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PhotographySafari Tips

Choosing camera equipment

By 21st Sep 2016 No Comments

Part of an African safari is taking photographs to share with friends and family back home, but also to enable you to relive the experience … again and again.
The Camp Jabulani experience provides beautiful images for your memory bank and in this new monthly blog we will be providing tips on how to achieve this. Please bear in mind that our blog will provide a general overview. The Internet has a wealth of information for serious photographers wanting detailed information. We will pass on the tips of our own rangers, but will also include the advice of professional photographers.

Gertjie the rhino and Lammie the ‘mother sheep’. Camera: Samsung NX3000, 70-200mm lens | Aperture f/5.6 | Shutter speed 1/250 | ISO 400

To inspire you, we will be sharing photographs taken by our rangers who are all keen photographers. Besides being able to give good advice, they will also be able to help should you encounter a problem with a camera setting. And to capture that special moment of you with our elephants, both our rangers and grooms will always be at hand.
But let’s get down to it:

  • In choosing the appropriate camera equipment for your visit, remember it’s not necessary to buy the biggest and the best. This won’t make you a better photographer. If used creatively and correctly, basic equipment can provide beautiful and quality photographs.
  • You don’t need more or better gear. You need to learn and practise photography – and learn how to use your camera.
  • A digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera is the camera of choice of most wildlife photographers. The brand and model is a personal choice, mostly dictated by budget.
  • Good advice: most cameras currently in the market are superb. However, cameras have a shorter life cycle than lenses. Invest in a better lens verses spending the extra cash on the latest and greatest camera body.
  • The quality of small cameras is so good nowadays that with a small single lens reflex (SLR) camera you will also be able to take excellent photographs. The compact size and light weight makes them ideal for air travel.
  • A tip for parents travelling with children: a cheap, basic digital camera will provide endless fun and keep them clicking away happily too.


Lion cub. Camera: Samsung NX3000, 70-200mm lens | Aperture: f/5.6 | Shutter speed 1/250 | ISO 800

  • Digital technology has become the format of choice of most of our guests.
  • Because animals are mostly viewed at close range at Camp Jabulani, long lenses are also not necessarily required and a 70-200 mm lens is usually sufficient.
  • However, for bird photography one would want that longer lens and an auto-focusing lens of at least 300 mm is recommended.
  • While long lenses give excellent close-up views of animals, your picture won’t really tell a story – you’ll lose the overall impact of the animal in the landscape. Consider a standard lens (55 mm) or wide angle lenses (from 55 mm to 30 mm) to capture the animal as well as the landscape. In this way you’ll capture the troop of mongooses on a termite mound or an elephant striping the bark off a tree in a woody area, allowing you to remember the scene and not just the animal.
  • Because game viewing mostly takes place in low light either early in the morning or late afternoon / early evening, we recommend a camera with low-light capabilities. You must be able to adjust the ISO. High ISO allows you to take photos in low light situations, increasing the situations of when and where you can take photos. Otherwise, if available, set your camera to ISO Auto and the camera will take care of the problem.
  • A tripod is always recommended for wildlife photography. A beanbag will also do to rest your camera on the side of the vehicle and remember to ask your ranger to switch off the engine.
  • For making a picture book after your holiday, a camera with high megapixels is more appropriate as photographs will have a higher resolution and less grain when you enlarge them.
  • Don’t forget your memory card and don’t underestimate how many pictures you’ll be taking. In this regard, bigger is mostly better.
  • As a final point: keep your camera battery charged. If you miss that ultimate shot, you’ll never forgive yourself!


More tips will follow next month.

Leopard. Camera: Samsung NX3000, 70-200mm lens | Apeture f/5 | Shutter speed 1/125 | ISO 320

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