Friday, February 18, 2011

Ten Biggest Safari Mistakes and Lessons...Number Six

Bring a second camera body...
When we first started going on safaris, of course we could only afford a camera each and when that is all you can afford, then you make due with what you have. In the meantime, I saved and learned lots of things the hard way. From showing up on safari and realizing that the sensor was dirty and I didn't know how to clean it, to missing shots because I had the wrong lens for the situation. Unfortunately wildlife doesn't wait for you as you change lenses.

My dad used to say "hope for the best, fear the worst and..." well the rest is inappropriate, but I did learn that that part of hoping for the best is also preparing for the best. Start by bringing a minimum of two camera bodies.

There is nothing worse than traveling half way around the world to discover that your only camera is malfunctioning for some frustrating reason that you can't figure out or is broken or magically some smudge of some sort has appeared on the sensor that you can't seem to remove...Learn to clean your sensor...A topic for another blog

Baboon Portrait
On a bright note, a second camera body isn't just insurance. It will give you the opportunity to get shots what you wouldn't be ready for otherwise. Keep a long telephoto lens like a 500, 600 or 800mm on one camera body and a wide angle or medium range telephoto on a second camera body like a 100-400mm on the other. This way you can very quickly get different views of the same shot. Another option is to put a 70-200mm on one camera body and a 100-400 on the other. If the action is close, I will set a small large aperture of f-16 or so on one and a fast speed of 1000 or so on the other. 
Baboon Fight

That way if I am interested in taking portrait shots, I am ready with the high aperture camera and if the animal runs, I am ready with the camera with the high speed. Otherwise you will be fiddling around with settings while you are missing the shots.

Another tip is use camera straps that enable you to carry two cameras comfortably at the same time. I use R straps. They are comfortable and enable me to switch cameras quickly.

If you can afford a second camera body and a second lens, get them. Both cameras and lenses can malfunction. Last year when I was photographing polar bears, one of my cameras froze up and the image stabilizer on my 600mm lens was locking up. Thankfully, my camera thawed and my lens started working again. In the meantime, I was very frustrated, but I still had back up equipment.

Next blog. Lesson number 5. Hmmm, what will it be? I have made soo many mistakes and learned soo many lessons. I seem to have an unlimited supply of material in that area.

No comments:

Post a Comment