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Kgalagadi: Photography advice

Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2008 7:06 pm
Posts: 14
Location: Arizona USA
Mon Feb 18, 2008 8:24 pm Unread post
Dear all,

We are a mere 11 weeks away from departing and 13 weeks from being in KTP! I plan on buying my yellow ribbon this week in hopes of chatting with a few of you when we are there. Do we attach it to the antenna?

We fianlly managed to book a fairly reasonable price on a mid size SUV. Thanks to all who advised the comfort and ease of viewing from the taller vehicle. We never would have known this without you.

We have all our airtickets thanks to voyager mostly.

We are checking 2 or 3 times a week to see if we can trade our May 26 night in KTC for Nossob (no luck so far).

We are reading the forum every weekend to see what all of you are doing and glean more necessary info.

For example, we just learned that the camp shops and gas stations do not take credit cards. Is this still true?

Though we are not expert photograpers, are there any tips anyone could pass along for getting the great shots? Living as we do in the high desert of Arizona, we know that winter light can be truly beautiful and wish to capture some memorable shots of scenery and if there is a animal in the frame we would not complain!!

We currently have the Canon G7(digital) but are considering upgrading to a Nikon 40 D digital (sort half way between snapshot camera and full out SLR). My husband thinks we should get a beanbag thingie for the window to balance the camera for steadier shots. Also, i have a concern about using the flash as i don't want to startle the animals. Thoughts anyone on this topic?

Thanks for your time,
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Re: Photography advice in KTP

Senior Virtual Ranger
Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2005 9:55 pm
Posts: 769
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Mon Feb 18, 2008 9:26 pm Unread post
In Twee Rivieren you can pay by credit card in the shop, but not in the other camps. You can't pay fuel using your credit card anywhere in South Africa, you can only pay cash!

Use the early morning and late afternoon 'golden' light as much as you can. The light is best from the time the gates open till about 1,5 hours later. During the afternoon the last hour of sunlight is very good for photography. During the daytime the light can be too harsh for photography, but if the skies are a bit overcast you can still get good pictures. Don't only concentrate on taking pictures of animals. The landscape of the Kgalagadi can be just as interesting as the animals.

Use a support like a beanbag to keep your camera steady. It will enable you to use low shutter speeds which can help you a lot in the early morning and late afternoon when there's not a lot of light.

Your husband is right

The animals don't really react to flash photography. Birds are sometimes startled by flash light but mammals tend to ignore it. Use flash with care though as it usually doesn't produce very appealing pictures. I use my flash mostly in the daytime to fill up the shadows a bit when the contrast between light and dark in the picture is too much for my camera. You need a fairly powerfull flash to use it like that though.

Senior Virtual Ranger
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2005 5:53 pm
Posts: 4052
Location: Cambridge, MA (and home from home in Darling, WC)
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Mon Feb 18, 2008 10:01 pm Unread post
I think madach covered all your questions except for the YR. Most forumites tie it round the point where the driver's side wing mirror attaches to the car. Mine is about a yard of ribbon and I tie it in a bow with a double knot, with the bow on top so it's most visible. Have a great trip!

Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 1:18 pm
Posts: 2574
Location: Twee Rivieren, KTP
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Fri Feb 22, 2008 1:24 pm Unread post
There is a lot of discussion regarding animals' reactions to flashes; on the whole, it is usually the poorly-sighted large ones (elephant, rhino and hippo) who get stressed because they cannot see, and then charge away; due to them being blinded, they could charge in ANY direction...

Predators and such usually blink and look away, whereas most medium to small herbivores either freeze or ignore it. When flashes are used during hunts, you'll find that it spooks the prey, and annoys the predators, but that result is quite logical.

As for credit cards; you can use them at all the shops (in the outside camps, they get swiped and the receipts sent to T/R for verification)- just enquire beforehand whether they would do that for a foreign card (which, as long as it's VISA or MasterCard, shouldn't be a problem). Fuel, by South African law, can only be paid for using cash or a garage card. Whether foreign garage/fleet cards are accepted, I don't know....

Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2007 10:50 am
Posts: 41
Location: UK
Fri Feb 22, 2008 3:03 pm Unread post
Hi emme

the bean bag is a great idea, and it does not add much extra weight/size to your flight allowance just buy some rice or dried beans at upington or anywhere to fill it up.
also if you like taking photos have a look at an 'ERGO REST' it is a small tripod type device that hooks over your window, its a bit heavy but great for long shots, i have found it very useful.

only 10 weeks to my next trip to south africa and 12 weeks until my first trip to KTP, i leave the ribbon attaching to SO (icurrie) but the drivers side wing mirror seams to be the usual place.

have a great trip


Junior Virtual Ranger
Joined: Sat Oct 21, 2006 2:34 pm
Posts: 251
Location: SAffie in Southend
Fri Feb 22, 2008 3:12 pm Unread post
Hi emme

Have a look at the Photography part of the forum for more info on the ergorest etc - that is where we got the info.

Joined: Thu Feb 21, 2008 9:44 am
Posts: 5
Location: Pretoria
Sat Feb 23, 2008 10:30 am Unread post
Dear Emme,

Visit the Website "Vertex Photographic" re a beanbag!!!!!

Johann Venter

Senior Virtual Ranger
Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2005 9:55 pm
Posts: 769
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Sat Feb 23, 2008 2:08 pm Unread post
I'd advise against using polystirene. Use rice instead. Using a light and compressable material defeats the purpose of a bean bag. A bean bag is used to provide a stable platform for a camera. It should be heavy and as large as possible. Check here for some pictures of the beanbag that I use.

Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Joined: Thu Jan 13, 2005 9:02 pm
Posts: 17182
Location: mind in SA, body in The Netherlands
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Sun Feb 24, 2008 12:21 pm Unread post
Tripods, beanbags and others

Advice Needed Kgalagadi : From a Photographic side of things

Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 11:12 am
Posts: 1
Wed Apr 15, 2009 10:44 am Unread post
Hi all,

I am a passionate Wildlife Photographer and I have decided that I no longer can put off a trip to the Kgalagadi!

The dates I am looking at is 31 October to 7 November

I would love some advice, specifically as I am a photographer, in terms of light, weather condition and general game movement for the month of November ??? Should I stay mostly at Nossob ? I will camp so dont want to move around too much....

Any advice will be greatly appreciated !


Re: Advice Needed Kgalagadi : From a Photographic side of things

Honorary Virtual Ranger
Joined: Fri Jan 14, 2005 5:42 pm
Posts: 17942
Location: Red sand, why do I keep thinking of red sand?
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Wed Apr 15, 2009 11:15 am Unread post
Welcome to the forums!

Just a short answer, the rest will come soon from others (I've so far been only once. :cry: )
Light: You'll have plenty of it! For the real photography it's morning and evening only, inbetween there is simply too much of it.
I would certainly consider staying at Twee Rivieren as well, the wildlife is fantastic there, not to mention the three leopards that are seen on a regular basis. Inside camp the birding will give you great chances at getting good photos too.
The Aoub riverbed, especially Dertiende boorgat will give you plenty game.
You'll need at least 1 long lens, but landscapes are well worth photographing as well.

You do know that after 31 oktober you'll be hooked to KTP, don't you?

Re: Advice Needed Kgalagadi : From a Photographic side of things

Legendary Virtual Ranger
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2005 12:38 pm
Posts: 9900
Location: In the shadow of Table Mountain
Wed Apr 15, 2009 1:02 pm Unread post
Yeah welcome!

Is that the start of the rainy season?

My wife is a good amateur photographer, and has some of her very best have come from KTP.

Re: Advice Needed Kgalagadi : From a Photographic side of things

Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 2:28 pm
Posts: 28
Wed Apr 15, 2009 5:23 pm Unread post
Hi Salayexe

The Kgalagadi is great for photos. Once you have been there once - you will want to go again. It is great for photography. Both my wife and I are keen photographers. Most of the wildlife photographers in our club (Bloemfontein camera club - wed site love the Kgalagadi and get some really good results.

Morning and afternoon light is great - rest of the day the light can be very hard and we normally only take photos at that time only if there is something special or really good action. You can try using neutral density filters or polarizer, but generally the light is too harsh for really great shots.

It is generally a good idea to stay in the same place for at least a few days. Get to know the area and find out where things are.

The big cats in the Kgalagadi are great - but look out for the little things as well.

We normally find it very rewarding to spend some time just sitting at a water hole and waiting. There are some good ones where you can see the water (and get quite close). This often gives you great reflections. Even if there are not animals at the water holes, there is normally a lot of birds so you can keep yourself busy with the birds while waiting for the animals.

Hope that this helps

Photography around Mata Mata

Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2005 10:21 am
Posts: 49
Location: johannesburg
Wed Sep 21, 2011 7:52 am Unread post
I have just returned from my second visit this year to KTP, staying at TR and Nossob on both visits. I tend to find a suitable waterhole and wait for opportunities. At Nossob I made use of the waterholes at Cubitje Quap, Kwang, and Marie se Draai depending of the time of day. I loved Cubije Quap as you are almost on level with the waterhole and could view from two sides for morning and afternoon photography. I was lucky enough to spend two hours alone at Cubije Quap one afternoon in the company of a Bataleur, a Steppe Buzzard and two jackal. I guess if that were Kruger tha cars would have been six deep and the police would have to had to sort out the traffic jam, heaven is KTP.

I plan to return to KTP next year and stay at Mata Mata and was hoping the KTP guru's could provide some advice on waterholes that are similar to Cubije Quap in the area around Mata Mata.



Re: Photography around Mata Mata

Joined: Mon May 04, 2009 9:32 am
Posts: 817
Location: Northwold with KTP on my mind...
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Wed Sep 21, 2011 8:17 am Unread post
Hi Jim,

On the Mata-Mata side you don't have waterholes that is really on the same level, as the road tend to be higher than the river beds where the watering holes are, but I found better photography oppertunities in the Mata-Mata area as it is much more open, you can see futher and have plenty of positions to choose from. I also found way more action on that side than the Nossob side.

My two favourite watering holes are Veertiende and Dertiende Boorgat, but the whole area between Craig Lockhart and Dertiende boorgat provides great oppertunities. AS there are quite a few cheetah in the area and plenty of springbok all around, I patrol that area slwoly up and down instead of waiting at just one watering hole. We anticipated a cheetah kill one day between two watering holes and saw the whole thing. We would've missed it if we were just waiting at the watering hole. :thumbs_up:

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