Professional photographers reveal their top tools of the trade they couldn’t shoot without This Zimbabwe-based photographer takes “shooting in the field” to the extreme, pushing his gear to the limit photographing wildlife
Safari photographer Ralph Stutchbury
Walking in the African bush alone in 35°C heat means carrying just the essentials
am privileged to live and work where there are wild, unspoiled places where nature and wild animals still exist in their natural state. I am a wildlife photographer based in Zimbabwe. To successfully photograph animals in the African bush, obviously, requires extensive knowledge of the environment and the animals that you’re hoping to photograph.
To capture something really special that hasn’t been seen before is the real challenge.
I use long lenses all the time – the longer the better. Telephoto lenses enable me to capture an animal’s behaviour without the animal being aware of my presence. Animal senses are essential for survival in the wild and once they become aware of you, their behaviour changes. I also like the long lens ‘look’ with shallow depth to isolate and emphasize the subject.
Walking in the African bush alone in 35°C heat means carrying just the essentials. For me that is my trusty old Canon EOS 7D with a Canon EF 100-400mm, extra cards, two spare batteries and a beanbag. A decent tripod is too heavy, so I often shoot handheld. To get the shutter speed and f-stop that I need in order to shoot on the move, I set the ISO quite high. I use ISOS of 800 or 1000 and find that the Canon processors cope well. My work is rarely seen bigger than A3, so noise is less of an issue.
And the most important piece of equipment is my ten-year-old Land Rover, which is kitted out for a rough life in the bush.