Day 1: Six Days of Africa Photo Safari Tips

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

I am running this series in preparation for my 2015 Botswana digital photography workshop with Tim Vollmer.

Shoot me an email for info about this awesome Botswana photography adventure.

Check out my Beauty of Botswana gallery to see my favorite photographs from my two previous trips to this wildlife wonderland. 

Also check out my on-line class: Capturing the Wild: Safari Photography. You can use my tips for making great pictures on a photo safari and at a wildlife park.

Today's tip: Go on a foot safari.

Photographing from a vehicle is awesome, but a foot safari can't be beat. Here are some photos from my previous foot safaris in Kenya and South Africa, along with some tips. Enjoy.

Not all camps offer foot safaris – where you actually walk on, rather than ride over, the African plains. But if the camp does offer this experience, go for it. It can't be beat for the thrill of being one with nature.

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Above: That's me on my previous Kenya trip with our Masai Mara foot safari guide, Jackson, and our security guard, Francis.

Is a foot safari dangerous? Not really. After all, your guides are not going to take chances. That means not getting super close the animals, but you'll be doing that anyway on your driving safaris. 


Camera gear is important, but before we get to that, dressing properly is also very important:
A) you want to wear clothes that blend in with the surroundings;
B) you want to wear good hiking boots.

Dressing in "lion hungry" pink and wearing sneakers, through which a thorn can easily penetrate, is not the way to go. See the shot above that I took on a foot safari in South Africa directly above. Ouch!

Speaking of dressing for success, check out Outdoor Photo Gear for great prices on Bug Shirts, Gloves, NEOS over shoes, gloves and more.

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Here are my camera gear recommendations for a foot safari.
- Two camera bodies. I use Canon 5D Mark III cameras.
- Wide-angle to medium telephoto lens on one body. I recommend a 24-105mm.
- Telephoto zoom on the other body. I recommend a 70-200mm f/4 (relatively light).
- Black Rapid duo strap, for easy access to both cameras.
- Domke photo vest - to carry spare batteries, cards and water.

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The key of course to a good foot safari is a good guide – with an eagle eye. A good guide will spot animals, even if they are well hidden. I never would have seen this lion resting in the shade had my guide not pointed him out. Good thing our guide kept us at a safe distance!

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While you are out and about, take the opportunity to make portraits of your guides. They will be much closer than the lions . . . which you actually don't want to see up close while on foot! I took the lion shot above while safely seated in a safari vehicle.

Explore the light,

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