Tag Archives: Tanzania photography safari

Animals in Motion

It’s fun and pretty easy to capture an animal by freezing the action with a fast shutter speed.

© 2017 Bob Harvey

But what if you want to blur the image and feel the motion?

© 2015 Diane Kelsay

I find that using a medium long lens works the best for me.  Long primes like a 500 are a little more difficult to manage.  Wide angle doesn’t do much.  The above photo was taken with an 80-400 mm lens (at 240mm) at a shutter speed of 1/30, ISO 64, F22.

shutter speed 1/25
© 2017 Bob Harvey

Shutter speeds to accomplish this motion usually range from 1/15 to 1/30.

shutter speed 1/25
© 2015 Diane Kelsay

How fast the animal is running, how long a lens you have, all play into what shutter speed to use. I’ve taken photos at the same speed as above, but the legs were totally blurred into the background – animal was running faster.

shutter speed 1/15
© 2015 Diane Kelsay

Get into position when you see the opportunity coming toward you. Focus on the running animal and pan with it – release when the moment is right and follow through.  Think of hitting a tennis ball.  You will get nice background blur by doing this.

Wildebeest running hard, panning at 1/30 second.
© 2015 Diane Kelsay

Chose a path where the animal will always be in similar light – not in and out of the shade/sun which requires different exposures.  If the background changes from light to dark, auto exposure could be tricked. Manual focus or single point auto focus and manual exposure are needed to avoid picking up information from the background.

We will be working on this technique on our upcoming trips to Africa.

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Continuous Shooting

As I, Diane, explained in the previous post, I like to watch animal behavior and pick the moment.  That said, there are times when continuous is the best option.  Like the antics of a zebra taking a dust bath.  Sometimes events happen so quickly (like seeing a cloud of dust that might have action) it’s hard to follow with your eye, let alone pick the moment. And there were many to choose from, a real bonus.

Zebra taking a dust bath.
© 2017 Diane Kelsay

Bob writing, now… I was crouching on the edge of a cliff where puffins are flying in from the sea with little fish to feed their young in burrows very close to where I am standing, but also spread out along at least a kilometer of cliff edge.  Birds were coming in from the sea in a steady stream.  They knew where their burrow was, but I didn’t.  As they approached the cliff edge, they would suddenly pivot and fly parallel to the cliff, looking for an opportunity to land at their burrows.  They fly like little bullets.  From the time they make that turn to the time when all you can see is the backside is a matter of 5 to 10 seconds.  One has to “lock on” to focus as they approach, follow the turn, and then make a batch of continuous releases.  Assuming your follow focus holds (and it does more often than not with current technology) you’ll get to pick from several images.  If you get really lucky, like I did in this image, the puffin will make one more turn toward you to land at a nearby burrow.  Then instead of a sideways image, you get more of a head-on shot!

© 2018 Bob Harvey

 

It’s important to build your skills at recognizing and capturing unique moments. There are times when your eye can’t follow the speed of the action and continuous exposure is a great too.

Botswana, Fish Eagle coming in for the catch.
© 2018 Diane Kelsay

The next frame on continuous!
© 2018 Diane Kelsay

Alaska Bears – who gets the next salmon?
© 2018 Bob Harvey

Zebra wars
© Bob Harvey

Understand that there are times when you are in a quiet place and rapid fire could disturb the wildlife and/or your fellow travelers, causing you all to miss the shot.

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Exploring Tanzania February/March 2017

Post 2 – The Great Migration was in full swing.  From our lodge at Lake Masek to the Central Serengeti, great numbers of wildebeest and their newborn babies paraded in lines and sometimes just covered the landscape.

© 2017 Diane Kelsay

© 2017 Diane Kelsay

© 2017 Diane Kelsay

© 2017 Bob Harvey

Lion, perched up high watching the parade of food.
© 2017 Bob Harvey

Cheetahs waiting for an opportunity.
© 2017 Bob Harvey

© 2017 Diane Kelsay

© 2017 Diane Kelsay

Leopards haul their kill into trees.  As we watched the mom and baby high up in the tree, the catch fell to the ground sending them down to collect it and haul it up again.

The little one follows the mom down the tree to rescue the food.
© 2017 Diane Kelsay

© 2017 Bob Harvey

This time, the mom wedges the kill into the crotch of the tree – more secure.  The little one goes right to it.

© 2017 Diane Kelsay

 

© 2017 Bob Harvey

© 2017 Bob Harvey

© 2017 Bob Harvey

© 2017 Bob Harvey

 

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Tanzania Photography Safari

Post 1 – Tanzania is a land of much excitement.  Animals move about in search of food and water – some for a few miles, while others are on the great migration.  Sometimes we waited for light, sometimes we waited for action.  Many times we witnessed how the animals behaved in a variety of situations, which gave us opportunities for some special photography.

Leopard © 2015 Bob Harvey

Leopard
© 2015 Bob Harvey

Leopards and rhinos, very difficult to find and this year we were lucky to get both at reasonable distances.  It did take some patience, waiting for this leopard to get up and walk out of the shade, and only for a few seconds.

Black rhinos © 2015 Diane Kelsay

Black rhinos
© 2015 Diane Kelsay

 

Cheetah brothers stalk a lost Wildebeest baby, and then together jump into a charge. © 2015 Diane Kelsay

Cheetah brothers stalk a lost wildebeest baby, and then together jump into a charge.
© 2015 Diane Kelsay

Only one of the cheetahs will make the kill.  The other will return to eat. © 2015 Diane Kelsay

Only one of the cheetahs will make the kill. The other will return to eat.
© 2015 Diane Kelsay

Cheetah smothers to finish the kill. © 2015 Diane Kelsay

Cheetah smothers to finish the kill.
© 2015 Diane Kelsay

Cheetah © 2015 Bob Harvey

Cheetah
© 2015 Bob Harvey

A lilac breasted roller is quick to snap up this insect. © 2015 Bob Harvey © 2015 Bob Harvey

A lilac breasted roller is quick to snap up this insect.
© 2015 Bob Harvey

Cape buffalo and friend. © 2015 Diane Kelsay

Cape buffalo and friend.
© 2015 Diane Kelsay

© 2015 Diane Kelsay

© 2015 Diane Kelsay

Baby elephant © 2015 Bob Harvey

Baby elephant at the water hole.
© 2015 Bob Harvey

Zebras at the water hole. © 2015 Bob Harvey

Zebra at the water hole.
© 2015 Bob Harvey

Panning a zebra at 1/30 second. © 2015 Diane Kelsay

Panning a zebra at 1/30 second.
© 2015 Diane Kelsay

Wildebeest running hard, panning at 1/30 second. © 2015 Diane Kelsay

Wildebeest running hard, panning at 1/30 second.
© 2015 Diane Kelsay

Our group had a lot of fun learning this technique. It does take some practice. You must pan with the animal as you shoot at a slow shutter speed.

Lions resting, or as much as they can with flies bothering them. © 2015 Diane Kelsay

Lions resting, or as much as they can with flies bothering them.
© 2015 Diane Kelsay

© 2015 Diane Kelsay

© 2015 Diane Kelsay

Join us in February 2017 for our next safari to Tanzania!

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Tanzania Photography Safari

This 4th post will conclude my blog for our February Tanzania Photography Safari.  If you are just visiting for the first time, be sure and scroll down through the other 3 posts.  This was such a memorable trip with the many rare sightings we had and were able to photograph.  At the end of our trip, everyone felt very touched by the sign as we entered Lake Manyara National Park – Remove nothing from the park except: Nourishment for the soul; Consolation for the heart; Inspiration for the mind.  They said “that was our trip”!  Join us in 2015 http://www.naturephotographyadventures.com/workshop.photo.tanzania.htm

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Zebras and wildebeest running together
© 2013 Diane Kelsay

The lion cub photo on the last post seemed to be everyone’s favorite, so I am including 2 more of the 20 or so shots I got of this cute little guy.

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Lion cub taking a cat nap
© 2013 Diane Kelsay

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Ah, nap didn’t last long
© 2013 Diane Kelsay

And speaking of yawns, check out the teeth on this cheetah.

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wow
© 2013 Diane Kelsay

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Sure, we can back up, no problem
© 2013 Diane Kelsay

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Elephant dust bath
© 2013 Diane Kelsay

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Look at those lashes – yeah, we were pretty close
© 2013 Diane Kelsay

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The elegance of the flamingo
© 2013 Diane Kelsay

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Taking flight
© 2013 Diane Kelsay

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Storm coming in late afternoon, Serengeti
© 2013 Diane Kelsay

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Sunrise after the storm
© 2013 Diane Kelsay

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Tanzania Photography Safari

Our first morning in the Serengeti… I was awakened by the sounds of lions roaring, hippos grunting, and something munching the grass outside my tent.  I thought that would just be a giraffe – not so.  At 6:00 am my fearless Maasai warrior escort arrives and starts stomping and yelling to chase away two cape buffalo right off my deck blocking my exit (fortunately the deck is 4’ high).  The buffalo responds and gives me some space.  I did check to make sure my escort had his spear before I came down the steps.  We always have an escort when it is dark.

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Sunrise, Camp Masek, near my tent
© 2013 Diane Kelsay

After breakfast, we had a beautiful sunrise by my favorite tree here at Masek (which is near my tent).  The day only got better with lots of cats and more.

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Lions having a family discussion
© 2013 Diane Kelsay

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Leopard sleeping high in a tree
© 2013 Diane Kelsay

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Lion cooling off in the shade at the granite kopjes in the Serengeti
© 2013 Diane Kelsay

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Lion cub (about 3 months old) in the kopjes
© 2013 Diane Kelsay

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Crowned cranes, protecting the nest
© 2013 Diane Kelsay

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Young zebra snuggling up to mom
© 2013 Diane Kelsay

Impala…

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© 2013 Diane Kelsay

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© 2013 Diane Kelsay

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© 2013 Diane Kelsay

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© 2013 Diane Kelsay

We met some Maasai junior warriors out herding goats and stopped to chat. One of them tried to offer me his necklace, didn’t know what that implied so I gracefully declined.

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photo taken by Said, our guide

More photos to come in a few days.

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