Dallas Dahms

Dallas Dahms

Lives in South Africa Durban, South Africa
Works as a Photographer
Joined on Jul 29, 2010
About me:

Professional photographer who also runs photo safaris to Africa.

Comments

Total: 22, showing: 1 – 20
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On Adobe now offers Photoshop and Lightroom for everyone news story (625 comments in total)

I would buy this, except when I tried to sign up Adobe says that because I am in South Africa I have to pay $29.99 per month.

I say screw that.

Direct link | Posted on Nov 26, 2013 at 05:48 UTC as 21st comment
On Gearing Up For An African Safari article (79 comments in total)

If there are any interested persons, we have 2 suites available for this trip for our next safari. The dates are 1-8 August, 2013 and because of the falling value of the Rand, this trip is now much cheaper than ever before (less than US$4300 per person sharing).

If you'd like to join us, please contact me on this address for all the details.

Direct link | Posted on May 20, 2013 at 12:49 UTC as 5th comment

Windows = Fail

Most photographers use Mac. Unless of course they have sado-masochistic tendencies.

Direct link | Posted on May 14, 2013 at 03:26 UTC as 23rd comment | 6 replies
On Gearing Up For An African Safari article (79 comments in total)
In reply to:

Fahd: Thank you for the advice!

I am planning on an African MIGRATION safari. And currently have and planning to take my D50 with 70-300/5.6 AFS VR. Should I also take a TC along? Or is this sufficient reach?

Unfortunately, the f/2.8 telephotos are out of my budget.

I don't think the TC's work on that lens, unfortunately. Have you considered renting a lens and camera for your trip? For many its a once in a lifetime thing, so you should consider getting the best equipment you can for it.

Direct link | Posted on May 8, 2013 at 09:54 UTC
On Gearing Up For An African Safari article (79 comments in total)

Those of you who might be considering a trip to Africa to photograph the Big 5 might be interested in reading my account of last year's trip on our site:

http://nikongear.com/live/index.php?/topic/47573-the-2012-ultimate-big-5-safari-report-part-1/

This will be a series of a few posts showing readers what to expect from one of our trips. You can book on our trips here: http://www.photographers.travel/the-ultimate-big-5-safari/

Direct link | Posted on Feb 5, 2013 at 17:36 UTC as 7th comment
On Gearing Up For An African Safari article (79 comments in total)

On my latest trip I used the new Sigma 120-300mm 2.8 OS, which I have reviewed on my site: http://www.photographers.travel/sigma_120-300mm_2-8_os/

You can also see quite a few of the images taken with that one as well as the Olympus OM-D E-M5 on this last safari.

Direct link | Posted on Dec 12, 2012 at 09:56 UTC as 8th comment
On Gearing Up For An African Safari article (79 comments in total)
In reply to:

Ellen16: Dallas,
Thanks for your informative posts. I am headed to Tanzania (crater, Mara River area and last few days on private reserve) in a couple of weeks.
I have my equipment lined up but would really value your input on two other things...
1) How do you keep the beanbag from falling out of the vehicle? Any tricks?
2) Any suggestions for photo composition when it comes to wildlife that is there?
Appreciate any/all ideas.
Ellen

Hi Ellen, sorry for taking so long to reply.

On your questions;

1) the beanbags we give our safarians are basically two sacks that are sewn together, so you can balance it on the window of your vehicle. However, that doesn't guarantee they won't fall out, so perhaps consider tying a piece of string to it and the other end to your belt loop. If it does fall out and there are no animals around you just need to ask your ranger to stop the vehicle and they will either retrieve it for you or let you do it yourself - provided there are no predators around, obviously!

2) That's such a broad question! Essentially you don't get too much say in the way the animals pose, but if you are with a photo group your ranger will know where the best position for the vehicle in relation to the light is. When we go on safari we always ask for rangers who are photographers themselves. This makes a big difference.

Hope you have a great trip!

Direct link | Posted on Jul 20, 2012 at 08:57 UTC
On Gearing Up For An African Safari article (79 comments in total)
In reply to:

yagizneo: Hi

I will be going to a safari in a private game reserve at South Africa. Im perplexed at the lens I should purchase/rent for this trip. My camera body is nikon D90 and I already have a 18-200mm lens.

My considerations are either
1) sigma 120-400mm lens OR
2) nikon 70-200mm f2.8

I have never tried sigma lens before. The nikon 70-200 impressed me because of its clarity and speed.
Can anyone advice which option should I take to bring it for the private game reserve?

Thank you in advance!

The 70-200mm 2.8 VR is a good choice for the private reserves. If you can also bring along a 2x TC you will be well covered for that kind of trip.

Enjoy the safari!

Direct link | Posted on Jul 20, 2012 at 08:50 UTC
On Gearing Up For An African Safari article (79 comments in total)
In reply to:

starwolfy: Nikon D700
Sigma 12-24mm
Sigma 70-200mm 2.8
Sigma 120-300mm 2.8
Sigma 2x tele-converter
Sigma 150mm 2.8 Macro
Apple 13" MacBook (w/power supply, card reader & mouse)
5 x CF cards of varying sizes
Sony Camcorder + 5 miniDV tapes

=> Isn't it too much? I mean...why not just take the 12-24 + 70-200 with x2 converter? 70-200 + 150 + 120-300 seem to be overkill.

I was supplied with the older, non-OS version and I found it a bit difficult to work with compared to the 70-200mm 2.8 OS + 2x TC.

In the run-up to last years trip I did use it to do some surfing photos from a pier and found it to be more than capable. However, that particular lens did NOT like being attached to a 2x TC. Very soft images which was super disappointing.

I am hoping to get the newer OS version for testing fairly soon.

Direct link | Posted on Dec 6, 2011 at 05:54 UTC
On Gearing Up For An African Safari article (79 comments in total)
In reply to:

DerekBez: On my last trip to Kruger - about a year ago - I took a small laptop, with the plan of moving the day's images onto the hard drive. I didn't calc HDD size correctly as I was shooting 4GB to 8GB per day, and filled up the laptop's drive three days short. Had to cut back shooting towards the end of the trip. Should got that external drive!

70-200mm + 2x extender was completely adequate most of the time. Bigger would have been better for birds. Beanbag or hand-held with the moderately light lens was great for swinging around inside the car. Easy to fly with, and a normal-size backpack means less conspicuous in civilization.

The year before I went with a Sigma 50-500mm to Kruger and came back with a damaged hand from holding it.

Yup! Something I forgot to mention was digital storage, so I will cover that in a follow-up article.

On the trips we have done so far our guests shot on average 10GB's per day. If you can afford it buy more cards and use fresh ones every day rather than relying on external drives for storage. Those are prone to failure and we have had a few guests experience drive failure on safari.

Direct link | Posted on Dec 2, 2011 at 09:19 UTC
On Gearing Up For An African Safari article (79 comments in total)
In reply to:

WengLim: Safari locations are incredibly dusty. I cannot imagine constantly switching teleconvertors in the jeep is going to help with the sensor.

I found a Canon 7D + 500mm (eq 800mm) & 1D IV + 100-400mm (eq 130-520mm) & mobile phone camera covered everything I needed. Oh, and a 64gb cf cards.

No desperately changing lenses while the action is going on, no sensor dust problems.

Sure, there will always be images 'out of reach', but heat haze will mess up anything longer, as I found to my cost on a previous safari.

Our trips are specifically for photography, so there is no rushing around and there are also no traffic issues on the private reserves. When we come across a sighting we position ourselves in the best location for the light and we wait for the action to happen.

Good rangers will also be able to "read" the animal behaviour and will know when something is going to do down. It's definitely not a scramble (unless you happen to be in the way of a charging elephant or rhino, in which case taking pictures is probably not in the forefront of your mind!).

Direct link | Posted on Dec 2, 2011 at 09:15 UTC
On Gearing Up For An African Safari article (79 comments in total)
In reply to:

IvanM: For the less well heeled the are much more affordable choices available and the Kruger Park is one of them. Rent two bed bungaloes inside Kruger for about 125 usd per night. Hire a car to give you flexibility.

We visited the park for three days and we saw almost everything, lions, leopard, elephant, crocodiles, buffalo etc.

For equipment I had a full frame body and a half frame as a backup. Lenses a 70-300L IS which covered most of my shooting and use it on the half frame to get a 480mm reach.... more than enough, lightweight and much more affordable than a 400mm f2.8 and you don't need a monopod, tripod or a Wimberley head... I didn't get a chance to buy a bean bag and managed just fine without it. I also took a 24-105L but never really used it.

As for dust, driving in your own car makes lens changes a much less dusty affair.

Have a look at my website on www.ivanmuller.co.za to see what one can shoot for very little and in a very short time in the Kruger Park on a budget..

You simply cannot compare a self-drive in the KNP with a private safari in one of the neighbouring Sabi Sands reserves. It's a completely different experience.

Not all the private lodges are unaffordable and we do offer several options to visitors coming from abroad.

Direct link | Posted on Dec 2, 2011 at 09:08 UTC
On Gearing Up For An African Safari article (79 comments in total)
In reply to:

starwolfy: Nikon D700
Sigma 12-24mm
Sigma 70-200mm 2.8
Sigma 120-300mm 2.8
Sigma 2x tele-converter
Sigma 150mm 2.8 Macro
Apple 13" MacBook (w/power supply, card reader & mouse)
5 x CF cards of varying sizes
Sony Camcorder + 5 miniDV tapes

=> Isn't it too much? I mean...why not just take the 12-24 + 70-200 with x2 converter? 70-200 + 150 + 120-300 seem to be overkill.

I took the lenses for evaluation purposes for Sigma.

Direct link | Posted on Dec 2, 2011 at 09:05 UTC
On Gearing Up For An African Safari article (79 comments in total)
In reply to:

ABDurbs: A great article Dallas, and IMO spot on. The least equipment you can get away with is always best when travelling anywhere.

For me the biggest benefit when going on safari to a South African private reserve is you don't need a long, heavy lens to get the action - you could almost get away with a good P&S. That said, if you are spending the sort of money you will be then take a good DSLR body,3 good fast lenses, a good P&S and of course lots of data cards. I like that you took a separate camcorder Dallas.

The difference between private and national reserves is huge. Can't really be compared when it comes to photography, as you already know.

All our trips are engineered with photography in mind and so far the Sabi Sands is just about as good as it gets for photos. Not only do the guides drive us around, we also do walking trips with them and those are absolutely thrilling!

Direct link | Posted on Nov 24, 2011 at 10:48 UTC
On Gearing Up For An African Safari article (79 comments in total)
In reply to:

Ozonation: There was a recent article in Luminous Landscape where the photographer decided to go with a M4/3 system for long range photos and a Leica medium format for short range and landscape photos and thought it worked much better. Given his experiences, he argued that hauling, clamping, and constantly connecting was just too much trouble, and that a M4/3 allow far more flexibility and comfort.

... not that I'm personally going on a photo safari any time soon (although I'd like to... )

If you go and have a look at the images on our gallery you'll see why high ISO is important. On our trips we are up before the sun and we also do afternoon/evening drives where the light disappears quickly.

I have also bought into the m43 scene this year and will definitely take my E-P2 along on next year's trip.

BTW, depending on the place you go, reach is not always that important. Sabi Sands is a private reserve and you will get VERY close to the animals there.

Direct link | Posted on Nov 24, 2011 at 10:41 UTC
On Gearing Up For An African Safari article (79 comments in total)
In reply to:

cary smith: Basically good advice.
But - D300 would be better for telephoto work than D700.
And, one, only one, body??? What if it fails? Happened to me on safari with D200, glad I also had a D40X.

cary

Oh yea, for sure. The ranger guides on our safaris are photographers too and this is a massive advantage for us.

Direct link | Posted on Nov 24, 2011 at 10:36 UTC
On Gearing Up For An African Safari article (79 comments in total)
In reply to:

Puneet Vikram Singh: seems only rich can afford wild life photography :(

That depends on your definition of "rich".

Our Big 5 trip to Sabi Sabi next year is getting cheaper by the day as the Rand continues to slide against major currencies. As it currently stands a person sharing on this trip will only pay $4320 excluding international airfare to JHB. This is an 8 day trip. Check our site for the full trip itinerary.

Direct link | Posted on Nov 24, 2011 at 06:40 UTC
On Gearing Up For An African Safari article (79 comments in total)
In reply to:

Ozonation: There was a recent article in Luminous Landscape where the photographer decided to go with a M4/3 system for long range photos and a Leica medium format for short range and landscape photos and thought it worked much better. Given his experiences, he argued that hauling, clamping, and constantly connecting was just too much trouble, and that a M4/3 allow far more flexibility and comfort.

... not that I'm personally going on a photo safari any time soon (although I'd like to... )

It's an interesting approach, but I think that the IQ on m43 compared to something like an FX Nikon will find you wanting more, especially when you are shooting at ISO 6400.

Direct link | Posted on Nov 24, 2011 at 06:23 UTC
On Gearing Up For An African Safari article (79 comments in total)
In reply to:

Joe Federer: I went on safari with a D300 and a 18-200 and was definitely focal-length-limited at times. But realistically, the times I was focal-length-limited were times when even a 400 or 600 wouldn't have done the job.

Neil, I like your comment about making photos with your own memory, because this is something that we as photographers often forget to do.

Point in case was on our trip last year. The photo of the yawning cheetah above was taken at dusk. It was the 1st day and 1st drive of our week long stay at Sabi Sabi, so we were all really excited to see what the drive would hold. This cat had woken up from a long sleep when he spied a small group of Impala on the other side of a white rhino and calf. Our rangers didn't think he was going to launch an attack as he had hunted just the day before, but slowly he made his way around the rhino and before you could say Boo! he was at full speed trying to nab one of them. I decided that a moment like this was one that I would rather experience with my mind than with a camera pressed against my face in the hope of getting a frame in really poor light.

The cheetah missed, but boy, did we have something awesome to talk about for the rest of the trip! :-)

Direct link | Posted on Nov 24, 2011 at 06:17 UTC
On Gearing Up For An African Safari article (79 comments in total)
In reply to:

Cy Cheze: Impressive lenses. It certainly also helps to have expert guides, outfitters, and weeks or more for every setting. If critters don't show up, or get spooked, photos of all the visitors' garb and gear might be entertaining enough!

How do you keep heaps of sunscreen and bug repellant from staining or fouling the cameras and lenses? Think of all the dust whipped up on the trails. Sensor cleaning in the bush?

Regarding the dust, it all depends on where you're going and in Southern Africa what time of the year you find yourself on the reserves. A trip in the winter time (June - August) will expose you to more dust than a trip in the spring / summer when the rains come.

In a place like the Kruger National Park the main roads are tarred, so the dust factor isn't that severe. A rocket blower will serve you well.

On bug repellent, again, this depends on where you go and what time of year it is. Hasn't been a problem on any of our trips.

Direct link | Posted on Nov 24, 2011 at 06:07 UTC
Total: 22, showing: 1 – 20
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