Taking pictures in the wild, my short list
by Francesco Zezza
list comes out from the experiences (in taking pictures) I had over the years. I
begun, of course may I add, with a cheap “point and shot”, compact camera, then
I switched to a reflex (I like Minolta cameras) and finally to a digital unit
... over the year I had some “losses” because of the “extreme tasks” I required
them, at this regard I’d like to report at least:
My first Minolta reflex “passed away” in the
Sinai desert when sand entered it ... ...:
My (old fashioned, for the sake of truth) Sony
cam-corder that “succumbed” to mist in the (Peru) Amazon Jungle
foreword, for now ... let’s go ahead.
Bring camera equipment you know pretty well.
Some shot may happen – if ever – once in your life, what a pit will be
having missed it while struggling with that “unknown” equipments.
In case you’re going to buy that brand new
camera for “the trip of your life” get used to it way in advance ... Having
all equipments fully checked before departure is a MUST!
Consider the option of having two cameras in
case one “goes wrong”. At this regard I consider my digital camera as a
plus, preferring to rely on my old fashioned Minolta reflex camera, its
lenses, flash and the rest ... (but I have ONE Minolta only!)
A camera with a 200 or 300mm telephoto lens is
quite good for wildlife photography (I personally use a 210 mm and – to me -
is the BARE minimum); any way - under given circumstances - even a”point’n
shot” camera will do.
Serious photographers (mostly if “dealing” with
birds) will go for a 500mm lens. Beware of weight of such a lens, a tripode
is higly reccomended.
Films (and mostly slides) may result hard to
find “in field”, then have the right supply with you; is not that uncommon
use more than one roll per day when “on duty”.
Most game drives take place with faded light (aka:
early in the morning or late in the afternoon): an ASA 400 will prove itself
an excellent “all purpose” choice.
Films should be kept in your – hand carried –
camera bag and, possibly, hand inspected; even if x-ray machines are claimed
to be “film-safe”, one of my mottos is: better safe than sorry!
Night shoots will require (beyond dedicated
films/colour slides, up to ASA 1000) an EXTREMELY powerful flash.
Use Ziploc bags (or alike) to protect your
camera(s) from dust/rain/moist and alike.
Always have with you extra batteries for all of
your equipments: cameras, flash, camcorder and more ... the ones you use may
be unobtainable/unavailble; then you’re ... fired!
The use of polarizing filter could be an
Same is for a skylight unit (to protect from
dust) even at cost of a marginal decayment of picture quality.
Video batteries may be/may be not recharged at
camps and/or to cigarette-lighter on vehicles. Have then – at least – one
Never forger adapters (for sockets) and check
Volts (be sure to have a miltipurpose electric charger)
final, points not directly related to techie stuff but, all the same, worth
When taking your picture NEVER forget Your
team-mates. You cannot be always on the best seat. Respect their right – and
ask them to do the same - and wait for our turn.
Taking pictures of local people ALWAYS requires
their agreement: be responsible, polite and kind ... when in doubt it’s way
better void to get that “given” pictures.
You will be requested – no matter the actual
reason – fo refrain from taking pictures in some areas (i.e.: airports,
military installations and so on) following this advice will show your
respect to local habits and – last but not least - will void you being
harassed and even taking to jail