Cape Town firstly is a destination, along with South Africa, that spoils the avid nature photographer with choices, from wildlife to nature, there is an endless amount of beauty waiting you. It is not only the camera gear that will make your photography impressive and add reward to your result, but a checklist that accompanies this task. Along with dedication and patience, you will need to select a location based on your objective desire, this equates to weather and climate concerns, as each are unique in what you are going to capture in your pictures.

My first bit of advice is to research the location or game reserve. Take not only the weather patterns into consideration, but the habits of the wildlife that you wish to capture. Remember animals have different “living standards”, meaning that in some cases dry conditions are best, as animals are not able to hide under the lush greenery, which makes them harder to discover as they are hidden. Another point is that in the dryer seasons, your larger animal species lack energy, making for easy stalking for the hunt, they will also be constantly spending time searching for waterholes to quench their thirst.

So, a good idea is to learn and understand their habits, which animals travel in packs and which are loners, the same goes for aggressive and passive behaviors. Besides the online research you conduct, there are steps you need to follow when you arrive before you go on a trigger-happy drive which can be disappointing at the end of the day.

The next and most obvious step is your camera gear:

Again, this will be depicted on the research that you have done that I have suggested above.

For wildlife and game photography you will need professional camera gear and lenses if you want seriously crisp and pin sharp images. This will come at a price, but gain all is well to those that have a limited budget, yet want the best. You can hire the cameras as well as the lenses a at a fraction of the cost. I am sure you agree that this makes more sense than splashing out on something that you will only use once or even twice a year. Rent it and go for top of the range gear, you won’t regret the result.

What you need in your camera bag:

  • The camera body will need to be one that is solid and durable to these outdoor conditions and temperatures.
  • A good LED screen is important for reviewing your images to ensure that you achieve the color and clarity perspective you desire.
  • The spec will need to meet with the expectations of the situation, a fast-continuous speed option is necessary with a low light excellence to ensure that your images are noise free for those dusk and dawn moments.
  • If you have the money, consider taking a back up camera, so you are firstly covered, should you have any issues, and secondly, you will not have to waste time changing lenses and miss out on a precious moment. this additional body will also enable a second shooter to capture images that you miss out on at the time.
  • Your card. Take enough memory cards with you for the trip. Make sure they are formatted and ready for the occasion. As you are normally in a remote area, downloading your photographs may pose a challenge, so you are able to document and store your images on your card safely until you return home.
  • The next big consideration is your selection of lenses that you pack. For wildlife photography, you will need a decent zoom, remember they do not shoot wide, only far, so great to capture close ups without disturbing the moment. You will require a pro lens with excellent quality glass to ensure this, as well as a decent range. Should you wish to focus on landscape, you will need a wide-angle lens, same applies to the quality of the lens. Designed for wide shots, it is not for zooming into your subject. Unfortunately, you will need both if you wish to capture both scenarios. Make sure that you keep your lenses clean, as there might be dust or humidity, which will affect the sharpness and potential haze that might become an issue with the outcome of the picture quality.
  • Your bag that you take needs to house all your equipment. It also needs to be absorbent to handle the odd knock that occurs. A watertight and well-sealed option is also important to ensure all your gear is kept dry and free of dust. Never place your camera gear in a plastic type compartment as this will course sweating from the inside and destroy it.
  • Lastly, a decent tripod is essential for those deep shade conditions where the light is dim. Also, a great piece of gear for landscape photography, should you want to achieve depth of field.

So yes, be prepared, it is worth it.

I suggest that on arrival, you take the following into consideration:

  • Map out your drive and the journey beforehand and spend the first two days, if possible, scouting and getting to know the areas bit by bit.
  • As a photographer, you will know that light and time of day is one of the key factors to consider. Harsh sunlight and shadows are things you want to avoid to make sure that you mark your drive and shooting times, my guess would be the golden hour, early morning or early evening, or again in cloudy overcast situations when the light is diffused and free of dappled shadows which affect your subject and the end result.
  • Now go and take those amazing pictures that make you proud to show your friends.

If you require further help and planning a gaming or wildlife adventure, DLPHOTO provides short, practical and concise workshops that will make your photography experience well worth it.