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Photographic Magazine's Top 10 Tips For Shooting On Safari...

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May 1st, 2005, 06:37 AM
  #1
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Photographic Magazine's Top 10 Tips For Shooting On Safari...

Part I of article

http://www.photographic.com/phototec...lty/index.html

Part II of article

http://www.photographic.com/phototec...ty/index1.html

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May 1st, 2005, 08:31 AM
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These were down-to-earth, helpful tips that do not require in depth F-stop knowledge or going out and buy lots of expensive stuff, unless you consider a spare pillow case to be costly.

For the bean bag hint, I have taken several ziplock bags and just filled them with local sand that can be dumped.

Thanks!
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May 1st, 2005, 02:41 PM
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Pretty useful tips. However, I also like the end of the green season for pics because of the contrast of the wildlife against the green. I've got some pretty decent shots w/ the green bush in the background.

And the tip of two camera bodies is invaluable. First hand experience on that one.

I treat my camera gear like gold and I always bring two camera bodies with me. But...as the story goes...on my third trip, of which I should have known better, I only took my new Nikon DSLR and left behind my two regular slr's and point & shoot
Since I was traveling solo, I figured the DSLR and three lenses would be easier for me to handle. And Nikon had been reliable and my choice of camera for years.

Well, the camera made it through the first leg of Kenya, then Rwanda and Uganda.

On the last leg of my trip when back in Kenya, on the first game drive in the Mara, my DSLR's LCD starting reading ERR and crapped out on me. I figured I'd work it out back in camp after reading the trouble shooting guide. Of course, I missed photographing a group of hyenas stealing a kill from a cheetah. I was livid.
Got back to camp only to find out that the ERR message meant take it to a local service manufacturer. Oh sure... let me just run down to the Masai Mara location of Nikon. No problem!

I couldn't believe it. Two and a half days left in the Mara with no camera. Help...somebody just chop off my arm instead...please!

My pouting was not a pretty sight. If it wasn't for the kindness of the hot air balloon pilot, Robin, at Little Governor's camp, I would have fed myself to the crocs.
He kindly lent me his regular SLR for the remainder of my stay at the camp for which I will be forever grateful.
It was a Canon so I couldn't use my lens (Waah..no 400mm shots) but he did lend me his two lens as well and at least he had a 300mm. And I found slide film at the main Governor's camp. Whew!

So the moral of this story...two camera bodies...ALWAYS! Even if the other is a point & shoot. You just never know.

Good news is...the camera was still under warranty being replaced/repaired free of charge. But I can never replace not being able to photograph that cheetah/hyena battle. Aaargh!
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May 1st, 2005, 02:58 PM
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Divewop,

I feel your pain! Thank you for sharing that unpleasant story for emphasis. Your blood pressure probably increased as you were typing it.

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May 1st, 2005, 03:19 PM
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Divewop,

Wow...after reading that I will DEFINITELY be picking up a Canon Digital Rebel XT as a backup!

I was stupid enough last year to do my 11 night Zambian safari with a Sony F707 that was not even functioning properly. I don't know how many photos I missed, but I am sure it was HUNDREDS. We are talking about a camera in my Sony F707, that got me a maximum of about 1 photo every 3 or 4 seconds.

I have learned my lesson well and now have a Canon 20D with a couple great lenses...a 17-85mm IS lens and a Sigman 80-400mm OS lens. Five frames per second is what my capabilities have now improved to.
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May 3rd, 2005, 12:01 PM
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Question from a lazy person...how do I crop my photos while I am viewing them on my Canon 20D?

I have not yet read my instructions, I admit it.

One more simple question...how do I change the ISO setting?

So far, I have only taken photographs of each of my dogs, but I do hope to get to the L.A. Zoo this week(end) and hopefully down to San Diego soon afterward.

Thanks.
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May 3rd, 2005, 12:13 PM
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Press the ISO button and twiddle one of the wheels (can't remember if it's the one near the thumb or the big wheel on the back).

Regarding cropping: do you mean just zoom in temporarily to see the detail or do you actually mean permanently crop???
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May 3rd, 2005, 12:55 PM
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Kavey,

I mean permanently crop.

Thanks.
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May 3rd, 2005, 01:01 PM
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Rocco - did Photoshop Elements come with your camera? If not, what software do you have
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May 3rd, 2005, 01:03 PM
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Not to be rude but... I would NEVER EVER permanently crop an image based on the tiny image on my LCD!

Getting good pictures is NOT just about throwing a lot of money at a camera vendor and getting the right equipment, it's also about investing the time in learning how to use it AND learning about the entire workflow.

I strongly recommend you leave cropping to the post processing stage using the large screen of a good monitor.

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May 3rd, 2005, 02:37 PM
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A pillow case for dust is good but I use a dry bag -- plastic bag that can seal to keep contents dry, usually used by canoeists, boaters etc. It keeps the camera protected from dust but also water in case you are boating, canoeing, caught in a downpour, etc. It has served me well in Africa, Thailand, and Belize.
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May 3rd, 2005, 02:44 PM
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Kavey,

Okay, fine...I will do my homework and install the software, read the instructions and go through the rest of the motions.

As much as I like to research certain subjects, I have never been a big fan of reading instructions!
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May 4th, 2005, 01:00 PM
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I understand it's boring but...

If you want a camera you can just point and shoot without bothering to use any of the features you'd be better off with the point and shoots you have eschewed.

Whilst you can still get good images from an SLR using fully automatic settings you'll get far better ones still if you have even a BASIC familiarity with some of the camera's features.

I'd advise you to learn about and understand how to set aperture in order to control depth of field (I talk about it above); how to lock the focus point on a subject and then recompose the image so that the subject is no longer centred but still the point of focus; how to read the aperture and shutter speed that the camera is setting for a given scene, decide whether these are suitable - if the shutter speed is too slow to hand hold, for example, because the light is low, how to change the ISO to a faster speed; how to get the camera to show you on the LCD by flashing in black that you have overexposed and blown out details in the highlight areas of the image (so that you can then use exposure compensation to underexpose when retaking the shot)...

Just a few off the top of my head that will really help you to get the most out of the several thousand you have spent.

Most consumer DSLRs available these days ARE designed to allow their owners to use them as little more as a point and shoot but they do tend to give better results with just a small investment of time in the boring learning phase!

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May 5th, 2005, 06:17 AM
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Okay, spent a couple hours installing software, reading what I could (the instructions were in Spanish!), etc.

I have still had problems cropping my images. I get as far as performing the crops (in the "Digital Photo Professional" program) only to not know how to save the changes...probably something that the Spanish instructions contain.

I am going to make a very serious call to Circuit Digital, the online company that I purchased the camera from, possibly by a follow up call to American Express. I definitely should have bought this camera from a local store and paid the additional $400 that it would have cost.

Anyway, somebody please tell me how to crop my images on Digital Photo Professional! Thanks.
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May 5th, 2005, 06:38 AM
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Digital Photo Professional is essentially just a Raw Converter.

I have used it to convert my RAW files but am now using Camera Raw which is an Adobe add in for Photoshop CS.

What I'd recommend is that you use DPP (or whatever tool you prefer) to convert from RAW and then use a image manipulation application such as Photoshop (expensive), Photoshop Elements (cut down version of Photoshop and less expensive, Paint Shop Pro (less expensive), Gimp (free) or some other one in order to then apply any processing such as cropping, rotation, colour balance etc.
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May 5th, 2005, 06:44 AM
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Unedited, uncropped & unimpressive photos of my canine friends. About 8 of my dogs are shown here...

http://www.kodakgallery.com/BrowsePh...d=574815733205

I'll do more research tonight and once I get my heart fully into this, I am sure that I will progress quickly with my first (D)SLR camera.

Thanks for any continued feedback.
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May 5th, 2005, 06:45 AM
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Kavey,

Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0 was included with my camera and is downloaded on my computer. I will experiment with it tonight.
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May 16th, 2005, 06:43 PM
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Rocco, How is your cropping education going? You mention saving the cropped images - the very safest thing to do, even though it's not very tech-y, is to save it as your image name #2. When you crop the image, click save AS (not just save) and it will give you a choice of name. If you just add a number to the original name, you will have both the original and the cropped shot saved in the same file.

divewop: I had a grueling night on safari too when it actually got too cold for my camera, which froze up. I actually lay in my bed crying that night! I put the camera in bed with me, and in the morning it was ok! From then on I slept with it (We did travel during an unusual cold spell last summer). This summer I'm bringing 2 cameras!
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May 16th, 2005, 07:04 PM
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Lin,

I have really learned a lot these last couple weeks.

I was just at San Diego Wild Animal Park yesterday and when I got home I was amazed at how easy it was to plug in the adapter and look at all of my photos right on my television screen. From there I did not do any cropping, but I did see which images were worth keeping and which ones were better put in the trash.

I have not really used Photoshop Elements yet, but I will. I just need some time to play around with it and then I will get the hang of it. For now, all the cropping comes on Ofoto.

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May 16th, 2005, 07:06 PM
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Someone on www.fredmiranda.com was kind enough to share this excellent link with me, pertaining to photography while on safari:

http://www.naturescapes.net/052004/ab0504.htm
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