Jump to content

Tanzania 2013 - A Photographic Trip Report


BonitaApplebum
 Share

Recommended Posts

Bonita I think I may have been trailing you, as we stayed in the same camp in Ndutu last week. And saw many of what appears to be the same animals. Just settling in back at home though and will get to a trip report soon. Thanks for sharing these, the pics bring me right back there!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

BonitaApplebum

Great to hear, Amy. How'd you enjoy the camps? We got along really well with the guys at the Ndutu camp, and Claudio at the Serengeti camp was really pleasant as well. Looking forward to your trip report!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Incredible images. Can you tell us about your camera gear, helpful hints and especially about the night photo of the tree and stars?

 

Thank you for this entertaining report. We'll be in the northern Sernengeti in August hopefully for the migration.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

BonitaApplebum

PCNW,

 

I went all out, gear wise, for this trip. I brought two Canon 5D Mk3s. For lenses, the new 500mm F/4 MkII was attached to one camera while the 70-200 F/2.8 MkII was usually attached to the other. I also had the 100-400L but the 70-200 is so much superior optically that I found myself working around its reach deficiency instead of grabbing the 100-400L. In the end, I could have left the 100-400L at home. For the landscapes I used the 16-35L on a Gitzo 3532LS tripod with a Arca Swiss Z1 head..

 

The night photos require a very steady tripod, a camera with good noise handling abilities, and a fast aperture, wide angle lens. You'll need an ISO of about 6400, the lens wide open at F/2.8, and a 30 second exposure to capture all the stars in their glory. If you find yourself somewhere very dark, give it a try!

 

Hope this is informative. Any more questions, feel free to ask!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice cameras, but as they say, it is the photographer behind the lens and you certainly did them proud.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

BonitaApplebum

Really kind of you, Twaffle. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some stunning images. Love the cubs shots. So cute.

 

I don't think the gear is that important, certainly once you're in the DSLR field. It's how you use it. And since digital, it's also about post processing.

Actually I don't understand why anyone always wants to know what gear you have. If we get a nice meal in a restaurant, do we ask the cook what pots he used? ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I disagree to some extent Jochen. When you are using DSLRs and it gets time to upgrade, there is a lot more to it than just processing. For instance, my 7D is really hopeless in low light whereas the new processors in the 5D3 and 1Dx are fantastic. When I upgrade, I want a camera body which can enable me to shoot in much lower light than I can now and if I know what others are using in different conditions I'm better able to work out how to spend my money.

 

I think the analogy to restaurants is fine in the context of "lovely photos, must be a good camera" and "lovely meal, you must have a great oven" but is overused and only applies to the very ignorant (not including you in that later group). Among photographers who know how to use their cameras well, it is one of the more interesting aspects of the top models of all the different brands, just squeezing that last bit of detail; reducing noise; having a faster auto focus which can follow a speeding falcon etc. etc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, thing is Twaffle; I use nothing but old 2nd hand camera gear. On my last trip I used a 50D and a 5DmkI. But that was just during my last trip. Before that, I had a 20D, not a 50D. And I keep on getting that question. As if they expect that the shot was taken with the newest model. Sorry to disappoint them! :P

 

It's actually even worse; I got the "what gear" question yesterday, on a Belgian photo forum, for an image which was taken 3 years ago. It was a night shot of a leopard. So it's really as if they think; "I cannot get these results with my camera, and I'm looking for reasons to buy the newer model". To me that's shocking. They own a better model than mine, and yet they think they're going to do worse than I did with my "old" model camera. I can only conclude one thing; they need to learn how to get the best results out of their gear.

 

Mind you, I got no trouble with gearheads. The more there are, the more choice I have buying their "old" models. :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, I agree with your point there, but I think that's the difference between those starting out and the more experienced practitioners. I won an award last year with an image I took 8 years ago on a 20D, just better processing now!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Alex The Lion

I disagree to some extent Jochen. When you are using DSLRs and it gets time to upgrade, there is a lot more to it than just processing. For instance, my 7D is really hopeless in low light whereas the new processors in the 5D3 and 1Dx are fantastic. When I upgrade, I want a camera body which can enable me to shoot in much lower light than I can now and if I know what others are using in different conditions I'm better able to work out how to spend my money.

 

I think the analogy to restaurants is fine in the context of "lovely photos, must be a good camera" and "lovely meal, you must have a great oven" but is overused and only applies to the very ignorant (not including you in that later group). Among photographers who know how to use their cameras well, it is one of the more interesting aspects of the top models of all the different brands, just squeezing that last bit of detail; reducing noise; having a faster auto focus which can follow a speeding falcon etc. etc.

 

Agreed.

 

Look at the focusing capabilities of cameras too.

 

If you were talking landscapes, a lot of high end cameras hold less advantage. I think a better comparison to restaurants would be

 

'lovely meal, you must use high quality ingredients' (Well certainly not processed horse)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 The less costly your gear (towards prosumer and certainly consumer market), and the older your gear, the worse your picture will look.

 

So I guess we're all right, within some spectrum of gear.

 

But we should not exaggerate the difference in results between the latest gear and the pre-latest gear. Certainly not for web image results. In general, we are judging tiny (900px by 600 px?) jpeg images that - at least most of the time - have been thoroughly processed and sharpened for web display. And the pics we put online are our best ones. Not the ones out of focus. So arguments like "a newer cam will hold focus better", or "the RAW file of a newer cam holds more detail" don't really fly when one wants to legitimate/defend the "what cam did you use" question. On a small jpeg, you will not be able to see the difference between, say, a 20D and a 1DMk4.

 

What truly annoys me is people who do not take the time to learn their cam, and who do not know what settings to pick in what conditions. Rather, they simply think; "the newer the gear, and the more money you spend, the better the picture". While that may be true in perfect shooting conditions, it means very little when you're trying to photograph a moving animal at night with just one spotlight helping out. It's people who think like that who often pop the "what gear" question.

 

If I had 1$ for every time I noticed someone in the lodge vehicle who could not handle his cam, then I'd have enough to buy me a 600mm F4. The worst was a guy who had a killer combo at that time (forgot what exactly), and while I was taking good pictures at night with my "old" D20, his shutter took about one second per picture. He looked so utterly disappointed with his results that I suggested dialing the right settings for him. I remember switching on IS on his lens. He didn't even know what it was for. After he had taken some succeeded pics, he exclaimed enhusiastically "he would keep those settings for all images from now on!" :rolleyes:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Let's keep this discussion for the photographic subforum and return to the trip report, thanks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great to hear, Amy. How'd you enjoy the camps? We got along really well with the guys at the Ndutu camp, and Claudio at the Serengeti camp was really pleasant as well. Looking forward to your trip report!

Loved them at Ndutu and Serengeti Wilderness Camps. I think it was a much better experience than some of our lodges! I could listen to lions roar all night long!!! LOL!

 

Me too: welcome to Safaritalk Amy... :)

Thank you! Long time lurker, well, at least since I booked last July. Working on TR today at work, where I refuse to recommit to reality. ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

BonitaApplebum

Just to chime in on the photo gear talk (I'm a confessed gear head, so I enjoy the discussion!), I've traveled with very different kits and have some opinions on the gear vs. skill debate.

 

On my first and second safaris, I had a single Sony A700 DSLR. The first safari I brought the Sigma 50-500, the second I upgraded to the Sony 7-400G. The Sony A700 was a great camera, though hardly "pro" level specs. Still, I took my favorite safari photo ever with that camera, a photo I license through Getty Images and have won several awards with.

 

The main challenge on safari I find is constantly adjusting exposure to deal with changing conditions while maintaining focus/composition on a moving target. That golden hour in the morning and at the end of the day gives such gorgeous light, but it seems to change every few seconds and can reek havoc with the camera's metering system. Every few shots requires a quick review of ISO, aperture and shutter speed to ensure everything is where you need to be to get a sharp, well exposed shot. The quality of your gear is totally irrelevant in this regard.

 

To get great shots in this environment, however, does often require bumping up the ISO to high levels to keep that shutter speed where you need it to be. This is where the gear plays a role. I'm consistently amazed at the high ISO quality of the 5D Mk3 compared to my previous setup. Also, the auto focus system on the new Canon is great and allowed me to react faster to a leopard moving down a tree and towards me, resulting in more keepers than I'd previously have expected. In the end, there are definitely a few shots I came away with that I don't think I would have gotten on my old setup.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Crazy discussion Nikon or Canon? What l)

)ens to use? Simple it is. Wildlife comes first. Look at leopard 1 and leopard 2. Left eye spots same. That leopard has 2 cubs but hard to protect with constant interference. Mr. C. is father of Young Tom but he has 3 cubs to protect.( Ndutu Lodge). Too may times has the wish for

a photo resulted in families being separated, hunting ruined and worse. Safaris are to marvel, respect and protect. I cannot understand discussions of equipment , technique or price. Bye the way shortail may raise cubs this time. Her second attempt.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

BonitaApplebum

Simba,

 

My 500mm allows me to stay much farther away from the leopard than the ones shooting with their iPads. ;)

 

However, feel free to grind that axe. Now we're definitely getting off topic!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now, getting back to the trip report...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Better to know shortail leopard and cubs ok. Better to know Young Tom and cubs ok. rather than 400mm at f8 asa 400. Just guessing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

BonitaApplebum

Better to know shortail leopard and cubs ok. Better to know Young Tom and cubs ok. rather than 400mm at f8 asa 400. Just guessing.

 

If only those things weren't mutually exclusive...

 

 

Sorry, Game Warden. :D How about another photo to keep things moving along? A beautiful cheetah, seemingly undisturbed and at peace.

 

 

8494385624_54934a6250_b.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How about another photo to keep things moving along?

 

You know how to win the GW over, especially with a shot like that. I just think re the photography discussion that it deserves it's own topic in the Photography subforum, otherwise it will be lost here...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Safaritalk uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By using Safaritalk you agree to our use of cookies. If you wish to refuse the setting of cookies you can change settings on your browser to clear and block cookies. However, by doing so, Safaritalk may not work properly and you may not be able to access all areas. If you are happy to accept cookies and haven't adjusted browser settings to refuse cookies, Safaritalk will issue cookies when you log on to our site. Please also take a moment to read the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy: Terms of Use l Privacy Policy