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Trip around the Kalahari
Photo Location: Namibia and Botswana 
Posted By: tcom, 04-14-2010, 12:10 AM

Hi

I am back from a wonderful 3 weeks trip around the Kalahari desert.

The tour started in Windhoek and headed south for the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Parc (KTP). Then, we left that parc for a few days in the Kaa Concession area and ended with the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR), including mostly the Deception Valley.

The first week was very hot and dry (making it really dusty), the other two weeks showed us that the rainy season was not over. A rain or thunderstorm at midday or in the evening was likely. This washed away the dust, but humidity raised, up to the level of having quite dense mist on early mornings.

I finally decided to take the following equipment:
  • 2 K-7
  • DA12-24/4
  • DFA100/2.8 WR
  • DA*200/2.8
  • DA*60-250/4
  • TC 1.7x
  • Solarpanel with powermodule and Ansmann Vario Pro charger to charge the K-7 batteries when away from power supply.
  • Netbook

What worked well
  • The weather sealing of both K-7 and the weather sealed lens worked perfectly. Even in such conditions, I never had any dust on the sensor[
  • With the help of the 26W solar panel, a power module and the ansmann vario pro, I could charge all my batteries (K-7, AA batteries for GPS and the battery of the netbook). I even charged the batteries of other people in the group.
  • All lens delivered great IQ.
  • Quite frequent use of high FPS was really helpful to follow actions such as playing lions
  • Sorting the RAW photos on the netbook in the evening was not quite fast, but still very usable. I do now have to sort "just" out of 800 shots, while I did really take over 2500 shots.

What did not work as expected
  • DA12-24 does not zoom so smoothly anymore, so weather sealing seem to make the difference
  • Because of the dust and rain, the DA*16-50 would have been the better choice than the DA12-24.
  • As it is not allowed to leave the car while in the national parcs, composing nice wide angle landscapes with the DA12-24 is not as easy.
  • Normally, on such a safari, I took both DA*200 and DA*300. This time, I took the DA*60-250 and DA*200 instead. I was quite surprised that the DA*60-250 was not what I expected. When taking a wild animal with a prime lens, if you are too close for the used focal length, you take a detailed shot or portrait shot, if you are too distance for the used focal length, you try to show not only the animal but also the surroundings. When using the 60-250, you always hesitated in taking a detailed shot or a shot showing the animal in its surroundings.
  • The 1.7x TC on the DA*60-250 takes too much light on early morning and late afternoon shots.
  • On many occasions, I missed a longer lens. I do really wish a prime lens in the 500mm region. Hopefully Pentax will soon bring a lens going beyond 300mm, or I might well take the Sigma 500/4.5.


Last edited by tcom; 04-27-2010 at 09:41 AM.
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04-14-2010, 12:12 AM   #2
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I am not yet ready to start the whole photo thread, but here are two photos (out of the remaining 800 photos I still need to sort and process) to make a start and hopefully shorten the wait:



04-14-2010, 01:16 AM   #3
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What a fantastic trip and photo opp!!! These photos are spectacular...the first one is stupendous...can't wait to see the rest!
04-14-2010, 04:41 PM   #4
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wow...looks like u had fun...thanks for sharing

04-14-2010, 05:19 PM   #5
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Dominique, the playing lions is really a great shot! It looks like you made the most of your trip.

Thanks for the breakdown of what worked and what didn't. I think I would have to make a series investment into WR lenses if I was to do such a trip.

QuoteOriginally posted by tcom Quote
Sorting the RAW photos on the netbook in the evening was not quite fast, but still very usable. I do now have to sort "just" out of 800 shots, while I did really take over 2500 shots.
Did you backup to the netbook and keep your photos also on memory cards? Or did you erase the cards to use them over. In that case, did you have a second backup?
04-14-2010, 11:06 PM   #6
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Thank you all for the comments. It will still take a while sorting and processing all the photos. As I am back to work, I do also not have that much time. Hopefully I can start posting more photos after the weekend.

rparmar: weather sealed lenses are definitely very useful on such a trip. The only not weather sealed lens (the DA12-24) does not zoom anymore as smooth as before the trip, all the other lenses are fine.

In the evenings, I copied all the photos of the day from the memory cards to the netbook. I did a first sorting on the netbook, it's useable, irfanview with plugin to display PEF files needing around 1-2s to load an image. I left all the photos on the memory cards. So, if either memory card or netbook should have failed, I would not loose much (in fact either the photos of the day, or the sorting).
04-15-2010, 01:14 AM   #7
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Wow, I hope to see a lot more of these, the photo of the lions really does look amazing.

The second one is OK, but I can see fog where I live. Where's the giraffe!
04-17-2010, 04:55 AM   #8
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jct: I can see fog also where I live, but I was not aware that I could encounter fog in the largest sand desert of the world. In fact, fog is really unusual, a lodge manager told us, it is the very first time he sees fog, and added that he was born there.

04-17-2010, 05:00 AM   #9
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Well, I am not completely through sorting and processing all the photos, but I can start the photo thread (all photos with K-7).

23rd March: Windhoek - Bagatelle Game Ranch

I landed in early morning at the airport of Windhoek (Namibia) and after the immigration procedures, I met the local guide, and the trip began. On the first day, we did not drive too much, just headed south to a nice lodge to stay for the night, the Bagatelle Game Ranch. In the late afternoon, we took our first game drive within the game ranch of the lodge:

1
DA12-24, 1/125s f/8.0 at 21.0mm iso100


2
DA*200, 1/400s f/5.0 at 200.0mm iso100
04-17-2010, 05:01 AM   #10
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3
DA*200, 1/500s f/4.0 at 200.0mm iso100


4 The typical Kalahari animal, the Oryx
DA*60-250, 1/250s f/5.6 at 98.0mm iso100
04-17-2010, 05:02 AM   #11
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First sundowner in Africa on this trip

5
DA*12-24, 1/60s f/8.0 at 12.0mm iso100


To be continued...
04-17-2010, 05:29 AM   #12
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reminds me of 'born free'.... thanks for sharing !! dave n
04-17-2010, 06:50 AM   #13
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I've enjoyed what you have show so far, TFS ...and I hope to see more.
04-17-2010, 07:01 AM   #14
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Dominique, I am loving this series. Please keep them coming. Beautiful shots. The colors in the last one are stunning.
04-17-2010, 07:05 AM   #15
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Thanks for the comments.

24th March: Bagatelle Game Ranch to border of South Africa

This morning, we take another game drive on the game ranch and leave the ranch after that for the trip to the border of South Africa.

6
DA12-24, 1/250s f/7.1 at 12.0mm iso100


7 Giraffes
DA*60-250, 1/125s f/5.0 at 250.0mm iso100

Last edited by tcom; 04-17-2010 at 07:12 AM.
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