Great safari photography gear article

Jul 16th, 2007, 06:16 PM
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Great safari photography gear article

I just read a really interesting article on safari photogaphy on Luminous Landscape -- one of the most thorough and thoughtful treatments of the subject I have seen:

Certainly the article is written for a very high-level photographer, but it's fairly easy to take the concepts and scale them down to suit yourself. And the tips about dealing with vehicle vibration and other environmental conditions are very interesting.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Chris_GA_Atl is offline  
Jul 16th, 2007, 07:54 PM
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Fun article, thanks Chris.

regard - tom
cary999 is offline  
Jul 16th, 2007, 08:42 PM
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I would like to know what the equipment would weigh? I think luggage penalties would apply?
I do agree entirely with the lightly loaded vehicle point, this is what causes most difficulties, but the price of private vehicles is also mainly prohibitive, unless you have a commited group of 4 or less.
I handhold a 500m Canon lens this is hard work but gets you good pictures if you use a fast shutter speed 1000 plus. A small tripod with a Manfrotto head also works well and is usable in most situations.I have also been able to use bean bags in open vehicles, many camps provide them check for this when booking.
Good luck to everybody.
Jul 16th, 2007, 10:22 PM
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Righto, after my private game drive vehicle I must add the expense of two private porters to carry my camera gear. This in addition to the porter carrying the case of Bombay Gin and tonic water. Dang, this is starting to add up !!!!!

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Jul 16th, 2007, 10:27 PM
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Hi Chris-

I took a look at your pbase sight in your link - fabulous! As a new pbase user, I have a question that maybe you can answer?

When I set up pbase, I started to post each day as a gallery (why I am not sure, but...) As well, as I am doing the trip report on Fodors, I am posting where each day's photos are.

When I finish though, I would like to move each day into one gallery called Safari 2007, but still have each day as a subgallery, and I think I can see how to do that. My question is this:

If I do that, will someone a year down the road who reads my trip report still be able to see my day by day galleries at the lcaotion that I have posted with each day? Or once I move them, will the old addresses be null and void?

Sorry if this sounds confusing, it's late...
LyndaS is offline  
Jul 17th, 2007, 03:26 AM
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Lynda, I think I understand your question. You want to know if you take several galleries from your root gallery and then move them all into a subgallery, will the address of each of the original galleries change? The answer is no, I do not think they will change. In Pbase, subgalleries do not have the high-level gallery name in the web address.

So, for example, if you look at my gorilla galleries, I have an overall gallery called gorillas (, and then four subgalleries in there for the different groups we visited, but the address of those galleries does not have the "gorillas" gallery in it, for example,

So you can feel free to arrange them however you like later and people will still be able to see your pictures at the links you originally posted.

Good luck and be sure to post your picture links so we can all see them!

Chris_GA_Atl is offline  
Jul 17th, 2007, 03:49 AM
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I just saw you post, re: Safari Tips. I posted the same link before noting your reference. Much useful information in that essay. I must comment that having just returned from Botswana, I found that two Safari Sack Bean Bags, work very well with the Canon Supertelephoto Lenses, even in open vehicles. I would like a more elegant solution but I have no complaints.
Regards. Chuck
safarichuck is offline  
Jul 17th, 2007, 07:40 AM
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I will actually be taking my first safari with DSLRs next June/July, and it will be in Tanzania, so I will be taking a good sturdy monopod and a couple of Kinesis Safari Sacks -- hopefully those will work out.

Chris_GA_Atl is offline  
Jul 17th, 2007, 08:08 AM
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Have you guys ever thought about using a skimmer ground pod on top of a bean bag? Or have you seen anyone using one? I don't have one but I've been thinking it would be great because you could use your ballhead or Wimberly head (I have the Sidekick). This one isn't in stock yet so I can't try it this trip (Monday).
sundowner is online now  
Jul 17th, 2007, 08:59 AM
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I like the article, but there are some choices that he made that I would not make myself. For example, taking large desktop hard drives that require electricity. They are too large, heavy and logistically challenging. External 2.5" laptop hard drives work best, as you can run them off of the power from the USB or Firewire port. 750GB drives is overkill, in my opinion. Granted, he appears to use his storage for all of his shooting buddies. Also, taking a laptop computer in a heavy Pelican case is also overkill. Any laptop bag will do.


andybiggs is offline  
Jul 17th, 2007, 09:11 AM
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Andy, I could not agree with you more. I just take two Hyperdrives, which are very compact, very fast, and have great battery life. They can also be recharged from a car, from wall current, or even AA batteries. Two 100GB Hyperdrives is plenty of storage for us, and I don't even bother looking at the pictures in any serious way until we get home.

It is enough hassle carrying around camera gear -- to add a laptop, a bunch of external hard drives and all the cables and connectors for them would just be unmanageable to me.

Chris_GA_Atl is offline  
Jul 17th, 2007, 09:49 AM
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I switched from using a small 2.7 pound Thinkpad X series laptop to an Apple Macbook, and I am thinking about moving back to save a few pounds. I am definitely an Apple guy, but not if it causes me to carry more weight and size than is necessary. I use my laptop in conjunction with a GPRS mobile phone to receive emails and surf the web from out in the bush where available. Technology is a beautiful thing!
andybiggs is offline  
Jul 17th, 2007, 10:52 AM
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You also have to realize that the author is the former Chief Technology Officer at Microsoft and is worth hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars -- cost, simply, is not a factor for him, and he could easily afford to charter a jet to carry his equipment.

Its an interesting article, nonetheless.
thit_cho is offline  
Jul 17th, 2007, 02:36 PM
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You gotta be kidding me! There's no way I could carry all that gear, as a solo traveler, unless I don't pack any clothes!

Now that's a scary thought!
divewop is offline  
Jul 18th, 2007, 12:09 PM
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Agreed that he's equipment recommendations are probably inappropriate for amateur photographers, no matter how serious, and probably overkill for a pro. I do wonder how long he stays in any one spot - if he's staying in one location for many days or weeks, perhaps this set up would be justified. 750 GB is a lot of images, which implies very long trips or a very itchy trigger finger. I could also see doing things his way for a month-long cruise to Antarctica, but for other expedition-type trips, it's far too heavy.

I just came back from a 10-day rafting trip in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the luggage weight restrictions were pretty tight. I got by pretty well with a pair of Nexto 2300's and whole bunch of CF cards and batteries.

Of course, if I had Mr. Myhrvold's fortune, I'd do things his way. In fact, if he's looking for a photo assistant or lens-bearer, I'm available.
lifelist is offline  
Jul 18th, 2007, 12:30 PM
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Sheesh and to think I managed with one dslr and a 28-300 lens. Oh and an image tank. Obviously he travels first class and uses private planes to get around - no way he could meet the 15lb weight limit on some internal flights!
Next time it will still be one dslr but with a 50-500 on it, plus the image tank. And maybe a beanbag.
Single most important tip - make sure your driver turns the engine off!
hetismij is offline  
Jul 18th, 2007, 12:40 PM
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I know I carry about 40 pounds of equipment including the my bag, at least thats what the airport personnel told me!

But I also agree take a very small laptop, mine is 3.2 lbs, a portable usb hard drive 120GB, and I also take an Epson P5000. I think this is overkill, however it allows me to make duplicate backups.
mytmoss is offline  
Jul 18th, 2007, 01:40 PM
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completely over the top for most people.

I wouldn't want to carry all that gear on safari.

I think 2 camera bodies & 2 lenses is ample. Plus a laptop/backup device or a stack of CF cards.

GeoffG is offline  
Jul 26th, 2008, 11:15 AM
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safarichuck is offline  
Jul 26th, 2008, 11:45 AM
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We used a todd pod for the large camera lenses - the 400mm and 600mm with a Wimberly head. When using the remote control, no movement at all. It is designed for the roof of the open hatch safari vehicles - not the pop up ones and is pretty easy to move around should you want to go from one side of the hatch to the other. It is sold by Todd Gustafson -
With our two bags of camera equipment - 40 pounds each, we gave up on flying and did a drive around safari - added several hours to the safari, but worth it for the photos - we had 4 SLR cameras and 3 long range lenses, as well as the usual 100-300mm and 28-75mm. We backed the photos up on an Epson harddrive. With all the dust, we were happy not to be constantly changing lenses on the road.
We found that the shower caps that you get in all hotels worked very well in protecting the lenses while driving around.
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