Photography for all situations – Travel Africa Magazine

Photography for all situations – Travel Africa Magazine


With advances in expertise, nature photographers are actually capable of simply take nice photos irrespective of the climate or time of day. By Lou Coetzer

Unusual climate patterns and occasions have gotten extra frequent and surprising, which makes it more durable to foretell what situations it’s possible you’ll expertise on safari. I as soon as took a shopper to the Chobe River on the finish of July anticipating assured sunshine all day day-after-day. It rained or was so deeply overcast and chilly all week that we ended up photographing malachite kingfishers with flash day in and time out. So how are you going to make sure you take wonderful images irrespective of the situations?

Cederberg, handheld. By utilizing the power of the superior sensor and lens picture stabilisation in as we speak’s cameras, it’s potential to do almost all panorama pictures with no tripod (excluding the place you need to blur water motion, for instance), capturing at ISOs starting from ISO 31 and barely exceeding ISO 100.
Nikon D850 with Tamron 15-30mm F2.8 / F22 @1/80 Sec / ISO 12 5/ EV-1.7

The problem
In the previous, nature photographers working with movie have been very restricted in excessive climate. For landscapes we might use tripods and shoot at very sluggish shutter speeds. Occasionally we succeeded in portraying creative movement with blurred photos or we may use flash if we may get shut sufficient to lively wildlife topics. But largely we have been confined to working solely beneath ideally suited mild situations.

With movie we merely didn’t have sufficient shutter speeds to work with. I used to be capturing with Fuji Velvia 50 ISO movie pushed to ISO 100. At dawn on an ideal winter’s morning in Etosha, utilizing a 600mm F4.Zero lens with a 1.4x converter, the very best shutter pace my state-of-the-art gear supplied was simply 1/640 secs.

The solely actual benefit of the primary digital cameras was that we weren’t restricted to simply the 36 exposures of movie. We nonetheless needed to shoot at low ISOs as a result of the digital sensors then generated very noisy (the digital equal of movie grain) photos at increased ISOs of 200 and above. To keep away from extreme noise, we have been taught to reveal our images with the histogram to the appropriate, risking the over-exposure of highlights in photos with EV+ values and robbing us of much more shutter pace.

Spur winged goose, Chobe National Park, taken at noon in harsh daylight
Nikon D4 with Nikon 400mm F2.8 / F2.8 @1/8000sec / ISO 100 / EV -1.3

The answer

There has been an enormous advance within the sensor capabilities in as we speak’s digital cameras. A base ISO of 800 produces much better picture high quality that we may have achieved with 50 ISO movie (and just about noise-free) and provides us eight occasions extra shutter speeds to work with.

The dramatic enchancment within the sensors’ dynamic vary permits the chance to shoot at EV- values (beneath expose) to forestall whites from blowing out, whereas nonetheless retaining the main points within the blacks again in post-process modifying. Moving from EV+ to EV- generates an extra four-to-eight occasions extra shutter speeds.

In latest years, full-frame cameras with a lot increased pixel counts—60 million and counting—have emerged, with out sacrificing the earlier developments of upper ISO, noise-free photos with an incredible dynamic vary. Managing depth of subject has turn into a lot simpler.

Nature photographers have by no means had it higher. Today’s digital sensors allow us to make use of excessive shutter speeds in any scenario. The query will not be if we will or ought to shoot at sluggish shutter speeds (which we clearly can), however moderately what can we obtain with the dramatic enhance in speeds now obtainable to us? Understanding the capabilities of our cameras, and setting them up with a easy recipe in thoughts, we are actually capable of take care of just about any climate situations.


Lou Coetzer is a pioneering wildlife photographic information, whose custom-designed boats and automobiles and forward-thinking tutorial have remodeled guided photographic safaris. He provides a Mentorship Support Programme to assist photographers develop their craft from their very own house. Details at

Lou may even be working a collection of webinars ranging from 23 April 2020. For particulars and to enroll to attend, go to

Elephant in Etosha National Park, after solar set, deeply overcast and in extreme mud
Nikon D800 with Nikon 400mm F2.8 / F2.8 @ 1/1000sec / ISO 400/ EV -1.0

All photos copyright: Lou Coetzer.


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