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Back from Zambia, what worked, what didn't and first photos...
Posted By: tcom, 04-02-2009, 04:12 AM

Hello

I am just back from a 10 days safari to the South Luangwa National Park in Zambia during the green season.

I finally decided to take the following equipment:
  • 2 K20D
  • K-m
  • DA*16-50/2.8
  • DA*50-135/2.8
  • DA*200/2.8
  • DA*300/4
  • TC 1.7x
  • Gitzo tripod

What worked
  • the weather sealing of the cameras and lenses worked perfectly and were heavily tested in the heavy rains of the first days
  • the rain removed the dust bringing out much more colors and details than the dry season
  • the equipment list was already too long so I decided to leave the macro lens at home and use the DA*300 for closeups. Thankfully, the toads, dragonflies, damselflies, butterflies, lizards and flowers are not too small in Zambia. The use of the DA*300 was especially useful when approaching the dragonflies and butterflies.
  • a huge amount of birds, around 140 species to be seen, some unfortunately too far away or too small.

What did not work / was not needed
  • with 3 bodies, I wanted to limit the lens swapping, but I was constantly adding/removing the 1.7x TC from the DA*300
  • I nearly not used the tripod at all. Using the tripod on the vehicule was not easy, especially as I was not the only on the vehicule. Especially when using the DA*300 with the 1.7x TC, I could see every shake of the vehicule. I prefered to handheld the camera when on the tripod. In the evenings, it was either heavily raining, or I was in a camp in the middle of the National Park where you are not allowed to get outside the tent once it is dark
  • I did not use the DA*200/2.8 frequently. On night drives in the green season, you do see much less animals than in the dry season. During the day, the animals are mostly either too far or too close for the DA*200
  • as the equipment list was already too long, I decided to leave the AF540FGZ at home and rely on the spot light during night drives. Well, that was a mistake, the spot light was this time much weaker than on the last stay
  • the animals did not have to come to the river as there was water in the whole national park. They were also able to hide easily in the green bushes and tall grass



I do now have to sort and process 1500 RAW photos (around 20Gb). Here a first few shots:

K-m, DA*16-50


K20D, DA*300


K20D, DA*300 + 1.7x TC


K20D, DA*300


K20D, DA*16-50


K20D, DA*200


K20D, DA*300

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04-03-2009, 10:04 AM   #16
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A great series. Sounds like a great adventure you went on. Can not wait to see the rest

04-03-2009, 10:21 AM   #17
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Hi Dominique,

Great shots - look forward to more images!



I was curious as to what your experiences would be during a rainy season visit! Two questions:
  1. Were you part of a smaller group, did any vehicles have setups for rooftop shooting, etc.?
  2. Did you have available power for recharging, or...?
For the benefit of others: many safari related outfits clarify the rainy/dry seasons and the best viewing opps for certain kinds of wildlife (depending on the region/country). Some parks are better suited for this too.

Regards,
Marc
04-03-2009, 10:37 AM   #18
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Langille Quote
Hi Dominique,

Great shots - look forward to more images!



I was curious as to what your experiences would be during a rainy season visit! Two questions:
  1. Were you part of a smaller group, did any vehicles have setups for rooftop shooting, etc.?
  2. Did you have available power for recharging, or...?
For the benefit of others: many safari related outfits clarify the rainy/dry seasons and the best viewing opps for certain kinds of wildlife (depending on the region/country). Some parks are better suited for this too.

Regards,
Marc
Well, I was part of a small group, we were 6 people plus a guide.

The vehicles in the South Luangwa do not have a roof, here is a photo of the vehicle, with our local guide and spotter:



As for power for recharging, plan to take enough batteries. A stay is generally splitted in a stay at a lodge and a bushcamp. The lodge does normally have power, while the bushcamps normally do not have power.

I had power on the first days at the lodge. Then, at the bushcamp, they had solar panels and converters to recharge batteries. Finally back at the lodge, the power has gone as the high water level of the river washed away a pylon of the power line bringing electricity to the region.
04-04-2009, 11:44 AM   #19
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Looks awesome! I love that shot with the grass and trees- when I looked at it for some reason I felt IMMEDIATELY at home! I guess I need to move to Zambia hahah, who knew?!

04-04-2009, 11:50 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by Hannican Quote
Looks awesome! I love that shot with the grass and trees- when I looked at it for some reason I felt IMMEDIATELY at home! I guess I need to move to Zambia hahah, who knew?!
But do not forget how that look like in the dry season.

Dry season:


Wet season:


These shots were not taken exactly at the same place, but it is the same road, the difference between these two shots are around 200m and 6 months.
04-04-2009, 12:44 PM   #21
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Beautiful photographs, very impressive throughout!
04-04-2009, 01:43 PM   #22
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Beautiful shots! Beautiful colours. I look forward to seeing more of your shots.
Well Done!

04-08-2009, 03:55 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by tcom Quote
But do not forget how that look like in the dry season.

Dry season:


Wet season:


These shots were not taken exactly at the same place, but it is the same road, the difference between these two shots are around 200m and 6 months.
Striking difference. It must be fascinating, seeing the place in two different seasons. Looking forward to more pictures
04-08-2009, 04:34 PM   #24
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Great photos! I have a classmate that is from Zambia.
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