Africa photo safari

Day 4: Six Days of Africa Photo Safari Tips

Left, original. Right, Photoshop's Oil Paint filter.

Left, original. Right, Photoshop's Oil Paint filter.

Today is the fourth day of a series here on my blog: Six Days of Africa Photo Safari Tips.

I'm running this series in preparation for my 2014 Kenya/Tanzania Photo Safari, which is listed on my 2014 Workshops page.

Today's tip: Have some plug-in and filter fun during your downtime.

Left, original. Right, Paper Toner in Nik Software's Color Efex Pro.

Left, original. Right, Paper Toner in Nik Software's Color Efex Pro.

Most of the action on a photo safari takes places in the early morning and late afternoon. During the day, especially during the summer months, it's sometimes so hot that the animals rest in the shade. What's more, when it's sunny, the light is not great for photography between 10 AM and 3 PM.

Little action and bad light means spending time, several hours a day, in your tent working on and playing with your pictures. On one Botswana safari, for example, we left our camp at 5 AM, returned at 9 AM, and did not go back out on safari until 4 PM.

Left, original. Right, Duplex filter in Nik Color Efex Pro.

Left, original. Right, Duplex filter in Nik Color Efex Pro.

Downtime is a good time to play with plug-ins. Plug-ins can help awaken the artist within; they can remove the reality from a picture for a more artistic image.

All of the plug-ins I use are on my Save on Plug-ins page. You can save a bundle when you order a bundle.

Both photographs sharpened in Nik Sharpener Pro.

Both photographs sharpened in Nik Sharpener Pro.

Removing the reality is fun, but of course, so is getting the most realistic image. That often includes getting the sharpest possible picture. I sharpen my images using Nik Sharpener Pro, being careful not to over sharpen, which can, indeed, be tempting.

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Speaking of being in your tent, charging your batteries and laptop is important. Check with the camp management and find out when they switch generators, which can cause a power surge and zap gear. Don't have your gear plugged in during the switch.

Also bring a power strip/surge suppressor as an extra safeguard against power surges. Make sure the voltage of your strip you by at home matches the voltage of the camp. You may need a voltage converter if the power does not match.

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If you like the composition of the photographs in this post, and if you want to learn how to make the best possible exposure, check out my Kelby Training Classes on my On-Line Classes page.

I hope to see you on my Kenya/Tanzania workshopl. We'll shoot at the golden hours, and process our pictures during downtime.

Explore the light,
Rick

This post sponsored by Adorama - great gear at great prices.  All my gear is listed on My Gear page.

Day 3: Six Days of Africa Photo Safari Tips

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Today is the third day of a series here on my blog: Six Days of Africa Photo Safari Tips.

I'm running this series in preparation for my 2014 Kenya/Tanzania Photo Safari, which is listed on my 2014 Workshops page.

Today's tip: Strive for animal behavior shots.

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Sure, portraits of wild animals are nice, and I'll share a few of my favorites tomorrow here on my blog. But behavior shots tell more of a story, such as the photograph above of a small herd of elephants protecting their young.

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For good behavior shots, you first need to be lucky, as I was when I took the above photograph of a lion and lioness fighting.

But as lucky as you may be, being prepared to capture the behavior is a must - you must have a good understanding of light and composition, which I cover in my on-line classes.

And, of course, you must have the right lens. I recommend always having two cameras ready: one with a wide-angle zoom, say a 24-105mm, and one with a telephoto zoom, perhaps a 100-400mm lens. That's for starters. After that, you may want longer and shorter lenses in your camera bag. All my gear, including those lenses, is listed on My Gear page.

Planning can also help you get good behavior photographs. I planned one of my Africa photo safari workshops so the group would be there for the annual migration of the zebra and wildebeest. Talk about getting good behavior shots! The opening image of the migration is one of my favorite photo safari photos.

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In my first post in this series I shared a portrait I took of our guide. Again, portraits are nice, but behavior shots tell more of a story, such as the above photograph that I took of a Masai warrior demonstrating his jumping skills.

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Here's something else about behavior shots: they can make you smile, as I do when I look at this photograph of a mommy elephant and her baby.

I hope to see you on a photo safari or on any of my workshops. I'm there to help you make great pictures and process your images.

If you like stuff like this, you can subscribe to my blog here.

Explore the light,
Rick

This post sponsored by Borrow lenses - which rents all the lenses you'll need on a photo safari. Back-up cameras, too.

Day 2: Six Days of Africa Photo Safari Tips

sammon giraffe.jpg

Today is the second day of a series here on my blog: Six Days of Africa Photo Safari Tips.

I'm running this series in preparation for my 2014 Kenya/Tanzania Photo Safari, which is listed on my 2014 Workshops page.

Today's tip: Go wide.

First-time Africa photo safari photographers often focus on getting super close-ups of the animals with super-telephoto lenses, and subsequently don't take wide-angle shots.


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Taking wide-angle shots on your photo safari is important. These shots give a "sense of place" to your photographs - and for sure add interest to your slide shows. After all, you can take close-ups of lions and giraffes in a wildlife park or zoo. Right?

Of course, you can also take "sense a place" photographs with a telephoto lens - as long as you include the surrounding area in the frame. Just shoot wide, and don't fill the frame with the subject.

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Lenses used for these photographs:
Lone giraffe - Canon 24-105mm IS
Elephant and elephants passing safari vehicle – Canon 17-40mm
Several giraffes - Canon 100-400mm IS
Safari guide – Canon 15mm lens

You can read about these lenses on My Gear page.

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Getting back to telling the story, pictures of wild animals and beautiful landscapes are not the only pictures that tell the story of your photo safari. Behind-the-scenes shots do that, too.

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Behind-the-scenes pictures also bring back memories of your long safari drives and time with your guide - and how close the animals actually come your safari vehicle.

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I hope to see you on a photo safari or on any of my workshops. I'm there to help you make great pictures and process your images.

If you like the composition of the photographs in this post, and if you want to learn how to make the best possible exposure, check out my Kelby Training Classes on my On-Line Classes page.

If you like stuff like this, you can subscribe to my blog here.

Explore the light,
Rick

This post sponsored by Borrow lenses - which rents all the lenses you'll need on a photo safari. Back-up cameras, too.

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