Ok as I am sure some of you may have noticed by the appearance of galleries on my website I recently returned from a trip to Tanzania. While we were there we visited Lake Manyara National Park, Ngorongoro Crater National Park, the Serengeti and Zanzibar.
I thought that I would walk you through the experience in a series of blog posts on the photographic aspects. While this will be focused on the Tanzania trip the general steps are ones I use on all my trips.
Research, research, research I am a firm believer in this. Knowing the area where you are going and trying to get an idea of what subjects that you want to capture photographically of is invaluable. The world continues to get smaller and smaller so someone has probably been there before you. The internet is a great research asset so be sure to utilize it - Google, while becoming increasingly intrusive, is hard to beat. Your time is limited so knowing the locations that you want to photograph and where they are in relation to where you are staying allows you to maximize your time.
Research the sunrise and sunset times, angles of the sunrises and sunsets in relation to locations that you want to photograph, displayed on maps you can plan out the times you want to be at these locations and the angles you want to be photographing from in relation to the location. Yes there are apps for these that you can have on your smart phone. I have them too but depending where you are, data roaming, if it is even available, is incredibly expensive so be organized as much as possible before getting there.
Bottom line is have a plan. No it should not be carved in stone because it will rarely survive the reality once you get there. Flexibility is important, as is spontaneity, but at least have a frame work of a plan because, much like the rest of life, saying “I’ll figure it out when I get there” rarely works out well.
I knew we were going to Tanzania and after extensive searching on the internet I would say the following two sites were the most useful to me:
bythom: African Photo Safari
So by now, among other things, I knew the type of vehicles I was going to be shooting from, in East Africa generally it is enclosed Toyota Land Cruisers with a roof that pops up and that generally the wildlife would be at a much greater distance than safaris in South Africa.
All this leads up to equipment selection and that will be covered in the next installment.