Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Safaris In The Digital Age
Taking a dream trip to Africa to photograph the incredible array of wildlife there is more doable than you think
Allen, who was born in California, traveled all over the world and now lives with his family in Zimbabwe, has been guiding safaris throughout southern Africa for 20 years. But it’s only in the past six or so—as DSLRs have become ubiquitous—that he has seen a complete transformation in how he leads such tours, not only as a photography experience, but also as intense photography education. An articulate man of many words, vast experience and knowledge, extraordinary patience and boundless energy fueled by a cola addiction, Allen views every safari as a personal mission to expand his charges’ photographic skills as well as their understanding of their wildlife subjects and the environmental issues affecting the reserves. For his “students,” it’s a rich learning experience.
“Safari images convey a sense of the exceptionalism of the moment without actually putting yourself or your subject in danger,” says wildlife photographer and educator George Lepp. “This is one of the best things digital photography has brought to the safari, extending our reach right into an animal’s personal space without it knowing, and extending the period of time we can photograph successfully to encompass the early and late hours of the day when many animals are most active.”
Many of today’s DSLRs feature high-resolution capture rates of more than 10 frames per second in hundred-image sequences, fast recording to media, extraordinary low-light capture capability and big-screen LCDs—all qualities perfectly suited to problem-solving in the African landscape. Digital SLRs with expandable ISO and internal noise-reduction software are the tools that make it possible for skilled amateurs and pros alike to photograph a pack of wild dogs hunting after sundown, rosy-pink flamingos flying across a sunset sky and a baboon family in intimate, early-morning light.
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