With our Tanzania safari rapidly approaching, I’ve been doing some research on what to expect during this once-in-a-lifetime trip. Have I mentioned that I’m getting super-excited? I thought I’d share a few random bits of information that I’ve learned while doing my own personal research.
Keep in mind that our safaris, while hopefully offering heaps of opportunity for some amazing photos, aren’t specific to professional photographers. Therefore, the photography tips I’m sharing are pretty general.
Access to electrical outlets may be limited at some of our camps. Depending on how many electronics you’re bringing with you, you may want to consider investing in a mini power bar which will allow you to plug in more than one item at a time. Double check that any electronics have chargers that can handle both 120V and up to 250V.
If you’re going to be using your phone for taking photos you may want to bring something like the Mopower Portable Charger with you. This handy little device will allow you to charge your phone when you’re away from camp.
Remember to bring at least one additional camera battery with you so that you always have a spare.
I’ve already touched on bringing plenty of memory cards as well as a portable photo storage device here. I’ve decided to bring a number of smaller cards (16 – 32 GB) rather than one or two larger cards. A 16GB card should likely get me through a day without having to open my camera—submitting it to dust—to change the card. By carrying more cards, not only will I have spares if something happens to corrupt one of them, I won’t worry if there’s a night when I can’t save my photos to my external hard drive. I think I have five cards now and may even decide to invest in a couple more before I leave. I’ve also purchased a case for my cards—something that will help keep them dust-free and organized (hopefully).
There will be limited space in the safari vehicles. While there may be situations where you could use a tripod, you will mainly be shooting from within the vehicle. If you’re bringing a long lens for your camera you may have an issue with shaking. You’ll have to find a way to stabilize the lens by leaning it on a part of the vehicle when snapping.
While some shots will be rushed, at other times you’ll have the time to really set up your shot. Try not to have trees sticking out of an elephant’s ear. If you want the animal to be sharp and in focus but the background to be nice and blurry, open up the aperture of your lens.
Be respectful of the wildlife and don’t use a flash for nighttime photos.
Ask permission before taking photos of the locals. It may be against some religious beliefs to have their photo taken.
You’re going to want to protect your gear, so bring a buff or a poncho that you can wrap your camera in to protect against dust or unexpected rain showers.
Most importantly, remember to put down the camera and simply soak up the experience. Breathe, relax and absorb the fact that this is really happening!
Watch this site in the upcoming weeks as I’m sure I’ll find more interesting snippets of information about what to expect when on safari.