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| p.1 #1 · Okavango delta photograpy safari - gear tips. |
I was in the delta for 3 weeks in December and had a fantastic time. Before I went I got a lot of tips and advice off this forum so thought I might give back to the community a few tips of my own in case they are useful to someone. You can see some of my pics and blogs here.
Firstly support: don't let anyone tell you not to take a tripod or monopod. Also you CAN use beanbags in southern africa in open vehicles. In the delta the vehicles don't have normal roofs (although some have canvas topped roofs). Many of the guys I was with used beanbags (although I didn't). They were not of use all the time as you can generally only put them over the seat in front of you or the armrest beside you and because I am tall I found this too low but some managed. Some also used a bean bag sitting on their tripod head. Tripods are easily used in the vehicles also. If you are only 1 or 2 people per row you can set the tripod up quite easily on the floor. I lashed mine to the bar in front with some tyre tube strips so it didn't flail around while driving. Whenever the positioning of it didn't suit (I was using the 500mm F4 on it) I would either shoot hand held or with the monopod. I used the monopod a lot also. You can prop it on the floor in front of you or over the side on the tyre or wherever when you have an odd angle of view. I used it to get up high to shoot over the head of the guy in front. I also used it to hang the camera and lens on it and hold it down near ground level to shoot with a remote release. Also if you like landscapes you will have chances to get out of the vehicle to shoot and you need a tripod - particularly in the evening at sundowner time when you have a nice sunset.
I also heard a lot of people say you don't need long lenses in the delta. Again I disagree. I used my 500 with and without convertor on full frame 5D2's for a lot of the time (and on the 7D for birds). Most of my best shots were with the 500mm. I used 2 5D2 bodies and a 7D and really loved the 5D for most stuff. Many of the animals don't move very quick. For faster moving stuff and birds the 7D served well but was not as satisfying in some cases when used at higher iso's. Both the 7D and 5D2 struggled a bit in low light with focus sometimes and a mk4 would have been good but I don't regret not having one as its just more bulk and weight.
My mid range lenses were the 70-200 F4 and 300 F4. The 300 performed really well as did the 70-200 at times but it was frustrating having to change between the two. I might go with a 70-200 F2.8 or 100-400 next time. The f2.8 would have been handy for spotlight shooting of lions at night.
The delta in December was fantastic. Cloudy skies, only one afternoon completely rained out, some days overcast all day. Heat not too bad. Green backgrounds and NO worries with dust. I changed lenses constantly and had no problems at all with dust on sensors. Also wasn't cold in the mornings. Great time of year to go.
If you want any further info I'm happy to help.