Nature and wildlife photography is a fascinating genre, but to achieve success in this field you need not only sound photographic skills, but also a sense of adventure, a good nose for a chase and, in more remote places, a well-developed survival instinct.
In the course of my career, East Africa has become my main area of interest. I feel at home in the bush and out there in the savannah, surrounded by enormous herds of grazing animals and their predators, the big cats. Nowadays, I am sensitized enough to properly judge the risks and dangers involved in working in the area. This is particularly important to me as a professional, because my way of working is very different to that of a tourist on safari. It is simply not possible for me to spend days and weeks at a time in the safety of a vehicle or holed up in a cosy lodge.
East Africa offers similar shooting conditions all year round - 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of night. The actual time of the sunrise varies by only 15 minutes either side of 6:30am in the course of the entire year, and predator activity is at its most intense before and just after sunrise. After 9am, when the sun is high in the sky and it starts to get really hot, the light is no longer at its best for taking photos. Nevertheless, this is the time at which we can start to track daytime hunters such as cheetahs and leopards. Lions, with their acute night vision, only hunt in the daytime if they are extremely hungry or if their prey presents itself on a platter. Otherwise, they would expend too much energy hunting in the heat of the day.
Relaxing is the only sensible thing for a photographer to do around lunchtime, as it is impossible to capture sharp images at a range of more than about 50 meters in the flickering midday haze. Once things start to cool down a little, a typical afternoon shoot mirrors the morning program, working toward sunset.
Unless the animals themselves approach your parked vehicle, it is forbidden to photograph wildlife from closer than 25 meters without a special off-road or pro photographer license. If you don't have permission, fines can be as much as several hundred dollars per person in your group, and even extend to exclusion from the area, which can mean the end of the safari for everyone involved.
If you want to capture your subject at a reasonable magnification from a distance using an APS-C camera, you will need at least a 300mm lens and, ideally, a 1.4x teleconverter in reserve. I recommend you use at least a 400mm (or even a 500mm) lens if you are shooting with a full-frame camera. I used to take about 80 percent of my photos using a DX-format Nikon D2x with a 200-400mm Nikkor, but nowadays I use my full frame Canon EOS-1 Ds III and the 800mm lens for about half of my work. I sometimes use the 800mm with an EOS 7D too, giving me a 1300mm (equivalent) monster of a lens. I also use a full-frame Nikon D3 with a 200-400mm zoom to shoot about 25 percent of my photos.
|Uwe Skrzypczak carrying two of his big lenses - one Canon, one Nikon - on |
location in East Africa
As you might have guessed from that list of equipment, wildlife photography is, unfortunately, one of the most expensive genres there is, and the combination of expensive gear and high travel costs are enough to put off even the most determined photographer.
When I was starting out and could only afford one long trip or two shorter trips per year, I had to carefully consider which lenses I could really use all year round. And remember - for the price of a prosumer telephoto and a teleconverter that spend eleven months of the year in a cupboard, you can easily rent a pro-grade super-telephoto for your major trips. If in doubt, rent. Don't risk an expensive purchase until you're confident that the equipment will prove indispensible.
Uwe Skrzypczak is a wildlife photographer based in Germany. You can see more of his work on his website www.serengeti-wildlife.com and read his blog at http://www.uweskrzypczak.blogspot.com. He is also the author of several books about wildlife and wildlife photography.
Aug 3, 2014
Aug 10, 2014
Jul 14, 2014
May 25, 2014
|Waffles with fruits by Coolinarka|
from Food photography (desserts)
|Vestrahorn Frozen Reflection by Will B Milner|
from Ice cold
Google has updated its Photos mobile apps to support the recently announced service for creating and printing physical photo books.
Europeana Photography is a new online image archive that includes more than 2 million historical photographs from European collections in 34 countries, covering the first 100 years of photography. Read more
Manufacturers love to state CRI (color rendering index) numbers to prove that their LED lights will provide great color, but a single CRI score doesn't tell the whole story.
NASA's Juno spacecraft is sending back its first images from Jovean orbit, and they're beautiful. Read more
We got our hands on the first zoom lens available for Fujifim's new digital medium format system. Check out the samples
As summer really gets going over here in the Northern hemisphere, the team at Imaging Resource has put together a list of the best cameras for backpacking.
The Ukrainian Parliament banned statues of Lenin in 2015. Two years later, the monuments no longer adorn public buildings or stand watch over town squares, but they're still there.
If you had to choose one camera to bring along for the ultimate West coast road trip, what would it be? DPR's Sam Spencer choose the X100F. Read more
The a9 boasts impressive capability. As more examples of it in practice pour in, Sony's claims hold up. Watch the a9 track and maintain focus on a rapidly approaching basketball.
Last week, more than a million tonnes of Californian coastline slid into the ocean, taking part of Highway 1 with it. Check out the remodeling in photos taken before and after the landslide.
Even after eighteen months of reviewing the latest, greatest, shiniest and must-buy-me-est new gear, DPReview staffer Carey Rose has continued to use older DSLR cameras for his freelance work. But now, that might be changing. Read more
Sony is the world's leading mirrorless camera brand but remains third for ILCs overall, it's said in a presentation to investors. A focus on high value cameras and lenses should boost operating income, it says. Read more
It's nicknamed the 'Cycloptic Mustard Monster,' and is a 3D printed medium format camera. Read more
The new NanGuang LED lights are battery powered and come with accessories including filters and diffusers.
Have you been telling yourself, "Hey, I really need one of those 8K displays?" A video about Dell's new 8K monitor shows you what to expect. Is it really that much better?
Tamara Lackey, a Nikon ambassador USA and pro shooter, discusses embracing self-consciousness as a means of connecting with subjects.
There's a new Spiderman movie coming out and the poster been generating a lot of online chatter. Mostly about how it looks like the creation of a fevered teenager that just discovered Photoshop.
An honest defense of the system's merits, with photos as proof.
Copyright disputes are no fun at all. 'Binded' is a new startup that aims to simplify the process of registering - and enforcing - copyright for photographers. Read more
Not everyone wants to pay a premium for a long zoom camera. Thankfully, there are many reasonably priced cameras available, though they won't offer the same image quality as enthusiast models. In this updated roundup we look at big zoom cameras with more consumer-friendly price tags. Read more
Think Tank Photo has updated two of its popular bag lines with improvements to functionality. Read more
We’ve all seen Bob Jackson’s Pulitzer Prize winning photo, but there's another.
The sample footage looks good.
It will automatically pick the best camera settings depending on shooting conditions. It even promises enhanced functionality for your camera, like exposure and focus stacking. It already supports many cameras from Canon, Fuji, Nikon and Sony. Read more
As if $13,950 wasn’t enough to pay for a special edition lens, the Leica Store in San Francisco is offering a prototype of said lens for $24,995. Read more
Make those old photos disappear without deleting them forever.
Firmware updates enable 10 fps shooting with adapted A-mount lenses, and faster startup times and better compatibility for 20 fps shooting when using native lenses on the a9.
Fujifilm has released firmware updates for its camera models X-T2, X-Pro2, GFX 50s, X-T20, X100F and X-T1 and updates to three of its software products.
A 22 year-old Romanian photographer uses his DJI Phantom 4 drone to capture unique perspectives of the city where he now lives.
What's it like to ride the waves with champion surfer Kelly Slater? This VR video from Teton Gravity Research gives you a taste.