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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Wildlife Photography - Reflections On East Africa

Open your mouth and say Ahhh

For Your Eyes Only

Getting An Earful From This Big Dumbo

Horns belong on Rhinos, not 'medicinal' shelves

Shuffle Off To Buffalo

Going on an African photo safari usually revolves around a few countries in east, central and southern part of the continent. I recently returned from a photo shoot in East Africa - Kenya and Tanzania. Africa is a far away place for me to get to. It takes about two days to get there, including layovers at airports and staying up for over 30 hours on end and days of adjusting my sleep pattern to the local time.

On the plus side, the continent is one of the best places to see and photograph wildlife, starting with the Big Five animals - Lions, Leopards, Elephants, Rhinos and Cape Buffaloes. Kenya has officially banned all big game hunting but Tanzania still allows limited kills per year. Sadly, both countries' wildlife management services are faced with limited resources and skills to deal with the onslaught of poachers and smugglers trying to exploit some of the dwindling wildlife population.

In the interest of travelling lighter and knowing the 'road' conditions of the national parks and reserves I will be visiting, my equipment consisted of the Canon EOS-1D Mk IV and EOS-1D X cameras, EF 24-105mm f/4L IS, EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS and EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x lenses plus extenders. I brought along a monopod for emergencies but never used it. All shots were handheld, including night game drives.

One of the biggest challenges of traveling and photographing wildlife in national parks with primitive road systems are the instability of the vehicle platform and the copious amount of dirt and dust in the air. It is very demanding on the vehicles, photographers and their equipment. On the other hand, it is a real test for the skill and performance of the latter. My wildlife encounters were good but not spectacular. Came across Lion, Leopard and Cheetah kills but the angles and lighting were not great. You can read my reviews on the Canon EOS-1D X camera and the EF 200-400mm f/4L lens.

For more posts on photographing other wildlife, you will find HummingbirdsPolar bearsBengal tigersKiller whales and Blue whales adventures here. I have been a wildlife photographer for 25 years using Canon gear. You can read my FAQs on equipment and see more of my work on You can also follow my travels on my Blog, Twitter and Facebook.

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