

To see more of my travel pictures, check out my Travel and Nature Photography ebook.



If I were still into doing traditional books, I'd do a book on the wildlife in the Mara. Once I settle down from the trip, I'll add these pictures to my apps. Or, I might do an app: 24/7 Photo Safari. If you are interested in a safari-type app, shoot me an email.


If you are going on safari, or want to look as though you are going on safari (ha ha), check out the clothes offered by ExOfficio. Here is my favorite shirt.

Explore the light,
Rick

P.S. A great read about Kenya: West with The Night.

Virtual Photo Safari: Part I - Behavior Shots


Each day this week I will take you on a daily virtual photo safari to Kenya's Masai Mara. Each post will feature a travel tip and a photo tip - or two. 

I took the images for the posts on a recent trek to the Masai Mara. The entire trip was organized by &Beyond, a leader in African adventure tours.

I used my Canon EOS 7D and Canon 100-400mm IS lens for most of the images in the posts. The wider-angle shots were taken with my Canon 24-105mm IS lens. All hand-held.

Safari Tip: You'll need three ingredients to get good photos: patience, luck and time. A great guide is also important. I was very lucky to get most of my keepers (80 percent) on the first four days of the photo safari. I also had a great guide!

Photo Tips: Go for behavior shots in addition to taking portraits. 

Use plug-ins to change the mood and feel of a picture. Above: I used the Full Dynamic Range Soft filter in Nik's Silver Efex Pro. Below I used the Yellow 1 filter in the same plug-in. I also added the image borders in Silver Efex Pro.

Remember, when you remove the color from an image, you remove some of the reality. When you remove some of the reality, your picture can become more artistic and creative.


Check out my plug-ins page to save a few bucks on Nik Software and other plug-ins.

Below is my original photograph.


If you'd like to join one of my travel tours/workshops, see the Workshops page of my site. Also, if you are interested in an exclusive, 4-person workshop to Tanzania in 2012, shoot me an email.

I will be giving a presentation on photo safaris at the Explorers Club (where I am a member) in NYC in the spring of 2012. Stay tuned for the date.

To see more pictures from Kenya, check out my friend Andy Williams' SmugMug site. Nice work, Andy!

Explore the light,
Rick

P.S. If you plan on going to Kenya, have been to Kenya, have dreams of going to Kenya, or simply want to read about a wonderful adventure, check out West with the Night.

One Week Virtual Photo Safari: Preview

 

Starting Monday here on my blog, I will take you on a daily virtual photo safari to Kenya's Masai Mara. Each post will feature a travel tip and a photo tip - or two. I can't wait to share the photographs with you! It was truly an amazing adventure, from start to finish.

I took the images for the posts on a recent trek to the Masai Mara. The entire trip was organized by &Beyond, a leader in African adventure tours. Bateleur, which is adjacent to Kichwa Tembo, was our base camp for the eight-day trip. The camps have, what many feel, are some of the best guides and service in the business. Our guide was Moses Kibet, who gets part of the credit for my photographs, because he got me into position to get the shots I wanted. Thank you Moses!

I used my Canon EOS 7D and Canon 100-400mm IS lens for most of the images in the posts. The wider-angle shots were taken with my Canon 24-105mm IS lens. All hand-held.

Speaking of Kenya, my friend Scott Kelby has a favorite charity, Springs of Hope Kenya. It's a worthwhile organization. You can make a donation - and a difference - by clicking here.
 
As a preview of photo safari week. . .

Photograph by Susan Sammon
Safari Tip: Go on a walking safari. It's a totally different experience from riding in and shooting from a safari vehicle. Here I am hanging out with Francis Nkulet (left), who was on the constant lookout for hungry animals, and Jackson Tunai, our Masai guide for the two-hour trek.

Photo Tips: Focus on the eyes. If the eyes are not in focus, you've missed the shot.

To sharpen this shot, I used Nik Software's Sharpener Pro. Check out my plug-ins page to save a few bucks on Nik Software and other plug-ins.

If you'd like to join one of my travel tours/workshops, see the Workshops page of my site.

Finally, thanks to entire &Beyond staff for making our trip a memorable experience!

Explore the light,
Rick

P.S. If you plan on going to Kenya, have been to Kenya, have dreams of going to Kenya, or simply want to read a wonderful adventure book, check out West with the Night.