Africa photo tours

10 Countries, 10 Days, 10 Tips: Day 5 - Kenya

Rick Sammon photograph. Canon 100-400mm IS lens.
It's Day 5 of my series on travel photography here on my blog. Thanks for joining me.

Location: Kenya's Masai Mara. I took the photographs in this post on a recent trip to the Mara that was expertly organized by &Beyond.

Tip: Go in the rainy season.

Rick Sammon photograph. Canon 17-40mm lens.
I know that may not sound like a killer tip, but I think it's an important one to consider. In the rainy season, the sky can be filled with beautiful and dramatic clouds. Those clouds make a wonderful background for your wildlife and people photographs.

I enhanced the clouds in the scene above with Topaz Adjust/Spicify filter. Info on all the plug-ins I use are on my plug-ins page.

In the dry season, you'll probably get a beautiful clear sky, which can be boring. In those conditions, it's best to compose your picture without too much sky in the frame - as I did for the last photograph in this post, which was taken in the dry season. For more on composition, check out my Composition class on Kelby Training.

Rick Sammon photograph. Canon 24-105mm IS lens
In the rainy season, it will probably not rain all day. In fact, when we were on the Mara in November, it only rained in the late afternoon for a hour or so - but boy did it rain!

Rick Sammon photograph. Canon 24-105mm IS lens.
 If you go in the rainy season, you must be prepared with rain gear for your camera and yourself.

Rick Sammon photograph
Another advantage of going in the rainy season: the overcast sky makes getting good exposures of wildlife easier than it is on bright, sunny days - because contrast is reduced.

You can see more of my Africa pictures, and order prints, in my SmugMug gallery.

If you like traveling and photography, check out my workshops and photo tours.

If you want travel photography tips at your fingertips, explore my app: Rick Sammon's 24/7 Photo Buffet.

Rick Sammon photograph.

I'm leading a photo workshop to Tanzania in 2013. I hope you can join the photo adventure.

Explore the light,

Rick's Big Cats is My Newest Cool App

Photographs © Rick Sammon
For all those big and small cat lovers out there, I have developed, along with app developer Keith Kolmos, my first wall paper app: Rick's Big Cats - for both the iPad and iPhone.

The app, which cost only 99 cents, contains 20 of my favorite pictures of lions, tigers, cheetahs, leopards, cougars, jaguars and serval cats - photographs that look wonderful on the iPad and iPhone.
Photograph © Rick Sammon
I photographed the big cats in Africa, Belize and in wildlife parks throughout the United States.

Most of the big cats were photographed with my Canon 100-400mm IS lens. Click here to read about all my gear.

© Rick Sammon
From within the app you can email a photo to your friends and even share it on Facebook and twitter - with cat lovers around the world.

© Rick Sammon
I hope you enjoy the app. Click here to see all my app.

About Keith: Keith Kolmos is a hobbyist photographer and freelance app developer from Elgin, Illinois. Keith's other cool apps: Dis Photo A Day 2012Christmas Photo A Day 2011I Heart U Photos,Trak4, and Trak4 Lite.

Explore the light,

Sammon Session in Switzerland

Photograph courtesy Swiss Photo Travel
I have traveled to more than 100 countries in my career - but never to Switzerland. So I can't wait for my workshop and seminar in Lucern this summer!

I am currently planning the event with photographer Tomasz Trzebiatowski of Swiss Photo Travel. Tomasz lives in Switzerland, so I know that he and his fellow club members will put together a well-organized and fun-filled event.

Photograph courtesy Swiss Photo Travel
The main event will be held in picturesque Lucern during the July 14-15 weekend. If enough folks sign up, we'll do a 3 to 4 day workshop before the weekend, too. Yes, we'll shoot the lake! :-)

Photograph courtesy Swiss Photo Travel
Shoot me an email to get on the info-list. Also contact Tomasz.

See you in Switzerland - I hope!

Explore the light,

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,

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