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Photography Tips

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Photography in Kruger Park

Unread post by philippetrou » Tue Oct 23, 2007 11:08 am

Hi, coming to Kruger Park on an organised photography safari next April. This will be my first safari trip so any advice or tips regarding what gear, taking shot or anything else I should know, would be gratefully received

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Unread post by Boabab » Tue Oct 23, 2007 12:57 pm

Things I never forget:

Telephoto lens
Polarising filter
Window mount
Cleaning Kit

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Unread post by bert » Tue Oct 23, 2007 1:46 pm

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Unread post by NightOwl » Tue Oct 23, 2007 9:21 pm

Hyperdrive: for backing up all those gr8 photos that you'll be taking.

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Unread post by NightOwl » Wed Oct 24, 2007 9:43 am

Maybe this will give some better insight:
Hyperdrive 100Gig - R2900
Sandisk Extreme III 16Gig - R3733

Now, to equal the 60Gig that Peter refers to:
4 x 16Gig = 64Gig
4 x R3733 = R14 932

For R14 932, you could by a Profesional Lens (L-Range in Canon), You could even get a laptop for that price and then review your pics while you are in the park.
2 Hyperdrives would cost you R5800 (This would give you 200Gig of backup space, or 100Gig if you keep 2 copies of backup

With the Hyperdrive, you already have 40 Gig more than the 60 needed.

So my suggestion is to get yourself 2 Compact Flash cards (even 2 Gig cards will do here) per camera body. If the one is full, backup to the Hyperdrive, Use the other CF while the backup is happening.
In the evening backup the hyperdrive to a Laptop, but keep the copy on the hyperdrive. That will effectively give you 2 copies. If you don't have a laptop, then get a second hyperdrive and backup the CF to each hyperdrive.

Both of these options is MUCH cheaper than the ONLY compact flash option.

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Unread post by NightOwl » Wed Oct 24, 2007 12:12 pm

Be the first one out the gate and the last one back in, in the evening.
You can come back during mid day for a rest/siesta.
But best light is early morning and late afternoon.

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Unread post by j-ms » Wed Oct 24, 2007 12:13 pm

philippetrou wrote:I've heard dust is a big problem in Kruger, I'll be bringing a sensor cleaner with me.

We carry 5 lenses plus a TC on 4 bodies (and the 5th lens is seldom used) so we almost only expose our sensors to dust when we use the TC (which is also only used occasionally). The more bodies you can carry, the less chance of dust.

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Unread post by bucky » Wed Oct 24, 2007 1:42 pm

Try have at least 2 bodies .
Make sure you have more than 1 charger also .

The biggest thing to remember is that you are far from getting a replacement of anything , so its good to have a spare whatever .

April is not hugely dusty , so I would not fuss to much about it , when changing lenses keep your body pointing downwards .

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Unread post by bucky » Wed Oct 24, 2007 7:39 pm

You are nicely sorted .

In all likelyhood you will use the 120-300 with a 1.4 converter most of the time on the 40d .
And then I would fit the 50-150 on the 30d .

The 100 macro and 10-20 can be fitted when needed , but the above combos will work well , and I would leave them on the bodies as a standard ready measure . (The scenics you will shoot with the 10-20 wont run away , a leopard will though .)

I am not sure of the IQ with the 120-300 combined with a 2x , but a 2x convertor might work well in case you see something far off .
Best to throughly test it before the time though, as Delboy says you may loose to much IQ .

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Unread post by delboysafa » Sun Nov 11, 2007 5:23 pm

Just getting everything together for a week or so's time to KNP. Here is what is going

Canon 1 D MK II ( 2 spare batteries)
Canon 40D (4 spare batteries)
Canon EF 300mm F2.8 L IS
Canon EF 70-200mm F2.8 L IS
Canon EF 24-105mm F4 IS L
Canon EF 200mm F2.8 L

Canon 1.4 and 2 x Extenders (2 x on advice of Nigel Dennis recently to help cover a longer range)

Canon EX 480 Flash

1 Remote Cable Release

Innoplus 40GB Phototainer

30 GB Compact Flash Memory Cards (mixture of II, III and IV)

2 x Beanbag

Chargers for both batteries

All in Tamrac Expedition 8 Bag

Let me know if you think I have missed something please

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Kruger Gear Report - Jul/Aug 2009

Unread post by lecter » Fri Aug 14, 2009 10:14 am

Just back.
My trip report is up and I thought I'd add a gear review.

Kruger 2009
Daily Blog – (I uploaded the days trip report and picture nightly)
Daily Trip report:
Gallery of images so far…

The Gear:-
What worked, and what could be included, excluded or altered.
All of the cameras apart from the 5D2 (Which has a failed LCD, which means video is impossible) worked impeccably. The 1D3’s were attached to 500/4 IS’s for all of the trip and they performed as good as any 1D2 has in the past, with better results. The 5D2 was great, but we really want to use it to record HD video next time as many of our experiences were interactive (i.e. upset Elephants, feeding crocs, flying eagles) and video would add a dimension and perspective to many of the still shots.
The 1Ds3 was awesome on a 70-200/2.8 IS and the 5D2 performed on the 100-400/4.5-5.6. These lens / body combo’s really got a lot of use this time as we went for contextual shooting and tried to get more feel from some of the situations.
The G9 was used as the messing around camera and performed well.
The main lenses were the 500/4 IS super telephotos. As always these performed magnificently. Both of us hand held the big guns and rested them on padded windows for a lot of the shooting.
As mentioned above the 70-200 and 100-400 were the “foil” lenses that worked off the main guns. Flawless and great results.
We had a 24-70/2.8 and 24-105/4 for other items, but Sao preferred to walk around with the G9 for the camp shots and those of the environment. I used the 24-70 a few times for some panos and wider shots.
Our decision to limit the lenses was right. We would never have used anything else.
I used the 1.4x teleconverter a lot and the 2x teleconverter “now and then”. The Macro extension tubes got used once.
Lots of talk about the 800/5.6 lens. Jury still out on this one. We did use the 1.4x a lot. Contemplating this!!
Storage: The Colorspace UDMA’s were the primary backup. Amazing how fast they are. Certainly one can see the differences in the performance of the CF cards using this device as it tells you the download speed and you can see each picture loading. I have 500GB drives in each one, so we had plenty of room (just)

Tripod:- Oops… big mistake. Was going to do star trails, but was too tired….. Maybe next time, Perhaps not. We wasted space and weight lugging the big Gitzo and RRS ball head around.
Travel / Camera bags:- We used 2 Kiboko Bags ( ). I have longer arms as we got so much in them. (Which is a Blessing and a curse.) If travelling donkey class, sure would be a problem. We never had any issues as the bags are perfect for overhead compartments and great in the car for storing, packing and unpacking on the go. Andy says he’s looking at a wheels option which would then make them perfect. Aprt from miscellaneous chargers and stuff, all the bodies and lenses were in the Kibokos.
Internet BGAN device: (Google it!) – Amazing. This worked a treat!! Hooked up every time and allowed us to deliver a day by day vicarious safari experience to our friends and family. Also adds safety to any trip as it incorporates ISDN telephony as well. This is highly recommended, budgets allowing.
Computer:- Macbook Air. Small and portable. Needs another USB port, but otherwise perfect. Runs fast enough for lightroom to do a quick check on the days pictures and select one for the blog. I have the 128GB SSD and 1.76ghz processor.
Radios:- We bought more radios for this trip. They disappointed. Anyone with ideas for radios that are portable and work over more than 5kms please get in touch!! These really help and allow us to spread out looking for cool sightings. On more than a few occasions we were able to call each other to Leopard, Rhino and other sightings. Range and quality are the prerequisites. We have not nailed this yet.

In Summary:-
Cameras = Perfect, G9 could be replaced by an M8+ perhaps.
Lenses = good. The 24-105 could be left home.
Accessories – Storage = perfect
- Tripod – Ugh. Leave at home.
- Kiboko Bags = Perfect
- BGAN = Perfect (watch the budget)
- Computer – good. Needs more USB. Hubs suck.
- Radios – sucked. Need good options
I also used a GPS logger. Still not quite up to speed with this Geo stuff. More mucking around needed. You’ll definitely see more of my images on Google Earth!! (Panoramio has a few already)
So that’s the gear summary for Kruger 2009.
Cogito Ergo Sum
Caveat Lector

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Photography Tips

Unread post by skywalker2251 » Mon Aug 09, 2010 4:24 am

There are plenty of great tips in this topic, so take a few minutes to browse.

A few tips that I can give.

1. A beanbag is essential. My first trip to the park I didn't have a beanbag, and it shows in my photos. Make sure you have a large beanbag for stability. Also, if you have a remote trigger, use it.
2. Turn off the engine when shooting. Vibrations from the car will ruin any photo.
3. Leave when the gate opens and return when it closes to take advantage of the best light in the day.
4. I prefer to shoot in aperture mode when shooting wildlife, but whatever mode you shoot in, be sure to know your camera well so you can adjust settings quickly. Lighting conditions can change quickly.
5. Remember not to cut off feet. I've done that far too often.
6. Remember the rule of 3rds. Also, if your subject is looking in a particular direction, be sure to give them a little space to look into.
7. Focus on the eyes. If you are using a larger aperture you may get the body in focus, but the eyes slightly out of focus.
8. Be aware of your background. I have too many photos that would be great, but have an ugly white sky in the background. Move around a bit to fix your background if needed and possible.
9. Think ahead. If an animal is moving, you may have to get ahead of it to get a great shot. Think of where it might come out of the bush and onto the road. I'm not always right, but doing this has given me many rewarding shots. (Be sure to be courteous to others and not ruin the sighting)
10. Have plenty of memory cards. I prefer smaller memory cards...if the worst happens and the card becomes unreadable...better to have 2 2-gig cards and only lose one than to have one 4-gig card and lose everything. Always be aware of how much space is on the card in your camera, and have another one handy in case it is needed.
11. When taking a lot of pictures at one sighting, be sure to frame the picture differently sometimes. You may get home and like how one was framed and not like another way you framed it.
12. Shoot in RAW. This will give you more flexibility in editing photos when you get home.
13. Be courteous to others. Don't hog a special sighting if there are limited spots to view a great sighting. I had one traffic jam at a lion sighting last year that several cars took turns being the lead car as the lions moved. After the sighting was over, I was able to meet some very nice people.
Last edited by skywalker2251 on Mon Aug 09, 2010 10:19 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: photography tips

Unread post by oddesy » Mon Aug 09, 2010 8:20 am

Skywalker has done a very good job of listing ALL the more essential tips! :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up:

Just one thing that I would advise is if you can try and familiarise yourself with shooting RAW files if you can especially if you intend editing pics when you get home. Makes a big difference :thumbs_up:
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"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." Aristotle

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Re: photography tips

Unread post by Touareg » Mon Aug 09, 2010 9:56 pm

I am not sure what equipment you are using, but one thing to be aware of is the wind/breeze. The heat from your car can be blown across your field of view, ruining a great pic with seemingly out of focus shots. Not much you can do about it, be aware of it. If possible I always try an position myself so that the sun is coming across my shoulder or back. Once again not something you have control off as the animals choose the side of the road the are on. Have a great time.
[b] Another day in paradise.

KTP: 09 Dec 2012 - 18 Dec 2012

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What do you think you need to make good photos?

Unread post by DuQues » Tue May 10, 2011 7:29 pm

Hint: I do not mean do you need an f/2.8 1000 mm lens costing zillions! Compacts, well, even phones or keyhole cameras do enter the equation. It's the endproduct I'm taslking about: A Good Photo.

Think of what you really need! Which means you'll have to think a bit before you start typing. ;)
Not posting much here anymore, but the photo's you can follow here There is plenty there.

Feel free to use any of these additional letters to correct the spelling of words found in the above post: a-e-t-n-d-i-o-s-m-l-u-y-h-c

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