BOTSWANA WILDLIFE & SAFARI PHOTOGRAPHY GUIDE

Hints and Tips for successful wildlife photography on a Botswana safari.
Botswana

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Photographic Hints for Wildlife Safaris

Bring camera equipment with which you are familiar. If you have not used your camera, for a long period of time, have it inspected and tested by a professional before departure.
If possible bring two cameras in case one malfunctions.
African Wildlife Photography

Although good results can be obtained with a simple point and shoot camera, a camera with a 200 or 300mm telephoto lens is ideal for wildlife photography.
For serious bird photography you will need at least a 500mm lens.
Bring more film than you expect to use. It can be expensive locally and is sometimes spoiled by heat. It is not unusual to use two or three rolls of film a day when on safari.
Most game drives are in the early morning or late afternoon so bring fast film for lower light levels. We find ASA 400 print film excellent for general use and Fuji Velvia or Provia is for the serious photographer.
Carry your film in your hand baggage. Do not pack film with checked luggage. The new more powerful x-ray machines can ruin your film. Most x-ray machines for hand baggage is safe for one or two passes but many passes through the machine can lend to film deterioration. Try to have your film hand inspected and not passes through the x-ray.
If you plan to take night game drives to look for leopard and other nocturnal animals you will require a powerful flash for good photos.
Bring several plastic Ziploc bags to protect your camera from dust and rain on game drives and spray on boat trips.
Bring extra batteries for cameras, flash, and exposure meters, the ones you use may be unobtainable in Africa.
Whenever possible, bracket your exposures as the contrast of light and shade can be extreme and hard to calculate.
As water and sand are deceptively bright a polarizing filter is useful.
Although it fractionally degrades the picture a skylight filter protects your lens from dust.
Use the fastest possible shutter speed when shooting moving game or from a moving vehicle.
Video batteries can be charged at most camps from generators or vehicles. Bring a 12-volt adapter.
Please respect the rights of others to get their photos and don't crowd or monopolize a scene. Having a video camera does not give you the right to the best seat in the vehicle. Please take your turn.
When photographing the local people please be courteous and make your intention clear. Respect their right to privacy if they do not want their photo taken.
There are restrictions on photographing certain areas and buildings such as airports, military installations etc. Please accept these restrictions to avoid harassment and possible arrest.