In a series of five blog posts, we are asking Edward Selfe, a resident guide and photographer in South Luangwa National Park, to share some tips about getting great safari photos. This is the first post in the series.
Wildlife photography is a rich and complex subject. A professional can take a lifetime perfecting his art, trying new ideas, pushing his equipment to the limits and seeking that one moment which will make his name.
However, whoever they are, and wherever they live, there are some techniques that they will all employ to ensure that their images catch their viewers’ eye.
Modern cameras have outstanding auto-focus systems. They can obtain focus fast, accurately and in very low light levels. But they are also highly customisable and if you don’t set them up correctly they can give unpredictable results.
For wildlife photography, using a single focus point is usually best; you can then select which of your camera’s focus points (they have between 6 and 75!) you want to focus with at a given time.
This will allow you to compose your image however you like; do you want to place the lioness in the bottom left of the frame? No problem, select the focus point in the lower left of the viewfinder, place it over the lioness and snap away. Using a single focus point like this will nearly always give you better results than allowing the camera to choose which of its focus points to use – sadly cameras can’t yet tell a lion from a tree, river or bush!
Things to watch out for:
– The camera achieves focus by looking for areas of contrast (a zebra’s stripe for example) and maximising the difference between dark and light. Therefore, focusing on areas of contrast will give you more accurate focus results – e.g. choose to focus on a lion’s face rather than its flank which has only flat-coloured tawny fur.
– The central focus points on your camera are more sensitive and accurate than those around the edge of the frame. Use these central ones when light levels are low (and contrast is reduced) or when your camera is having trouble achieving correct focus.
– The small screen on the back of your camera can be deceptive. Zoom in on images to make sure they are in focus.
– Don’t mistake focus for sharpness – if your image is out of focus, something other than your chosen subject will be in focus; if the image contains movement blur, nothing will look sharp.
Good luck and enjoy your photography!
Excellent stunning series of photos, with an incredible timings of various interactions occurs in the wild south Luangwa. I am impressed with your genius work on photographic safari industry.
But what puzzled most is the what type of the lens you employ in your works, or what camera brandy with what type of lens attached to it? have been asking myself a million dollar questions?
karibu Tanzania the land of the most 1000times rare than diamond “Tanzanite” one of the most beautiful gemstone in the world, the land of the highest roof in Africa Kilimanjaro, the land of spice island-Zanzibar, the endless plain of Serengeti, and the garden of eden the Ngorongoro crater.
Notwithstanding my favorite attractions in my country is the Zanzibar north west lush beaches, the floor of ngorongoro crater I have never seen such a enormous interactions of animals in my life. though I guess the interactions in south Luangwa national park cannot be ignored as the one of the greatest game in the southern African parks.
I enjoyed the thrilling video of the leopard killing such a cruelty creature. it is also a first time to view such an amazing event. it seems crocodile flesh is not suitable for predators your discovery has revealed an interesting topic to pursue.