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07-23-2018, 08:12 AM   #1
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safari photography techiques sought

we visited Tanzania in 2016 and did the " Northern Safari Circuit "

we traveled in an expanded Toyata SUV with a pop up top and we could also take photos via the windows

I used bean bags and a bag pack as a support while standing and had the engine turned off when possible

we did a brief night safari in an open safari vehicle, no sides, and you attempted photos as you went along with only brief stops, engine running, and a spot light trying to illuminate the animals

____________________

our next trip is in late July of 2019, we will be visiting the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti again ( different type of camp in the Serengeti ) and ending in the Selous Game Reserve

we will have more time in an open safari vehicle, doing walking safari and on the water - lake/river

I know two rules apply

don't feed the animals - come back uninjured and alive

and obey the guide

_____________________________

any other thoughts, suggestions, proven techniques would be very welcome

especially from any one with experience from those who may have been in the Serengeti or the Selous Game Reserve or in photographing animals on foot, on the water and from an open safari vehicle

thanks

07-23-2018, 08:22 AM - 1 Like   #2
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I've never been on a safari, but at another photo discussion site I became involved in a discussion with an experiences safari guide - today he encourages those on his trips to think in terms of using 'M' mode with auto ISO; of course, on Pentax cameras that translates to 'TAv' mode. At first I thought he was crazy, but as he talked about wanting both to stop motion and to control DOF, I came to a new appreciation of how this can work on a modern camera, one that provides relatively high ISO settings gracefully.
07-23-2018, 08:28 AM   #3
Sorry for all this
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From a friend who just came back, her best recommendation is to rent a big nasty telephoto zoom
07-23-2018, 08:30 AM   #4
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If you are not just there for the big game, I spent a couple of years in Nairobi, well just outside it in Dagoretti as a child in the early 60's and found that there was a plethora of smaller animals, reptiles, insects and birds that were found close to wherever I happened to be, not just the game parks. Unfortunately there were also mosquitos, ticks and leeches.
I suggest you take a macro lens or quality prime for fun outside of the parks. One of the trees in our garden had a colony of Weaver birds and I wish I could have the time again with a digital camera.

07-23-2018, 08:37 AM   #5
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I guess I should list my equipment options

I have a K 3 and K 3 II which will make the trip and I may take this as well my Canon Powershot A1100 IS


my options regarding lenses include

PRIMES

SMC Pentax-DA 21mm F3.2 Limited
Kino Precision Japan Kiron 28mm F2 MC P/KA
SMC Pentax-DA 35mm F2.8 Macro Limited
SMC Pentax-DA 40mm F2.8 XS
SMC Pentax-DA 40mm F2.8 Limited
SMC Pentax-DA 50mm F1.8
SMC Pentax-D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro
SMC DA * 300mm F4 ED (IF ) SDM
_________________________

ZOOMS

HD Pentax-DA 16 - 85mm F3.5-5.6 WR
HD Pentax-D FA* 70-200mm F2.8 ED DC AW
HD Pentax-D FA 150-450mm F4.5 - 5.6 ED DC AW
__________________________

HD Pentax -DA AF rear converter 1.4 AW

________________________________________________________

one of my primary questions is how to hold the camera if I have one of the larger heavier lenses. on the Toyota no problem but in the open safari vehicle or a boat ???

not sure if a monopod would be allowed ( I have several to choose from )
07-23-2018, 08:54 AM   #6
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I was on a Safari trip in South Africa in 2007, but where on a game reserve with different type of terrain. It was most forrest area and less open space.

That ment we could get very close to the animals. And there where animals everywhere and at the end of the week I had closeups of all big five.

I did not feel much limited by having only up to 200mm on APS-C. I felt more limited by 16mm on the wide end.

One thing I appreciated was my monopod as it both stabilized the camera and it gave extra support during whole days of shooting sitting in the open Toyota land cruiser.
07-23-2018, 09:45 AM   #7
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My most recent ‘safari’ was west of Johannesburg about ten years ago, in my *istDS days when I shot long with the A70-210/f4. Got some decent pics too.
07-23-2018, 11:41 AM   #8
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My advice is don't get eaten. Becoming a part of the local food chain puts a cramp on your style...

07-23-2018, 12:17 PM - 3 Likes   #9
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Hi , I just returned from a trip to the Masai Mara, pop top vehicles monopod useless, bean bag or rolled up t shirt worked well for using the 150-450 with DA 1.4x added sometimes. On the open sided vehicles, I find the monopod useless and use my slouch back in the seat and use my knees as an extra support method, ungainly but effective. Never knowing where the animals will be in relation to your seat means whirling around with a monopod can be dangerous for your fellow travellers. I also used the knee technique from the boat. On the walking safaris a monopod would be handy to help carry the camera and telephoto over your shoulder as well as for stability when photographing. For lens choices you are well covered for telephotos, someone else suggested the macro which is a great idea and to cover the scenic shots your wide angle zoom looks ideal, my only other suggestion is perhaps a savings plan for the K1, I took a K1 and K3 which with most of your lenses would give give double duty with the focal lengths. Enjoy your safaris ,I love that no two days are ever the same and the photographer needs to be prepared for anything from a cheetah at 60 mph to a giraffe eating the treetops, I can't wait to return.
P.S. don't forget a few video shots as well, pentax does let you do both
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Last edited by garywakeling; 07-23-2018 at 12:39 PM.
07-23-2018, 01:42 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Thagomizer Quote
My advice is don't get eaten. Becoming a part of the local food chain puts a cramp on your style...
every night, upon return to the lodge, I would enter what we saw that day in the lodge's game book and would end with:


" and we followed the rules, we did not feed the animals, we returned alive "
07-24-2018, 03:47 AM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by garywakeling Quote
. . . pop top vehicles monopod useless, bean bag or rolled up t shirt worked well for using the 150-450 with DA 1.4x added sometimes. On the open sided vehicles, I find the monopod useless and use my slouch back in the seat and use my knees as an extra support method, ungainly but effective. Never knowing where the animals will be in relation to your seat means whirling around with a monopod can be dangerous for your fellow travellers. I also used the knee technique from the boat. On the walking safaris a monopod would be handy to help carry the camera and telephoto over your shoulder as well as for stability when photographing. For lens choices you are well covered for telephotos, someone else suggested the macro which is a great idea and to cover the scenic shots your wide angle zoom looks ideal, my only other suggestion is perhaps a savings plan for the K1, I took a K1 and K3 which with most of your lenses would give give double duty with the focal lengths. . . .
this is great info and very helpful

thanks

I have the SMC Pentax-D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro and the SMC Pentax-DA 35mm F2.8 Macro Limited

will have to consider the K 1, perhaps a rental, but I am not that interested in a FF


now if I won the raffle


but I would have to enter it to win it


and I'm not entering


I think

Last edited by aslyfox; 07-24-2018 at 04:02 AM.
07-24-2018, 05:40 AM - 1 Like   #12
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I have to admit

I have thought about this type of thing occurring when traveling in Africa in a open safari vehicle




thank god, no one panicked and ran

you don't run from a carnivore

you become " prey " then

I hope the guy trying to get a photo when both he and the lion are in the vehicle had a very wide angle lens

____________________________________

I've been too close to sow bears and cubs in Yellowstone and to Bison and calves there

but no way do I want to get as close to cape buffalo or predators or hippos in Africa

we will have to see

trust your guide

and don't run

Last edited by aslyfox; 07-24-2018 at 05:45 AM.
07-27-2018, 08:30 AM - 2 Likes   #13
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The above video is rather a dangerous exercise, and there have been 1 too many reports of people being mauled by lions. It is wise to stick to a secure vehicle though that my not be so applicable to Elephants.

I'll contribute to this with one thought and that is to consider doing your own driving. It gives you much more flexibility, though of course (for Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti) you will need to have experience driving a 4X4. You will not need a tripod or monopod, and a bean bag will suffice or if you can manage it, a window mounted tripod or some such gadget.

I have not been on a Safari myself, and my experience is confined to the Game Reserves of South Africa, Kruger Park, Addo Elephant National Park, Pilansberg National Park and I have been once to Hluhluwe-Umfolozi. In the over 30 years of visiting these Game Reserves, I have had quite a bit of interaction with Safari operators, with more than one being too obnoxious for words. There are of course advantages to this route, the major one being that they can virtually guarantee you sighting of the big 5, as they (usually) work out an animal's territory and can usually find them in a very short time. BUT, and it is a big but, they are often more restrictive in movements, time and space. And as Skodadriver said, there are a host of smaller animals that are well worth a sighting, Safari operators think that everyone wants to see the big 5.

I have done some night drives on these open vehicles, and a tripod/monopod is quite useless, and a bean bag is much more suitable. That is if you get enough time to take a decent shot. In that regard the SR is a boon!

Doing a self drive option has more advantages imho, not least of which can be unique sightings, or spending more time at a sighting.

Regrettably, there are no companies that hire Pentax Lenses, only Nikon and Canon in South Africa. So the idea of renting a big lens in SA is not an option, and I dare say, the same applies to Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti, so my suggestion would be minimum a 300mm lens with a x1.4 or x2 teleconverter. That is if you are restricted with weight issues when travelling and cannot bring with you a 500mm or longer lens. This really is ideal. Being in my own car and country, I can afford the luxury of taking all my kit with me.

Explore the option of doing a self drive, which I know is possible in Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti.

My two cents worth- That is in South African Currency, which does not even come close to being an America 1 cent
08-07-2018, 02:32 PM   #14
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Our Tanzanian safari was 2006...Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater. We were in a very nice tent camp in Serengeti for 5 days, 2 days at Ngorongoro, and 4 days further south in Serengeti. This was great as it allowed us to have morning and afternoon game drives without unpacking/repacking each day or so. I broke my foot in the lodge at Ngorongoro...while that was a bit of a bummer on the trip, it's made for a great story for all the years afterward! We just bundled it up and carried on.


The big zoom will be your best friend. If you are in tent camps, bring a few extra charged batteries...the electricity was limited for us and we only charged batteries sporadically.
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