The opportunity to spend your holidays in Kenya doesn’t come often in one’s lifetime, but it is without a doubt one of the most exciting experiences ever. Even more so if you’re there on a Kenya wildlife tour where you’ll get to witness some of the most magnificent creatures on the planet, like the famous Big Five, adorning picture-perfect landscapes and dazzling lakes.
Speaking of picture-perfect scenes, shooting great photographs of the wild is an art and represents one of the best ways to relive the memories of your African safari experience. With that in mind, here are a few wildlife photography tips for your next Kenya safari.
MAKE SURE YOUR GEAR IS FULLY INTACT
Having your complete gear while on a safari cannot be overstated as you would want to capture a number of different shots that will require a variety of lenses. Investing in a proper camera bag will be a wise investment as you will want to ensure that everything you will need is easily accessible and comfortable to carry around. You will want to pack the following in your camera bag:
- Camera body
- A variety of lenses with lens caps
- Memory card
- Extra battery pack
- Battery charger
- Cables for instant transfer to your laptop or tablet
- Camera cleaning equipment
KNOW YOUR GEAR
The truth is that the really great action-packed moments in wildlife photography lasts an average between 5 and 20 seconds, so if you are not intrinsically aware of the settings of your camera or the abilities of the lens you have chosen, you will either miss or blow the images you manage to capture.
Most photographers are fixated on the focal length of their lens to the point that it becomes an obsession to have the longest / biggest lens possible. Bear in mind that the size of the lens is location-dependent and you might need more than a 600 mm lens just to get any shot at all in certain wide-open spaces on the safari.
The other obsession relating to getting as close as possible to the animals can be counter-intuitive as this isolates the animals totally from their environment and it doesn’t look like a natural shot. By shooting at wider angles, you can give the image viewer a better idea of where you took the shot and where your subject carves out its living in the wild.
SHOOT FLASH FREE AND ON SILENT MODE
it is always the best to shoot flash free and in silent mode, so you don’t scare the animals in any way. The best approach would be to blend in by using the silent mode to hush the shutter and ditch the flash.
CHOOSE THE BEST CAMERA FOR WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY
Choosing the best camera for your wildlife photography boils down to two factors including the ruggedness and weight of the camera. Lugging a load of gear around or fumbling to change lenses while wildlife passes you by is an experience you would not want to encounter, and more often than not, the safari vehicle bounces around in Kenya’s wildlife as you search for animals. Be sure to have a comfortable camera that you are comfortable with and know beforehand that it would have to withstand a lot of dust, motion, and bumps while in the safari vehicle.
PATIENCE AND PRACTICE
The golden rule of wildlife photography is all about timing which means knowing how to wait and knowing exactly when to press the button to get a good shot. Animals rarely come close and there are days when you will see fewer animals than others. Wildlife photographers can sometimes spend hours waiting to take the best shots. Before going on a safari, try photographing moving objects like your pets, so when the perfect photo opportunity presents itself, you know exactly how to act quickly to make the most of your shot.
LIGHTING IS KEY
In every photo shoot, lighting can make or break a shot. If the lighting is not right, you won’t be able to see the amazing subjects you’ve tried to capture. Take advantage of the early morning sun when the sun is lower in the sky, or late in the afternoon when the sun is a little down, as the mid-day sun casts long shadows and is more unflattering on subjects.