When you’re in Nambiti, there are plenty of opportunities for close-up wildlife photography. If you are shooting with a digital SLR, make sure you’ve got special close-up lens on hand, if you’ve got a compact camera, set it to a close-up mode that will allow you to fill the frame with even the smallest of subjects.
Try and capture a wild animal’s behaviour, not just his bum as he runs away. That said, I think my parents, avid wildlife photographers, had masses of photos of animal’s bottoms – the source of much mirth to visitors who had to politely endure some excessively long slideshows of our safaris.
Always be prepared
You never know when you’ll come across an animal so have your camera switched on and ready for action.
Make sure that you have a fully charged battery and a memory card with plenty of space.
Camera shake appears worse when using a telephoto – use a faster shutter speed: at least 1/750 second if you are handholding a 400 mm lens on a digital SLR with a crop sensor. You can set a slower speed if you use a monopod as this one-legged support gives stability but also allows mobility.
If you are shooting from one of the Nambiti Hills Land Rovers, make sure that the engine is switched off. Engine vibration can cause camera shake, especially if the lens is touching the body of the vehicle.(You might want to take a sandbag along with you if you’re really serious.)
Particularly when shooting with a telephoto lens, as this lens has a very shallow depth of field. Want your subject to be sharp? Then use a wide pattern of focus sensors to pick up a subject that isn’t just in the middle of the frame, and a predictive continuous autofocus mode if your subject is moving. (In other words, your camera will try to lock on to any moving subject and predict where the moving animal will be when you take the picture for more accurate focusing.)
If you don’t have a telephoto lens or you’re shooting with a compact camera, compose the picture so that it shows the animal in its environment rather than slap bang in the middle of the frame.
Try panning – moving the camera during the exposure to blur the background, not the subject.
Compose your shot, combining animals, vehicles, and anything else you consider meaningful within the frame.
Shoot in the early morning and late afternoon light
Not only is this the best light, but it’s also the time when you are most likely to see animals. The blazing midday sun will send them searching for shade and mainly hidden from view.
- Siobhan, writer and avid wildlife snapshoter
- Photos by Clinton Friedman