**weekly wildlife 5/19-5/26**

Started May 19, 2013 | Discussions thread
NZ Scott
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Re: Safari advice
In reply to Paige Wood, May 22, 2013

Paige Wood wrote:

Hey Tony,

I really appreciate your detailed response. Thanks a lot. Much of it confirms some things I already suspected, such as the generally good quantity of light and the issue with dust. My camera and lens are not dustproof, so I might wrap them in a plastic bag or something to mitigate that problem.

I'm glad to hear that you've been getting good results with the 70-400, which is f5.6 at the long end. My 75-300 is only f6.7 at the long end, and I've been a bit worried about that.

Thanks again.

S

Hi Scott,

I live in SA, and also have a Field Guide qualification ( not my job now) but I did run an open vehicle in Kruger National park for 2 years, and have generally visted there at least twice per year ( for +40 yrs), and many other Parks, so I hope I can help.

If you are going to KNP or surrounds between May and October/ November, that is the dry season, so the bush is very much thinner and you can see a lot further. Rains normally start Oct/ Nov ( They can be very hot months as the humidity builds ) and then the bush looks lovely. The spread of game also changes - in winter there is a lot more game around water holes, in summer the pools are more spread, so is the game.

Once again the general rule in Africa for lenses is the longer the better, BUT, the practicality factor is very important. I have had Canons, Nikons, and at the moment a Sony A700, and I believe the best lens I have ever taken with me is the Sony 70-400G. I borrowed one from Sony and I never took it off the camera, and I was blown away by the quaality. It was also very manageable. I have had 300 2.8's and other big lenses, and the 70400G just did everything so well, I don't miss the others, except very rarely with very bad light. Generally the light is very good and you shouldn't have a hassle.

One thing to bear in mind that if you are going on an open vehicle in a group, you may have 10 on a vehicle - 3 x3 seats and one in the front ( if you are lucky less - PUSH for less ). This makes practicality very important. I found even 2 bodies if they are not well packed can be a space problem, and I did once see one of them take flight in an emergency stop. You need to be on one of the sides of the vehicle ( the middle is no good for photos ) and you need to chat to the driver beforehand and tell him you are a serious phtog, and he needs to trun off the engine when you see something good - they are often not sensitive to the vibration. You should also expect a lot of excited movement from passengers, so always tell them when you are ready - otherwise blurred shots.

I don't belive the hassle of a tripod in KNP or similar is worth it - the bean bag rules there - either in vehicles or in the bird hides. For me personally I now only take 2 lenses - a wide to moderate zoom eg in Sony 24 -70 or 16 - 80, and then the long zoom - for me 70400G. I don't know what your equiv would be in micro 4/3, but I guess something like 12 - 50 and 75-300, and ? a macro if you like that. Just remeber the dust can be very bad - you do NOT want to be changing lenses on an open vehicle if you don't have to.

If you are going to the Kalahari, then the dust is worse ( by far ) dust proof everything, and a longer lens really useful - and only then maybe a tripod.

Hope this is helpful. If you have any further queries, I'll do my best to help,

Cheers,

Tony

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