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


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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04-02-2009, 05:04 AM   #2
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Wow thanks for sharing! Those are stunning shots.

- Andrew
04-02-2009, 05:27 AM   #3
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Thanks for your evaluation, very useful. And great pictures, looking forward to more.

Do you by any chance have a picture, to show how big the 16-50/2.8 looks on the K-m ?
04-02-2009, 06:33 AM   #4
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Outstanding shots - and thanks for the info.

04-02-2009, 07:14 AM   #5
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Looks like we have many great days ahead of us reviewing your photo's. Great start. JIM
04-02-2009, 07:25 AM   #6
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Great stuff, cant wait to see more. Its a shame you couldnt use the DA*200 more, that lens just pops the colors right off of the screen.
04-02-2009, 08:14 AM   #7
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Nice images! Thanks for sharing.
04-02-2009, 08:21 AM   #8
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Beautiful shots, love that last one.

04-02-2009, 08:30 AM   #9
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Thanks for sharing your experience and pictures. They are excellent shots especially the closeup shots with the DA* 300 and 1.7x TC.
04-02-2009, 12:40 PM   #10
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Great shots, and special thanks to your review concerning the circumstances and the gear used!
04-02-2009, 01:18 PM   #11
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Hi tcom

I subscribed to your other thread last year when you went in dry season - I'm off to this area in June and have followed these threads with great interest and have found the info very helpful.

Great shots - I will be very pleased if any of mine turn out nearly as well as these.

04-02-2009, 01:45 PM   #12
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Great shots, can't wait to see more! Hope you had a good time. Whenever I see photos from Africa and Madagascar I always hear the words "You Freaks!" (King Julian from Madagascar).

Last edited by ajuett; 04-02-2009 at 02:04 PM.
04-02-2009, 02:00 PM   #13
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it must have been wonderful to be there and capture these great moments..
most of us live vicariously through national geographic....
please post more...
04-03-2009, 12:55 AM   #14
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Original Poster
Thank you for all your comments.

I am nearly through sorting all the photos, I will soon start uploading them to my webpages, and post some photos in this forum.

Lee: do not take my equipment list by the word, neither on this trip nor on the last trip. I found the equipment list has really to be adapted to the season. A macro lens is more usefull in the green season than in the dry season. The extreme teles are really useful in the green season when there are a lot of birds around, otherwise, something up to 300/400mm should be enough.

ajuett: yes, I had a great time. The first two days were heavy raining, but after that, we had some great sunny days with a lots of animals, each day a bit more animals as the parc was drying up.

dcmsox: a safari is always wonderful.

I have to had that this was a very special tour, going on a safari in the rainy season. This is not a tour for everyone, I would really recommend to those interested to get first in the dry season and make your mind if you do really want to take a tour where the weather makes the plan for you about what to see and how to visit the parc. One really needs to be very flexible in the rainy season.
04-03-2009, 01:26 AM   #15
Damn Brit

Dominique, what a great selection, I love that last one.

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