Safari camera skills
Prepare for wildlife photography with essential exposure skills…
‘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.
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