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Written by: Chris on 22 June 2017

How to take great pictures on your Tanzania safari – Part II

Great images on Tanzania Safari

In part I on how to take great pictures on your Tanzania safari, we explained the importance of light, composition and perspective for memorable safari photos. Let’s continue our journey in quest of great safari images!

Location, location, location

If taking spectacular images is a priority for your safari, there are certain destinations that are going to give you that little bit more, and this is where Tanzania really comes into its own.

The vast open plains, savannah and acacia trees of the Serengeti always make for a truly iconic safari backdrop, and you’re unlikely to find anywhere better in Africa for capturing big cats on the hunt.

Then there are the beautiful Lake Natron and Lake Manyara, both great for flamingos, and the former also for an active volcano, the latter for tree-climbing lions.

The colours, contrasts and vibrant culture of Zanzibar are also a photographic highlight, as are the iconic Mount Kilimanjaro and its slightly smaller sibling, Mount Meru.

Always look out for small details that draw attention to or enhance the character of a particular location. Plain landscapes, even in Tanzania, can get a little repetitive photographically after a while.

Watch your shutter speed

Many of the best wildlife or birdlife shots are action shots, where the subject or subjects are moving rather than sitting still.

But it can be hard to predict an animal’s or bird’s movements, and you might not have much of a window of time to catch a great action shot. To help ensure that you don’t miss out on an opportunity by taking images that are not pin sharp, you need to keep your shutter speed high.

The general rule is that your shutter speed should always be at least twice your lens focal length. So if you are shooting with a 100 – 400mm lens, for example, your shutter speed should always be 1/800 or above. If shooting birds, look to push your shutter speed up to 1/2500.

Don’t be afraid to experiment

While it’s sometimes good to play by hard and fast wildlife photography rules, as you get more confident it can also be a whole lot of fun breaking them.

Get to know your camera and its capabilities intimately, play around with its settings; overexpose, underexpose; slow down your shutter speed with a fast-moving subject and see what happens; zoom in as far as you can on a specific part of your subject, as below.

If we all stick to the same rules all the time, all our images are going to look more or less alike. Don’t be afraid to be original.

Now that you know the theory, let‘s test it in the field. Your safari starts here!

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