Spectacular photography while on safari is no longer the domain of professionals with complicated rigs. With some practice and the right equipment, you can capture the splendid array of wildlife at a Kalahari watering hole or even the moment a lioness takes down her prey.
Craig Glatthaar of eco-tourism outfitter Wilderness Safaris offers his advice for bringing the right camera to the bush:
“Super-zoom bridge cameras have improved greatly in recent years, like the Nikon P90 and the Canon Powershot SX40 IS. They offer an incredible focal range—from capturing that close-up of an elephant’s eye to Namibia’s dune landscape.
“For satisfying photography of birds and animals, a good SLR camera and telephoto lens is preferable. The new high-resolution digital cameras are outstanding and give superb quality images, especially if you are using a digital SLR camera body with interchangeable lenses.
“The leaders are Nikon and Canon and one cannot go wrong with either. Semi-professional camera bodies like the Nikon D300s, D7000 or the Canon 60D or 7D are very good choices. They are fairly light, easy to hold and all produce excellent results. Top of the range include the Nikon D4 or the Canon 1D MKIV or Canon 1DX—the ultimate in durability, high frames per second (ideal for capturing action scenes) and weather sealing; however, these are expensive and heavy to carry around.
“A second camera is a worthwhile consideration, as digital cameras do occasionally fail. Apart from providing backup it is also ideal to put a wide-angle lens on one and a telephoto on the other. The advantage of digital photography is that one can get instant feedback on images and adjustments can be made in the field to ensure that one’s photographs are correctly exposed.”
Craig Glatthaar has years of experience in tour operations as well as a degree in tourism management and a certificate in nature conservation. South Africa-based Wilderness Safaris is a luxury eco-tour operator and owns or manages more than 70 lodges in eight African countries and the Seychelles. The company is dedicated to conservation and education, and employs 85-percent of its 2,800 staff members from local communities.