Photographic Advice

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Mar 21st, 2005, 02:23 AM
  #1
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Photographic Advice

Greetings to all. Sorry about that last message. That's what happens when you touch extra keys at sixish in the morning. Anyway, thank you all in advance for any help which is forthcoming. My husband and I are taking a two week birding/wildlife safari in northern Tanzania in early June. My camera is a Canon EOS Rebel 2000/300. I have a 28-80 lens, a 75-300 lens, and a macro lens. Should I take them all with me? What do you think would be the single best speed of film to take? Should I be using a filter in bright light? Any thoughts about how many rolls of 36 I should carry without being totally absurd? We are so very excited about this trip and I want to take the best possible shots I can. Again, thank you all.
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Mar 21st, 2005, 03:09 AM
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Message: My suggestion is to take all three lens unless weight is a problem (incountry flights) and even then I would sacrifice other items in favor of camera stuff. Also, with a vest having plenty of larger pockets you should be versed to switch lens. As to film speed, what works best for you in picture taking on your other trips? I used mostly 400 asa mainly to simplify things. Suggest a minimum of three rolls per day. Film is inexpensive, easy to pack, and can always be brought home. And, it is expensive in the lodges! Dick
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Mar 21st, 2005, 03:32 AM
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We agree with the above, based on our experiences in Kenya & Tanzania. You probably would want 400 ASA for low-light conditions because most game drives go out early in the morning or late in the day. Mid-day light tends to wash out colors and most game is taking it easy then. You will find the 300 zoom very useful when shooting animals and birds. Take all the lenses, as the poster above suggests; you never know. Be extremely careful to protect lens faces; we went in November and the dusty roads were tough on lenses. I took along a supply of ziploc bags to add protection.
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Mar 21st, 2005, 11:27 AM
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We throw gargabe bags in our camera bags so that if rain arrives we can stow the whole bag in the black garbage bag and not worry about it.

On your first safari expect to take stupid amounts of photographs.

For birding you may get some good images with the 75-300 but probably not. My wife has started having real success with birds with a Digital rebel and a 400 lense. With the digitsl effect the lense is 640 and so pictures of smaller birds are possible.

Have fun.
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Mar 21st, 2005, 01:08 PM
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Jandj: I took a Minolta SLR with 70-300 lens with a 2x converter. The photos of the animals: cheetah, lion, etc. were awesome. And I got terrific photos of a marshall eagle on top of a monitor lizard. amazing shots. I am not a photographer of any skill, just one who has high hopes. I found that trying to take photos of birds was just too difficult as they don't sit still. I still tried, though, just in case. For landscape shots, I had a simple point & shoot. As for film: I took about 48 rolls of ASA400, and used them all. Even now, 5 years after my Kenya trip, the surplus photos are a treasure to look at, and I can't part with them, even tho they are redundant.
Have a wonderful trip. Susan
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Mar 21st, 2005, 01:28 PM
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I concur with the 2x converter. Make sure to ask the van driver to turn off the engine to avoid shake. I also used a ziplock, filled it with sand, and that was my support on the edge of the roof, there was nowhere to mount a tripod, and besides the lens was too heavy. Four of us on a two week trip to Kenya took 72 rolls of 24 exposures. This was before I got a digital camera.
Also be sure to take cleaning supplies and clean your camera every night.
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Mar 21st, 2005, 07:23 PM
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We took a digital camera and a film camera on our first trip. We took about 35 rolls of 24 frame film. We found using the film camera was difficult because of the extreme changes in light during each drive. We would start in the morning while it was still almost dark and by the time we went in, it was almost high noon. The same happened in reverse in the evenings. Many nights we stayed out until DARK.

We also took digital photos. We took 2000 of them. Culled them out at home and only printed 1000. The digital was well worth the investment for this trip. It was the reason we bought it. We could get instant feedback on our shots. And if the lighting wasn't good, we could adjust on the spot.

If you are remotely considering a digital camera, NOW is the time.
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Mar 22nd, 2005, 04:21 AM
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I would also take all 3 lenses but if space is at a premium I'd drop the macro, if any.

Invest in a good camera bag (I have a preference for Lowepro rucksack camera bags and have both the Mini Trekker and the Micro Trekker 200) which will really give you space and structure to carry lots easily.

Access when walking is slower than when using a regular shoulder bag but you can carry more weight more comfortably. When in a game drive vehicle you can sit the rucksack with the flap left open on the seat next to you or floor infront of your feet.

Film is hard to answer. There are those who swear on using nothing but slide film. But slide film is less forgiving of exposure mistakes. When I'm using my film camera I use regular negative film.

Most photographers have their preferred brand too. I like Fuji Superia for it's colour rendition and quality.

People will also insist you must take 50 and 100 speeds as nothing faster provides quality. Trouble is on early morning drives and late evening when the light is lower those films will limit your ability to take pictures. And unless you go through film like nobody's business you may not be able to change speeds as the light changes.

I took 200 speed film and advances in film emulsion coating meant that quality of prints was perfectly good.

To judge some of the last images I took on my film camera go to http://kavey.dpcprints.com and look at the images from Kenya with DSWF in their title. All were taken last April on my Minolta 505si film camera using Fuji Superia 200 film.

I'd also put in a few faster just incase you want to shoot in the evenings. If you have a second camera body and can have one speed film in one and one on the other that may work for you. I took two but had same film in both but put my zoom lens on one and my wide lens on the other.

For number of films, I took 19 rolls of 36 exp film on a 4 day trip to Kenya in April (all the DSWF pics above were taken on that trip).
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Mar 23rd, 2005, 12:08 AM
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As for which film; as general a recommendation I would use 400 speed film. It will give you the most flexibility and the added bonus of a faster shutter speed for a given aperture. The faster shutter speed will also give you a sharper image; particularly when you zoom out the 300 end of your 70-300 zoom (harder to hold the lense steady as you zoom out). As a general rule you should have a shutter speed which is the inverse of the focal length of the lens. for example if you have your 70-300 lens set at 90mm then try and have a shutter speed of1/90 sec or faster; if set at 300mm, try and have a shutter speed of 1/300sec or faster. If not already doing so,
I would highly recommend learning how to shoot in Av and Tv modes as opposed to full auto; Av giving you aperture control, and Tv giving you shutter speed control. Hope this helps
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Mar 23rd, 2005, 03:56 AM
  #10
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Greetings again. I just need to tell you how overwhelmed I am by your responses. The time and thought that went into them is incredible. There have been so many times I have tried to ask people questions and their eyes glazed over and the responses had nothing to do with the question. Thank you, thank you, thank you. And to Kavey especially, I did look at your photos. I think I drooled all over the monitor. They are terrific! Thanks.
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Mar 24th, 2005, 03:02 AM
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Aaw thanks!
Just because I'm so chuffed can I mention that I had those images on sale for just over 6 months till the end of February and raised £980 for the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation!
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Apr 13th, 2005, 04:24 AM
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Kavey,

We are leaving tomorrow for our trip to Botswana and South Africa, so I am surfing around for last minute photo advice. Just wanted to say that your pictures are really lovely - they really give a very intimate picture of the land. Thank you for sharing, and for your advice!
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Apr 18th, 2005, 04:30 AM
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Thanks!
Looking fwd to hearing about your trip! (I just got back last night from Galapagos/ Peru so have photos to sort out too).
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Apr 19th, 2005, 03:03 PM
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I would concur about dropping the macro lens. Having just come back from Northern Tanzania, I never found anything that made me wish I'd had a macro lens with me. Do they still make those filter-sized, screw-on close up lenses? That would be a light-weight alternative. I have a 75-300 Image-Stabilized lens, which works well for wildlife and bird photography. A 1.4x or 2x teleconverter is a good idea, as well, if you can stabilize the lens. The "bean-bag" is handy, but you don't always have time to set up a shot. You'll learn that you often have to "shoot on the fly" to get those action shots or just the right turn of a head. That won't work if you're trying to line it up while balanced on the bean bag. Also, your fellow travelers are usually bouncing around and that further destabilizes those shots.

I also had a 28-200 lens for landscape shots. A wide-angle lens of some sort would be nice. I used Kodak UC (Ultra Color) 400 film and the photos turned out great. I also used an 81B warming filter. This brings out the warmth of the savannah colors. I shot about 20 36-exposure rolls, but was also shooting video (2 hours.) The old rule of thumb is: take half the clothes and twice the film that you think you need!
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