Question about Wildlife Photography

Dec 6th, 2005, 09:22 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 15
Question about Wildlife Photography

Hi All,
I have just recently started posting on these boards but have been reading them for a while. I have been posting on and following the most recent camera topic, and now I just have a general question about the wildlife photography on a Safari. Clearly, it is important to have a 10 or 12x zoom. But I have seen some peoples' photos who have remarkably excellent and close photos.

So my question is, in general, how close is one to the wildlife they are photographing? And, how common is it for people to come across, lets say, lions, giraffes, elephants, zebras? I'm just wondering if it is almost expected to see these animals or if it is rare and lucky?

Thanks all for your help!

Only a little more than a week before I go!
RosieGee is offline  
Dec 6th, 2005, 09:47 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 7,391
On our game drives we came within 6 feet of lions and a bit closer to some elephants. the zebras and giraffes were skittish so did not get too close to those. kept a safe distance from the hippos and the monkeys/baboons kept their distance from us. i think it depends on where you go if you're expecting to see these animals. in zambia we saw hundreds of elephants and buffalo, maybe 150 zebra, 15 lions and only 12 giraffes. oh yeah, did see 22 wild dogs too! so we were lucky! where are you going? have a great trip and post a report when you return.
matnikstym is offline  
Dec 6th, 2005, 09:49 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 15
Hey there,
I am going to Kenya and Tanzania.

I will be sure to post a report when I get back.

Anymore insight on this topic from anyone would be great!

RosieGee is offline  
Dec 7th, 2005, 01:49 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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As Dennis said, you'll often get far closer to the wildlife than you'd imagine!

Also, some people do have some pretty good zooms. It's hard to asses 10x and 12x as one needs to know what the widest focal range of the lens is in order to know what the longest (most zoomed in is). You can find out the focal range of the zoom in more traditionally used units such as 35mm to 300mm by looking on for your camera model. These mm measurements let you relate the zoom to that fund on 35mm film cameras - a way of expressing zoom that more people are familiar with.

For example, the Canon PowerShot S2 IS has 12x zoom which equates to 36mm to 432mm.

Lastly, some of the photos you'll have seen will have been cropped - that's to say that the photographer has taken the image into an image editing program and cropped the edges off to get closer into the action. Depending on how much has been cropped off, the image may not be able to be printed as large as uncropped ones, but this won't show/ impact web display sizes.
Kavey is offline  
Dec 7th, 2005, 03:03 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
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Have a great trip. It's almost here.

The closeness to the wildlife is one of the attractions of Africa. I am referring to being in a vehicle.

Lions may come right next to your vehicle with cubs playing with the tires. Elephants too can be within a few feet. Giraffe and zebra are a little more skittish but you should have many occasions to be within 20 feet or so.

The animals you mention are commonly seen daily. Depending on the park, eles, giraffe, and zebra could appear on every outing with excellent views. A daily lion sighting is also not unusual, but prides are not as common as zebra.

Again the wonder of a safari in Africa is that these seeing these animals is not lucky or rare, but common.

Have a super trip and post a report upon your return.
atravelynn is offline  
Dec 7th, 2005, 03:32 PM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 16
Hi - we're leaving for Tanzania on the 25th of Dec (YAY!) I was thinking about looking at getting a special zoom lens for my digital camera (Canon A95) but after reading this post, I'm not sure if I need to - I guess it would be useful for bird photos - what do people think?

Thanks in advance!
kstyle is offline  
Dec 7th, 2005, 09:49 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 2,552
It's true that you want a nice long zoom range for wildlife photography. But, don't forget about the other end of the zoom! You don't always have to zoom in and have the animal fill the frame. Sometimes zooming out and getting in more of the surrounding environment is also important and produces a nice image.

I offer up one example:

Have a great trip!
Nelson is offline  
Dec 7th, 2005, 09:55 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 2,552
I should have mentioned that photo was taken at a 24mm wide angle setting.
Nelson is offline  

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