Photographic Equipment and Advice for Safari

PHOTOGRAPHERS:

Casual -
Point & Shoot camera, plus enough memory cards or backup for the entire trip. 30-40 images / day.

Moderate -
Digital SLR camera (with pop up flash) + a Point & Shoot backup camera, plus compatible media. A semi wide angle - telephoto zoom lens (28mm-300mm), possible 2X or 1.4X converter, lens hood. Enough memory cards for the entire trip and/or a portable storage device. 100 images / day.

Serious -
2 Digital SLR cameras, 1 wide angle lens, 1 telephoto lens (300 mm +), 1.4X or 2x converter, lens hoods, Dedicated flash, possible "*Better Beamer" flash extender. Enough memory cards for the entire trip and/or a portable storage device, plus a backup portable storage device. 200 - 300 + images / day.

GENERAL RECOMMENDATIONS:

Extra Batteries -
camera, flash, portable storage devices Numerous AA or compatible batteries to last for the entire trip OR rechargeable batteries that are compatible.
Battery Charger(s) -
Check that the charger is 120v.- 250v AC. If it is, then no converter is required. Converter - An electrical converter is needed if your charger or equipment is 120v. AC ONLY.
Surge protector -
There is one available from Radio Shack that has 3 built on adapter plugs (including Kenya/Tanzania).
Adapter plugs -
any 3 pronged flat bladed plug (top 2 are horizontal and the bottom one is vertical in the middle). More than one plug is helpful. In Tanzania, at The Serena Hotel, a European 2-pronged small-bladed plug will work. The outlets have 3 holes, but the bottom is a ground.
Power strip -
A multi-outlet power strip is helpful because quite often there is only one available outlet in the accommodations. It would be beneficial if this power strip also had a surge protector built in.
Sensor cleaning device -
Some method to clean the camera sensor. Remember that this could void your camera's warranty.

BACKUP

Check for dual voltage (120v-250vAC)
Extra Memory Cards
Decide on quality of resolution that you plan to use and know how many images will fit on a card. Normally, the megapixel of the camera is approximately equal to what each image (file) will be in "RAW" format, which is the highest quality. A web site that will help decide how many photos will fit on a memory card or storage device is: http://web.forret.com/tools/megapixel_chart.asp. Choose a camera model or megapixel amount and scroll down the page. Bring enough memory cards for all the photos from the entire trip.
          OR
Laptop computer and charger/power supply
Best viewing and it allows you to work with images, but heavy, bulky, fragile, and a dust magnet (it WILL be dusty).
Delkin CardBus 32 Adapter PCMCIA card reader (Compact flash only)
Downloader Pro software (Windows only)
Photo management software for storage, slideshows, manipulation. Have two ways to download images into the computer, in case one fails.
CD burner + charger/power supply - 700 mb/CD. You could burn 3 + CD's /day. CD-R is a more stable platform than CD-RW. Test burn CD's before traveling to make sure that the unit works properly and that the CD's are compatible with the burner as well as a desktop or laptop. Test them to both write and read.
Disk spanning - This is a good feature that allows you to download a card that is larger than a CD (700 mb)
Multi-session - This feature allows you to add more photos to a partially full CD at a later time. Make sure that the burner accepts the type of memory card that you will be using.
Portable hard drives + charger/power supply. 20 GB - 80 GB., depending on your projected need. Screen viewing is a good feature. Make sure that it will read the format (resolution) that you intend to use (CRW,CR2, NFC, etc). Make sure that the drive will accept the type of memory card that you will be using.
EQUIPMENT SUGGESTIONS
Camera(s) manuals (download a copy from manufacturer's web site to a CD or spare media card - backup)
Backup equipment manuals
Tools needed to work on equipment (pack in checked baggage)
Large Blower
Soft brush
Lens cleaning solution
Lens Pens (2) one for cleaning lenses and one for cleaning sensor (if you decide this is needed)
Lens cloths
Soft cloth for dusting
Garbage bag - rain and dust protection
Shower cap or smaller bag to cover camera or lens
Lens and camera body caps
Adequate number of CD-R's
Guide books and/or notebook
Support for roof of Land Cruiser -ALWAYS support lens barrel
  • Bean bag - Kenesis bag
  • Todd-Pod and *Mongoose head
  • Monopod - minimal use around grounds of lodges
  • Tripod - not worth the effort
Cases - Airline carry-on capable
  • Porter Case
  • LowePro backpack
Names and serial numbers of equipment. A customs form is available listing your photographic equipment to show that it was purchased before leaving the country, so no duty can be charged.
EQUIPMENT THAT HAS WORKED:
Surge protector - Radio Shack - Travel plug adapter-#273-1445 - www.radioshack.com
Delkin CardBus 32 Adapter PCMCIA card reader (Compact flash only) - www.delkin.com
Downloader Pro - www.breezesys.com
CD burner - Apacer CP200 combo - www.apacer.com
Portable hard drive - Epson P-2000 (40 GB) or P4000 (80 GB) - www.epson.com
Todd-Pod - Safari Vehicle Roof Hatch Camera Support, contact: Todd Gustafson - 847-298-8351
Mongoose Head - www.4gdphoto.com
PorterCase - www.portercase.com
LowePro - www.lowepro.com/pages/series/rolling.htm
Lens Pens - www.birdsasart.com
Kenesis - www.kGear.com
SAFARI PHOTOGRAPHY:
Keep your longest lens on your camera because you will normally have time to change to a wide angle for scenic shots.
Change perspectives - shoot from roof and window.
DO NOT change lenses in the field any more than absolutely necessary - dust WILL get on your sensor.
Remember that digital cameras increase the focal properties of a lens. Get the fastest lenses you can afford. Stabilized lenses are fantastic.
READ THE MANUALS AND PRACTICE - a zoo is good start
KNOW YOUR CAMERA AND EQUIPMENT.
METERING
Giraffe - middle tone or grass
Hippo - river bank, not wet Hippo
Cheetah - spot meter on face or back
Antelopes - middle tone
Ostrich - female - middle tone, male - spot meter neck or grass
Elephants - dry spot on back
Lions - head is middle tone (not dark mane)
Rhino - lightest area on back or head
Vultures - middle tone on crown of head
Leopard - spot meter on face or overall middle tone
Zebra - middle tone-average
Baboons - meter back or lightest sunlight area
Jackals - tawny or gray areas (not dark back)
Hyena - darker than middle tone -1 stop
Buffalo - horns
Warthogs - meter hide or grass
Wildebeest -shoulder or rump

 

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