took my 500 f4 to Africa

Started Mar 17, 2007 | Discussions thread
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Bill Richardson
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took my 500 f4 to Africa
Mar 17, 2007
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Many thanks to those of you who advised me to take my 500 f4 to Africa. It was a huge asset. In response to to others who have posted threads asking for safari advice, I thought I would post some things I learned to help others planning a safari. So, for whatever it is worth, here are my thoughts. I took 2 cameras, a Canon 1Ds2 and a 5d. I put my 500 f4 on the 1Ds2 and used a 100-400 on my 5D. I also carried a 24-105 and 1.4x TC. I found it very worthwhile having 2 bodies ready so I could switch focal lengths without changing lenses. These 3 lenses were a fine combo. The TC was a big asset on the 500 too, especially when off roading was prohibited and long range shooting was unavoidable. Dust and contasty light are the 2 BIG problems. I carried garbage bags and covered my cameras as much as possible. I never had to clean my sensors in 3 weeks of shooting so it was effective. No solution for the light except we had some cloudy days and afternoon shooting which helped a lot. Shooting in RAW helped a great deal too. I used a rolled up blanket for a bean bag. Did not bring or miss a tripod. I brought bean bags but never used them. Nevertheless, I would bring one again and make sure it was big. Try to have as few people per vehicle as possible. Big lenses in vehicles magnify every movement. I used 2 Epson P4000's and downloaded to one and then a duplicate copy to the 2d one, worked fine. For the big glass, use a higher ISO and shutter priority to get as small an f stop as possible to increase DOF. If you see a predator stalking prey and it is closing in, focus on the prey, not the predator. The predator will be where the prey is eventually!! I blew a lion kill by focusing on the lion which then jumped out of the DOF--dang!! Things happen fast so prefocus. Bring a bunch of flashy ballpoint pens and tablets for the native kids, they will love them. Hope some of this helps. If you care to see a few photos, go to http://www.pbase.com/wfr2/image/75366730 and keep clicking NEXT. Hope you enjoy them. We went with Royal African Safaris (Tim Cornfield) and really enjoyed the experience. Bill

Bill Richardson
Barrington, IL (USA)

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