Sa­fari cam­era skills

Pre­pare for wildlife pho­tog­ra­phy with es­sen­tial ex­po­sure skills…

NPhoto - - Feature -

Pre­cise fo­cus­ing

‘Back-but­ton’ fo­cus dis­ables the stan­dard half-press of the shut­ter, in­stead as­sign­ing aut­o­fo­cus to the AF-On but­ton, where your thumb nat­u­rally rests. By sep­a­rat­ing the act of fo­cus­ing from tak­ing the photo, there’s less dan­ger of trig­ger­ing fo­cus ac­ci­den­tally, and it lets you quickly fo­cus then re­com­pose.

Bust the dust

Dur­ing dry pe­ri­ods the land can be a dust bowl, with swirling dust devils reach­ing into the sky. As such, dust can get ev­ery­where, so bring along a lens cloth and cover the front el­e­ment of the lens while driv­ing. It might be a slight an­noy­ance at times, but dust can also be a great mood-set­ter. When the sun is low in the sky, po­si­tion your­self with the an­i­mal be­tween you and the light for beau­ti­fully back­lit photos.

Use Auto-ISO

We pre­fer to use Man­ual mode in com­bi­na­tion with Auto-ISO for wildlife pho­tog­ra­phy. This way, you can en­sure the shut­ter speed stays fast enough, while at the same time choos­ing an aper­ture that suits your depth-of-field needs. Your DSLR will vary the ISO ac­cord­ingly for a cor­rect ex­po­sure. In low light, the ISO may be pushed to the limit, but bet­ter to have a slightly noisy im­age than one ru­ined by cam­era shake.

A sta­ble lens

Rest­ing the cam­era on the sides of the ve­hi­cle will help min­i­mize shake and give your arms a rest. Ei­ther use a bean­bag, or hold the cam­era nor­mally but brace your left el­bow against the side of the car. It’s near im­pos­si­ble to com­pose and shoot clearly while the truck is mov­ing, so ask your guide to stop and turn off the en­gine be­fore­hand.

With slow-mov­ing an­i­mals you can take the time to per­fect the com­po­si­tion

Some an­i­mals are skit­tish around ve­hi­cles; be ready with a fast shut­ter speed

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