Safari/Lodging Questions for Sept. Safari

Reply

Apr 18th, 2003, 06:33 AM
  #41
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 18
Wow, wow, wow!! You guys never cease to amaze me. ALL of your posts have been so helpful and informative. Kavey and Heimdall, thanks so much for the discussions on aperture. I am in a fairly technical field (engineering) myself, but I still had some difficulty understanding all the terms. BUT, both of your explanations were great. They complimented each other and filled in the blanks for me. I am willing to spend a couple of hundred on a lens, but I'm guessing that's not going to get me the top of the line anyways. Plus, I'd probably be afraid to use something that expensive.
And thanks so everyone else, especially about the clothing suggestions. I'll definitely have to look into those things. Ryan and I are sure getting excited. Keep the suggestions coming!!!!
Kristy
KristyRyan is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 18th, 2003, 06:40 AM
  #42
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 1
Gosh Kavey � I can�t believe so many people have wasted their time writing the thousands of books and articles about exposure when you have the only explanation anyone could possibly ever need!
jinx3045 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 18th, 2003, 10:26 AM
  #43
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,153
No need for sarcasm, surely.
Kavey is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 18th, 2003, 10:26 AM
  #44
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,153
And I see you registered JUST to post that message for me!
Kavey is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 19th, 2003, 01:55 AM
  #45
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 6,980
Kavey, the trip to Rwanda certainly was an incredible experience. My two previous trips to Africa were primarily on safari - lots of animals, but no opportunity to get to know the people. This time I spent two weeks in Cyangugu, a town on the southern end of Lake Kivu, working with the local diocese of the Anglican church. I stayed at the Peace Guest House which has stunning views over the lake, and simple but clean accommodation.

We devoted most of our time setting up computers in two schools, a dispensary, and the guesthouse, all operated by the local church. When we arrived, the guest house had an internet cafe, but no computers! One of our first jobs was to get the internet cafe operational.

The people we met were wonderful. We made many friends, and were invited to their homes for some of our meals. It was hard to believe that only eight years earlier Rwanda was in the grips of genocide in which over 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus died. The country is now very safe, and undergoing incredible recovery.

The trip wasn't all work, however. One day we took a boat trip on Lake Kivu, and were taken to an island that was last visited by white people more than a year before. Needless to say, we were objects of curiousity, and little children came up to hold our hands as we walked through the village.

At the end of the trip I took a minibus to Ruhengeri for gorilla tracking in Volcanos National Park. I described that part of the trip in a reply to a posting by Mariacallas, so won't repeat it here.

Anyone visiting East Africa should consider a side trip to Rwanda. It is a beautiful little country with few tourists, but has good hotels, French-Belgian style food, and is easy to negotiate by minibus. There are daily flights with Kenya Airways from Nairobi.
Heimdall is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 19th, 2003, 02:59 AM
  #46
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,153
Heimdall how did you come to do this trip?
Kavey is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 19th, 2003, 11:04 AM
  #47
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 6,980
For Kavey: The bishop of the Anglican diocese in Cyangugu (now retired and living in England) began initiatives to provide income for schools and medical facilities operated by the church. One was to build the Peace Guest House, which provides employment and revenue to support their programs. In Rwanda and other parts of Africa churches do much more than preach religion.

Under his direction, some parish churches in England have joined to collect donations of items as diverse as curtains for the guesthouse, to computers for the schools. This is an informal relationship, not an NGO operation. Several people have travelled to Rwanda to help put these things in place. I am an American living in England, and not even an Anglican, but was invited to go on the latest trip last November.

We paid all of our own expenses, including airfare and food and lodging. Meals and rooms at the Peace Guest House were incredibly cheap (we didn't get a discount). The profits from our stay were used to help support the schools and dispensary, so were charitable contributions in themselves.

This was a working holiday, but we got a lot of satisfaction from it. The people we met were very friendly, and genuinely appreciative of our help. I have made many friends there, and hope to go back again in two years or so.
Heimdall is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 20th, 2003, 01:38 PM
  #48
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,153
It sounds a wonderful and enriching experience, thanks for sharing it.
Kavey is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 22nd, 2003, 12:11 PM
  #49
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 18
Thanks everyone for your help! You have no idea how much your information means to me and how much it helps Ryan and I plan our honeymoon. We are getting SOOO excited.
I finally picked a camera lens that I think fits what I want, but does not compromise the aperture. I think I am going to get the Tamron AF 28-300mm XR Ultra Zoom F/3.8-6.3 lens. With this, I will also be purchasing the Lens hood and possibly the Circular Polarizer Filter. Any recommendations on getting those extra two things. The lens hood is cheap, but the Polarizer is not so cheap. Comments?
Thanks again everyone!!!!
KristyRyan is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 22nd, 2003, 12:16 PM
  #50
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,153
I've always gone with Hoya for the circular polarising filter and been happy with it.

Do you mind my asking how much you're paying for that lens? I'm quite tempted!

[email protected]
Kavey is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 22nd, 2003, 12:19 PM
  #51
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 18
I forgot to add...when I was doing my research on lenses, one of the camera shops gave me some advice on traveling with film. He said that he sees lots of damaged pictures because of the x-ray machines. I know that this has been discussed in several forums already, but I'd like to hear about it again (I guess to reaffirm what I already know). He highly suggested that wherever we can, we should have the film 'hand inspected'. He also suggested mailing the film back from Africa to the US or possibly even having the film developed there. Any comments on this. I'm not sure how trustworthy their mailing system is. With such priceless pictures of our honeymoon, I'm not sure what the best course of action is.

I realize that we are still several months out from our trip, but for some motivation, I promise to give a full trip report when we get back! I'm not sure if that is any consolation for my many questions, but you all have been a great help so far that I can't help to keep abusing you!
KristyRyan is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 22nd, 2003, 12:20 PM
  #52
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 18
Wow Kavey, your quick!
KristyRyan is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 22nd, 2003, 12:28 PM
  #53
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 18
Oh, sorry about not answering your questions. I didn't read your reply before I posted back.
I have found quite varying prices on that lens. At a local photo shop, I found it for $472.00, but online I found it for around $350. I think this is a professional lens, but I'm not sure. My wedding photographer says that this is the lens he uses.

Do I need to get the polarizing filter? What's it used for and do you use it often/all the time?

Thanks again!
KristyRyan is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 22nd, 2003, 08:04 PM
  #54
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 214
First, you will have an experience of a lifetime! Of all our travels, and there has been a lot, our time in Tanzania remains the most memorable--the real highlight. With that said, one word about photography--your tendency will be to start taking pictures immediately, in spite, of the fact that your guides will tell you to wait because there will be better shots. Listen to them--they know what they are saying and it will save you from running out of film at the end when you may most want it. You will take more pictures than you can imagine. I use a digital camera and so had the advantace of deleting at the end of each day--even then I came back with 400+ photos. If you are interested in some great shots and another preview of what you will be seeing--along with a report--go to http://www.janeandken.com I think you will enjoy it. Congratulations on your soon to be marriage and an incredible honeymoon.
janelp is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 22nd, 2003, 08:18 PM
  #55
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 596
Wow, Jane - those are wonderful photos and a great description of your trip!
Clematis is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 23rd, 2003, 12:24 AM
  #56
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,153
Jane your pictures are incredible - the one of the (first) young Hadzabe boy is just excellent.

Kristy I'd echo what Jane says about film in the main part.

In a 2 week trip I took 19 36 exposure films. People we met were taking photos at a rate of about 4 times more than I was. I can't imagine their film and processing costs (though these pale into insignificance next to holiday cost).

That said, we saw some of our most amazing leopard sightings in Mombo within 2 minutes of landing.

If it's a case where you really can't decide whether to take it incase you won't see it again, of course, shoot a couple of shots. But if your guide tells you for definite that you'll have better shots of whatever it is, do follow his advice.

Circular polarising filter:

Here's a good article on the subject http://www.bigbenpublishing.com.au/gallery/photography/polarise.html

Basically, I find the filter useful in situations with a LOT of bright light - and find that if I angle them right I can darken a blue sky so that the clouds show more clearly and it's more dramatic. Take care not to overdo this. I've also used it to cut down on reflections and to pull colours back into a more pleasing range - I remember focussing on a wooden shingle roof and turning the filter and the colours changing so dramatically.

You certainly shouldn't keep the filter on the camera all the time. It works by cutting out all light except that coming in at a certain angle. IE it reduces the light coming in. You're buying a wide aperture lens because, in low light situations, you want to be able to get more light in. The polarising filter would reduce the light by a significant amount, negating some of the purpose of your wide aperture lens.

What I do keep on my lens permanently is a skylight filter - It does cut light too but to a very very small extent and I use mine to protect my lens from careless fingers and dust. Pros would not recommend any uneccessary lenses but I find this works best for me. Get advice from your camera shop if they seem to know their stuff.

Next time I am also going to take something like a showercap to whip over my camera whilst the guide whips the landrover to a new position. SOmetimes I put the camera back in the bag but if it's just a short hop it's easier to keep it out. But the terrain is dusty so it's worth protecting it in a way that's easy to whip away again into a pocket when ready to take a picture.

Also, I did take a beanie baby style toy for leaning on as a sort of tripod equivalent but didn't use it myself but will still pack it again next time.

Tripod would be useless to me as you can't really use it in a land rover. Perhaps if you intend to do walking safaris take a lightweight monopod at most.

I'm so excited for you!!!
Kavey is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 23rd, 2003, 12:59 AM
  #57
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 6,980
Kristy, I have always brought my film back undeveloped without any problems. Put it in your carry-on bag, and never in the luggage that goes in the hold of the aircraft. Remember that x-rays are just as damaging to unexposed as exposed film, so do this on both legs of your journey. Airports always say that the x-ray machines used to scan carry-on luggage won't damage film, and I have found this to be true. But if you are still worried, put all your film in a clear plastic bag, and ask the security people to hand-inspect it.

As for the suggestions to mail it back or have it developed while still in Africa, I wouldn't even consider it. We're not talking about Royal Mail or US Postal Service here, and I wouldn't trust my treasured photographs to an African mail system. What will you do if they don't arrive after you get home?
As for having them developed while you are still there, I assume you are thinking about having them developed during your three days in Zanzibar. That might work, but what will you do if they get lost or don't get developed in time for your departure?

I never let irreplaceable photos out of my sight while travelling, and when I get home take them to a shop that does its own developing.
Heimdall is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 23rd, 2003, 01:48 AM
  #58
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,153
Heimdall I'm the same as you - even when I get home I wont put my photos in to be processed by somewhere that sends them off to another location.

Kristy - like Heimdall I haven't experienced any problems with films going through the Xrays - I do put ALL my films in my camera bag (hand luggage) in both directions but this hand bag does go through the hand luggage xray machine. I believe this is a less strong Xray than those sometimes used for checked luggage.

I've heard, though have no experience, that it's harder now to ask for films to be hand inspected because really an inspector can't tell by looking at a canister whether its got film or something else inside, so they might refuse.

Generally, if the film is not very fast (3200) then it should be fine through the hand luggage xrays.
Kavey is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 23rd, 2003, 05:23 AM
  #59
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,153
Kirsty
I went to my local camera store this morning (in order to order some Cokin lens mounts, adaptors and filters for hub's birthday).
Their camera equipent saleman was there (he only visits once every 6 months) and when I asked about the Tamron lens you mention he happened to have one in his car so he went to get it so I could have a look.
It's sooo light! And small - about the size of my 100-300. The price this store can give me is £290 so I'm going to look around but I won't be buying it straight away anyway - so I'd be very interested in your feedback once you get it.
Kavey
Kavey is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 8th, 2003, 12:55 PM
  #60
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 18
Kavey - well, I did it. I couldn't trust ordering something so expensive over the internet without first trying it on my camera. It's kind of ironic that I will book an expensive safari over the internet without ever meeting the travel agent in person, but I won't buy a much less expensive camera part over the internet.

I went to a Murphy's camera shop. They were extremely helpful. I had already done my homework though, so I was a rather easy customer. I picked out the lens and tried it on my camera. AND then, I bought it. It was around $450.00 (US). Pretty expensive, but hopefully worth it. I also bought the polarizer and the protective lens. I spent a lot, but I think it's worth it. I have taken some pictures already, but I haven't had them developed yet.
The camera shop guy did recommend Fuji Superia 400 for our safari. Yay, that's what I've been experimenting with. He also recommended taking a permanent marker and using this to mark the rolls 1,2,...16 as we use them to know which roll is which. I thought this was an excellent idea. Quick, easy, and very doable.
Did you ever buy a lens?


All others. We haven't booked yet, but I check 2Africa's website daily to see if anyone else has booked during the week we want to go. No one yet, so I will continue to wait. Don't ask me what I am waiting for, I don't know. I think it's hard to see all my hard earned money leave my savings account. Silly I know, but true.

Thanks for all your help thus far. any other advice is welcome!!!
KristyRyan is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:39 AM.