This year’s Tanzania Photo Safari was one of the best we’ve ever run. We photographed just about everything possible during our adventure and had a blast along the way.
My kit this year included the brand new Nikon D750 and I’m proud to report that it performed like a champ. This camera is a winner as far as I’m concerned and I kept commenting to my participants how much I enjoyed having it along on the adventure. Highly recommended.
Here are a few pics from the trip. Enjoy!
I received a lot of questions on the details surrounding the photography of the tawny eagle featured in the January 2014 newsletter. Here’s one of the questions from a reader and my answers.
I attended your lighting class in Houston last November.
Could you please tell me how and with what you shot the birds below? In particular, what lens, camera, settings, venue and degree of post-processing?
I am evaluating a new Nikor 70-200 f4, to see if it gives sharper focus than my 70-300 f 4-5.6. I have made some indoor and outdoor shots at 200mm for camparison and can discern a very slight improvement with the 70-200 f4. I am torn between returning it to B&H (I’m within 30 days) and applying that money toward a 200mm or 300mm prime. Of course, that would mean lugging more glass around. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Hi Chuck –
The pics were taken with my Nikon D800. I used a Nikon 200-400mm f/4 with the Nikon 1.4x TC II-E teleconverter. I processed each of these in Lightroom 5 and only adjusted five sliders:
1. White Balance (shot was originally a bit cool because of the overcast lighting conditions)
2. Highlights (down to keep information in the white feathers)
3. Shadows (up to pull out detail in eyes and under wings)
4. Clarity (up to add a small amount of local contrast)
5. Vibrance (up to give the colors a tiny pop)
Total time in Lightroom 5 was probably 30 seconds or less.
Regarding lens choices, if you are serious about doing bird photography, then you’ll need to get out to 500mm or longer. Most serious birders use 600mm or 800mm or longer. If you go with a prime 300mm, then I recommend the 300mm f/2.8 and the Nikon 2.0x TC III-E model. That will get you out to 600mm and still be somewhat affordable and somewhat portable.
Here are links to the lenses I refer to above:
It is amazing to me that the cutest, most adorable baby animals on earth come from some of the toughest looking parents. For example, take a look at this lion pride and their current dominant male father. The lion cubs are absolutely adorable. The father? Well, let’s just say his better days are behind him. This guy has a broken tooth and a droopy lower gum line that looks like it was torn in a recent fight.
We photographed this pride of lion in the central Serengeti just after they had killed a wildebeest. All the lions were resting lazily in the deep grass, so capturing clear shots of the group was difficult, even with our long lenses.
Last night my family and I were enjoying dinner on the back patio when my son exclaimed “woodpecker!” I’ve seen a group of three woodpeckers hanging out on my land for the last few weeks and have wanted to get a decent photo of them.
I grabbed my Nikon D300s, 200-400mm f4 and 1.4x TC and snapped 30 or so photos before this beautiful bird flew away into the woods. Out of the 30 shots, this was the only one sharp enough to work with. All the others had significant motion blur from the fast movements of the bird.
Since I’ve been preparing for a shot of the woodpeckers, I’ve left my camera and lens set up on my tripod. As Ansel Adams said, luck befalls the prepared photographer!
At the northern end of the Serengeti in Tanzania lies the Mara River. The annual wildebeest migration crosses over the Mara river as it heads to the Southern grasslands in Tanzania. The Mara River is an intriguing place because over 1 million animals have to cross the river, and there is a huge predator population lying in wait for tmeals. In November 2010, there was drought in the Southern Serengeti, so many of the wildebeest and zebra were still north near the Mara river. In fact, there were large herds of wildebeest that still hadn’t crossed the river.
It is incredibly fascinating to watch a herd of wildebeest survey the crossing and decide whether or not it should cross. We watched a large herd for quite a few hours and finally gave up since it never decided to cross. They were looking for crocodiles!
When the urge to cross becomes too great, one wildebeest will jump and then the rest of the herd will come surging through. Most make it, but a few unlucky animals don’t.
Below are a number of other photographs from the Mara River. The captions tell the rest of the story.