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Take your wildlife photography to the next level

Source Credit – African Bush Camps & Marlon Du Toit

An African safari is an incredible opportunity to experience a variety of wildlife in their natural environment. In those moments, in the wild African bush, you would want to savour every moment. There is no better way to do this than by capturing these moments with a camera.

1. One key tip for capturing an interesting angle when confined to a vehicle?

Try to have your camera at the lowest point on the vehicle. Many cameras today come equipped with a flip/tilt screen. Use this screen to compose, so flip it out, and keep a visual of your subject whilst dropping your camera lower down onto the side of the vehicle. Lower angles give you a far better and more pleasing image.

2. Advice to avoid ‘missing out on the experience’ while trying to get the best shot through your lens?

The better you understand your equipment, the less time you will waste trying to figure the correct settings out. It’s time spent looking at the menu or buttons on your camera, that you lose out on the sighting itself.

3. How do black & white photos make an impact and what types of images should you take?

Try to shoot in RAW mode, so your photos are never in black and white. Rather do this in post-processing. If you shoot in normal jpg, then switch your camera to black and white mode. Or learn to do some creative editing afterwards.

4. Should you decide in the moment when looking at a scene & setting up the photo or do you decide during your editing?

Look at the photograph, and you can see what will work for you. You can see on the spot if I want it in colour or monochrome. It is something you will learn over time. Then, maybe shoot in black and white mode in the field (even though it will go back to colour in Lightroom due to the nature of the RAW file). Then process your images afterwards in Lightroom to the desired effect.

5. Top tips for low light photography?

There is no easy way around this. If your camera cannot deal well with noise at higher ISOs, then you will not enjoy the experience. If you can keep up and your camera is well equipped, then try and keep your ISO higher (3200 – 6400), and your shutter speed respectable (160 – 400). Simpler said than done. Try using a spotlight, it helps. If it becomes frustrating, put the camera down and enjoy the sighting. It is often when lions and leopards are on their best behaviour.

6. Any pre-settings suggestions to have readily available?

Very simple. Fast shutter speeds are often achieved by raising your ISO settings.

7. Has there been a change from old-school wildlife photography to new-age wildlife photography? And how do aspiring photographers balance them?

Technology brings about many changes and we are currently progressing from DSLR to mirrorless. Cameras are becoming better at dealing with different conditions, shooting better quality images, shooting faster, capturing more data, building stronger yet lighter and more. The same goes for lenses. It is truly exciting and opens doors for many more to get better images.

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