Day 6: Six Days of Africa Photo Safari Tips

sammon giraffes.jpg

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

I am running this series in preparation for my 2016 Botswana/South Africa digital photography workshop.

We will get up early for our game drives (above), so you can get great photographs of back lighted subjects (below). I'll help you with exposure.

Our expert guides will put us in the best position for our photographs (below).

When you are in the best position, you can get the best photographs (below).

That workshop is filling up fast! Here's why – from a few folks who have signed up:

Eric McCartney: There are several reasons why I’ve signed up, but the biggest factor has to be Rick Sammon, quite honestly. I’ve always wanted to go to Africa; it’s been on my radar for more than two decades. I so thoroughly enjoyed the Fossil Rim experience and I learned more about photography and in particular about photo processing in just a couple of days than in months, if not years, of practice. I can’t begin to imagine what a real African safari would be like so to have the opportunity to learn from the best, whom I also consider a friend, can only be an amazing experience. I’m thrilled to have this opportunity.

Diane Eubanks: Well, as the workshop "record holder" I could say that I am just a slow learner ;-). But the truth about what keeps me coming back to Rick's workshops is his great teaching skills, his style of photography and processing, and the fact that I feel very "safe" while in his company. Susan Sammon is an incredible organizer and is always making sure everyone is taken care of and that no one is left behind. Rick and Susan make an awesome team. Africa has been on my bucket list for a long time. I can't wait to see what Rick and Susan have in store for us all!!

John and Evelyn Davis: It boiled down to knowing you and a Botswana photo workshop being on our bucket list.

Dave and Cheryl Wilson: We signed up for many reasons:
– We’ve always wanted to see the amazing animals in Africa.
– We don’t seem to be getting any younger.
– I love photography, and I'm tired of taking the same old Northern California photos.
– We need some adventure in our lives.
– I want the best photography teacher I ever met: my friend Rick Sammon.

Mark and Donna Burdette: An African safari has been on our bucket list since we created it. We are attracted to your safari in Botswana
 and South Africa because we participated with you at Fossil Rim, and found your style of teaching and encouraging participants to be very helpful. We also like the idea of this region in Africa since it seems safer than the northern and eastern regions of the continent, while still allowing the variety of animals and experience that we want. Also, we like the small group nature, and the fact that you have teamed up with Kevin who also seems to have lots of experience in this type of safari. Also, after checking the camps online, it seems like they are of the high qualify that we would want and expect. But, mostly, we wanted this one because you and Susan are going along.

Chandra and Gregg Brooks: A photo safari to Africa has long been a dream for us, but when you consider a trip like's not one where you want to come back with an average snapshot you could take at a zoo. What's that they say - go big or go home? Going to one of the premier game reserves, Mala Mala, with a reputation for incredible sightings of the Big 5 upped the ante. The chance to combine dream location, a small group size and learning from Rick with all of his talent, experience and inspirational teaching style - well, this is simply the opportunity of a lifetime.

• • • • •

Check out my Beauty of Botswana gallery to see more 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: Be prepared with the right photo gear. All my gear is listed on My Gear Page.

africa gear.jpg

Two camera bodies - so you can always have a telephoto lens and a wide-angle zoom lens at the ready. Currently, I am using Canon 5D Mark III cameras.

Telephoto lenses:
• 100-400mm zoom - for distant wildlife;
• 70-200mm f/4 zoom - for closer wildlife;
• 200 - 400mm IS with 1.4x teleconverter;
• 400mm DO lens with 1.4x tele-converter - for even more distant wildlife.

rick sammon ths.jpg

Wide-angle lenses:
• 17-40mm lens - for landscapes;
• 24-105mm IS lens - for landscapes and environmental portraits;
• 15mm fish eye – for behind-the-scenes shots.

• Tiffen polarizing filter - to darken a blue sky and to reduce reflections on water

• Two battery chargers - for fast battery charging between game drives;
• Storm Jacket - to protect your camera from rain and dust;
• Blower - to keep your sensor clean;
• Head-mounted flashlight - for hands-free shooting on early morning and night drives;
• Plenty of memory cards.

All this gear does something very important for you on your photo safari: it helps you tell the whole story of your experience - as opposed to only taking lots of close-ups photographs of the animals.

rick africa.jpg

I hope to see you in Botswana or on another one of my workshops.

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 can't make an Africa photo safari, I offer wildlife photo safaris at Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose, Texas. That's where I took the photos above. Shoot me an email for 2016 dates.

rick sammon a.jpg

Explore the light

This post sponsored by Adorama - great gear at great prices.