I was recently in the Kapama Private Game Reserve for a 4 day wildlife shoot. I feel I need to share my experiences of that shoot.
- What equipment to pack?
Now that is a rather good question, to shoot wildlife I recommend the following 2 lenses:
– A 100-400mm, you will need the reach
A long lens is advisable for shoots like these.
– A 24-70mm f/2.8, to shoot before and just after sunrise/sunset, when reach is not that important any more.
– I would also take a 70-200mm f/2.8 if I could for the same reasons as above.
I also recommend a professional flash for the night and spare batteries. To catch the boma’s (restaurant), a tripod may come in handy. Don’t forget plenty storage and camera batteries.
A tripod is required to get shoot’s like this one.
If you are travelling by plane, chances are that an international carry-on bag will not fit in the cabin of a local flight to a small airport like Eastgate Airport in Hoedspruit, to my horror. It will fit under the seat but to your comfort cost. I have a Think Tank Airport Acceleration V2 and under the seat it just fits. I recommend that you check what kind of airplane you will be using and the maximum weight allowed on board.
Be ready for anything, choose your lens carefully before leaving, I typically leave with a 70-200mm early in the morning and switch to the 100-400mm when light permits. In the evening I apply the same reversed.
Set your camera to the highest continuous shooting mode it has, I also set my ISO to auto but be careful to check that it does not go too high. I also shoot entirely in RAW and mostly in Shutter Speed Priority.
I get asked why Shutter Speed Priority, it is really simple to avoid movement blur, unless I want it.
Slow shutter speeds will result in movement blur.
- The rangers
Talk to your ranger and try to sit behind him, you’ll get a better angle every time.
Framing can be achieved with your ranger’s help.
I hear a lot of criticism regarding flashes in wildlife photography, so I will let a couple of photos speak for themselves and let you decide…
But I think more important is to enjoy the experience and come back with some trophies.
On a personal note I would like to thank the rangers and staff of Kapama Main Lodge for their impeccable support and assistance.
Pascal's day job is as a technologist but you can mostly find him behind a camera after hours. As a passionate photographer he regularly shares his experiences with the world. From how-to to reviews you will find it all in his regularly updated blog and other places.