Category Archives: Photographers

How you can achieve remarkable photos on an african safari

How You Can Achieve Remarkable Photos on an African Safari

By | Photogaphy, Photographers, Photographic Safari | No Comments

An African Safari is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most people – an experience that you’ll cherish for many years to come. By photographing your experience you can preserve these precious memories and show off the most beautiful wildlife to ever exist.

We believe that investing in the proper equipment (which doesn’t have to break the bank!) allows you to preserve these memories in the best way possible. You want to achieve bright, clear photos that show off your experiences and allow you to re-live them. If you’re worried that your photography skills are a little lacklustre – our comprehensive guide will show you absolutely everything you need to know.

Here at Tusk we capture an array of photos all over the world – however, our hearts belong in the wonders of Africa, especially with the abundance of wildlife and photographic opportunities available. Our guide is intended to help those embarking on their first safari – or perhaps you’re a well-seasoned traveller, looking to improve your photographic safari skills and capture those golden shots.

What should you bring along to your safari?





The camera

A DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera is usually the best to bring alone, however, if you’re on a budget then a compact camera or Smartphone with decent zoom still has some fantastic capabilities for shooting wildlife

The lenses

If you have a DSLR then interchangeable lenses mean you can take the best shots depending on your subject matter and how close/far away you are.

We usually recommend lenses in the range of 200-400mm for wildlife photography – especially when you’re shooting predators from afar

Choosing your camera


The best camera for wildlife photography depends entirely on your budget. Everyone has different preferences and there isn’t an ultimate camera you absolutely need to purchase to achieve amazing wildlife photos.

Traditionally – owning a DSLR camera with a range of interchangeable lenses will guarantee you the best results as they can offer you crisp photos even whilst zoomed in. They’re also easier to fine tune if shooting in difficult lighting conditions.

However, in most recent days the smartphone has taken over the compact and DSLR camera as an affordable (and sometimes even better!) choice. Before deciding on which method you wish to shoot in – you need to consider the options and what best suits you.

  • Speak to a professional within a camera shop – let them know you’re on a safari and the kinds of shots you want to achieve.
  • If you’re going to spend a lot of time in a local community, definitely consider having a compact camera or simply your smartphone, as carrying a huge camera around can make you an easy target for thieves

  • Photography equipment


    Tripod

    It’s a notorious rule that you should never use your flash in a safari. By using a tripod to take a long exposure – allowing more light to enter your camera by using a very slow shutter speed (it can also help prevent camera shake)

    Dust-proof casing

    Having a sturdy dust-proof case for your camera is an essential accessory, especially if you’re a pro-am or pro photographer. The deserts are very dusty and the last thing you want is tiny particles floating around your optics.

    Or equip two bodies

    Another alternative is equipping two bodies – one with a prime lens and the other with a zoom. This saves the need to switch lenses (which ultimately increases your chance of getting dust in your camera) and also saves you missing that golden shot.

    Bean bag

    Something as simple as a small bean bag to prop on the window of your car and rest your camera on is one of the best methods for reducing overall lens shake and any unnecessary damage to your camera whilst the vehicle is moving (not to mention it gives your arms a rest).

    Telephoto Zoom Lens

    If you’re using a DSLR a decent telephoto zoom lens of at least 200mm is perfect for capturing safari animals. If your budget allows – a 500mm zoom lens is really ideal for birds and mammals at further distances

    Wide angle lens

    Wide angle lenses are fantastic for scenic shots – anything with a focal length between 14mm-70mm would be ideal. It’s great for nature photography enthusiasts who wish to capture a variety of landscapes.

    Don’t forget to point upwards – if you’re on a safari during a rainy season then including the sky within your shots can really add some drama and give you some awe-inspiring results.

    Batteries

    Bring plenty of batteries and your charger so you don’t run out of juice unexpectedly – ensure they’re healthy batteries and are kept out of the plummeted temperatures of the desert.

    Storage space

    You’ll be taking A LOT of photos without realising. Have a few memory cards packed and an external hard drive to dump your photos on to. If you don’t like the idea of swapping memory cards too often then invest in high capacity ones such as 32GB.

    Safari shoot planning


    Shooting in challenging conditions

    You’ll need to learn to compensate for low lighting conditions, blue backgrounds to focus on an animal or other subject matter.

    You’ll spend anything between 4 -16 hours a day within a vehicle on a game drive, however, we find that the optimal times for shooting are at dawn and dusk. You also need to consider the bumpy ride ahead

    Photo composition

    Having a good eye for details is just as (if not more so) important than having the right equipment for your safari. Thinking about how you compose your shots to tell a story to the viewer is essential in producing stunning imagery.

    Avoid shooting high angles – take images at eye level or from below to enhance size and detail. Where possible, try and frame your shots against sand, trees, water or the sky – be mindful of bushes or other objects dotted about that could detract attention away from your main focus.

    Practice shooting pre-safari

    If you’ve got the budget to purchase new photography equipment then it’s essential that you find time to practice before venturing on your safari. Read your camera guide and play around with the different settings, especially if you’re new to the photographic practice.

    21 Creatives Share How Travel Has Changed Their Lives

    By | Interview, Photographers, Photojournalism | No Comments

    If you’ve seldom traveled, have you ever wondered what it’s like to globe-trot and experience new sights and cultures? Whether you’re thinking of embarking on a roundtrip or need a heads-up from some of the most well-traveled individuals out there – we’ve put together this exclusive roundup to help give you some perspective and inspire you to pursue your own adventures.

    Photography and the written word allows us to capture such experiences and cultures with ease, and it’s through such mediums that we can record what we see and feel with ease. Our list of professional phtoographers, photojournalists and travel bloggers possess an abundance of world experiences and share their reasoning of how travel has enriched their lives.

    Check out our experts roundup below to discover some of the best creatives out there and their thoughts on how travel, writing and photography has changed their lives for the better.

    “How has travel changed your life and why?”

    We’d like to dedicate this time to say thank you to all participants in our roundup and share such incredible stories and experiences. We hope you enjoy reading this incredibly inspirational roundup. Share it to help encourage your friends, family or your own audiences to travel too!

    ​PAUL JOHNSON – Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog

    “Travel has changed my life in many ways, not least through opening my eyes to the wider world. I live in a relatively rural part of the UK, between the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales, and – although I love it here – I’d be getting a very blinkered view of the world if I didn’t travel. Travelling the globe has introduced me to a wealth of different cultures, traditions, food and drink, amazing experiences and more. My love of travel is something I’m also keen to instil in our children. We have enjoyed many great trips as a family, doing all sorts of different things, from sailing in Spain to safaris in South Africa. Memories that will last a lifetime and that, educationally, will arguably rival any time spent in a classroom.”

    DAVID LAZAR – David Lazar Photo

    All my travel photography experiences have broadened my mind and I really enjoy meeting and photographing scenes and people from different cultures and of different ethnicities. I learn that happiness isn’t derived from material possession, and it’s touching to discover that those who have little wealth are perhaps the kindest, most generous and strongest human beings on the planet. They stay positive and they don’t complain. I also learnt that there is so much beauty in the world, and every country has something beautiful and amazing to offer.

    ​CHRIS BURKARD – Chris Burkard

    In my line of work, I have been lucky enough to travel to all sorts of destinations, and one experience that really stands out to me is in Norway. While I was in Norway, I reached the verge of hypothermia. I had been taking photos in the water and the waves were just too good. Despite losing feeling in my limbs, I kept shooting. Snow started to fall. I could hardly believe the conditions I was shooting in; it was so surreal. Before long, the cold got to me and I knew if I didn’t get out soon it would mean carrying me out unconscious. Thankfully, the guys were able to drag me out of the water. I was able to warm up and was fine, but nonetheless it was quite the eye-opening experience. It taught me that in life there are no shortcuts to joy. Anything worth pursuing is going to require us to suffer just a little bit. I find that as I keep pursuing photography and these remote locations, this mindset keeps me motivated in my photography, but also helps me find fulfillment in my work.

    MIKE VER SPRILL – Milky Way Mike

    “Traveling has become more than just a pretty picture of a beautiful animal or faraway land. I’ve really grown to appreciate the different cultures, foods, smells, sites, and sounds of other places. It’s very easy to become complacent in our busy lives, however I urge people to really set time aside to travel. If I go too long without traveling I start to get anxious and depressed. It has become a reset button for me and my life, especially being able to document those moments in time so I can relive them when I scroll through my images. I will be honest though, travel and wildlife photography isn’t always what the pictures portray. Some places require long hours of strenuous hiking, a lot of patience, determination and very little sleep. But it’s those humbling experiences, the new friends I meet along the way and the thrill of exploring the next destination that has made fall in love with the road.”

    ALAN HEWITT – Alan Hewitt Photography

    “As a wildlife photographer, I have many memories of watching and photographing herds of elephants bond with each other at watering holes, Lions working instinctively as a pride to hunt prey, the drama of thousands of Wildebeest crossing through Crocodile infested waters…. These are just a few examples!

    Despite being a regular witness to such incredible wildlife spectacles, it is the human element of my travels which has had the greatest impact upon me. Travelling in Africa has introduced me to many wonderful people and their culture, the indigenous Maasai of the Rift Valley in Kenya, frontline rangers in South Africa’s Greater Kruger, the team at African Impact who do fantastic work in wildlife conservation and education, for example.

    Over the years, I have forged friendships with people I have met. I have had the pleasure of visiting their families in their home villages and modern technology has allowed me to keep in touch with them from the United Kingdom. Having good friends from an entire different social and cultural background who I communicate with and share each others ‘ups and downs’ as regularly as friends and family at home is a character-building and humbling experience. Returning to Africa is more than leading a photography trip, it’s a reunion with friends who I value as much as I value family”.

    MICHAEL & MEGAN JERRARD – Mapping Megan

    There isn’t a single aspect of my life that hasn’t been changed from travelling the world. My second international trip I met my wife while climbing Kilimanjaro and hiking the Serengeti. I lived in America and she was Australian which meant we would have to continue travelling to keep our long distance relationship alive. Nearly 10 years later, we find ourselves married living in Australia and have been to more countries together than we can count. Having traveled to Antarctica, the Amazon, and exotic islands like the Galapagos, we have come to realize it would be a disservice to yourself to not experience as much of the world as you can. Travel opens your mind to other cultures and ideas so you can mature in many aspects of your life as you gain a clearer picture of the world. Travel makes you feel alive and you begin to realize that reality is negotiable where you can make your life whatever you wish it to be.     

    ROXANNE REID  – Roxanne Reid

    Travel has taught me the value of memories and people over things. That mental picture of a lone tree on the Mara Plains, a mokoro journey in the Okavango Delta, walking the Kalahari Desert with a San tracker, or being among wild horses in the Namib – these are jewels more valuable than any material riches. Meeting people is also an essential part of the joy of travelling. From rural schoolchildren who have never ventured more than a few kilometres from home to knowledgeable safari guides or highly qualified scientists who have circled the globe. From people who are passionate about their small patch of earth to daredevils pushing beyond the boundaries of the known into something new and thrilling, I love to learn from them and soak up their wisdom and philosophy.

    NELLIE HUANG – Wild Junket

    Travel changed me in more ways than one. I grew up a shy and timid kid in Singapore, but a university student exchange program in Miami completely changed me as a person and it opened my eyes to the world beyond my bubble. I met people from different cultures, made lifelong friends (including my current husband), and I became even more curious about the world. The experience also made me more confident and brave, hungry to get out there and explore, learn and soak up everything like a sponge.

    Eventually, travel became such a big part of me that I knew I had to make travel a way of life. It was then I started my adventure travel blog WildJunket.com, and got my foot into the world of travel writing. WildJunket.com is now a popular travel resource read by 100,000 visitors each month, and my work has appeared in well known publications like BBC Travel, CNN, Lonely Planet and Rough Guides. I also now organize tours for my readers to travel remote and hard-to-reach places such as Tibet, Iraqi Kurdistan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan.

    ​LUC FORSYTH – Luc Forsyth

    For me, the pursuit of photography came after my love of travel, not the other way around. Travel has always been among the top priorities in my life and so my passion for image making came as a result of wanting to capture the scenes around me and communicate them to other people. I never set out to become a professional photographer, in fact it happened quite by accident, and had I not wanted to capture the world as I was seeing it during my travels, I don’t think I ever would have picked up a camera in the first place. But once travel and photography had become interwoven into my life, they became inseparable, and now photography has become the reason I travel. Photography gives my travels purpose and direction, a real reason to be somewhere rather than wandering aimlessly. In essence, it has become my passport to the world and has pushed me well outside my comfort zone to see and experience things I never would have dreamed possible.

    AARON GEKOSKI – Aaron Gekoski

    “Environmental photojournalist has allowed me to travel the world and work on stories I feel passionate about, and has introduced me to the best – and worst – sides of humanity. The camera is one of the most potent weapons ever invented; as photographers we have an opportunity to use our skills to help change the world.”

    SARA ESSOP – In Africa and Beyond

    “Travel has opened my mind in so many different ways. It has opened my mind to things I would never have seen, had I stayed in one place. It has opened my mind to ideas I would never have thought of, had I not been to other countries. It has opened my mind to people who think differently and allowed me to understand their point of view, though we may disagree. It has opened my mind to all that is possible. I don’t think in terms of my limitations anymore. I think of all that is possible”.

    SANNE OBDEIJN – I Am Wandering

    “Traveling makes my life better, no matter where I’m going and for what purpose. I see traveling as a process to learn and understand the world a bit better. People and cultures from all over the world do inspire me. For example during my last journey, when I stayed in a shelter with former street boys in Mombasa, Kenya. From the people there I learned to be happy with everything you have and their culture showed me to worry less. That’s what I love the most about traveling, it brings people together!”

    DARIECE SWIFT – Goats on the Road

    “Travel has changed our lives in numerous ways. We started our journey together back in 2008 and have seen and done many things around the world since then. Travel has opened our eyes to a new way of life, and is something that we’re incredibly passionate about. So much so in fact, that we learned how to start a travel blog and have made travelling and living abroad our full-time careers!

    We’ve found that slow travel has really enriched our experiences, as we’re able to really connect with the places we visit and learn about its people, and its culture. One main way that travel has changed us is we no longer care about the things that we used to – having the latest technology, the big house, the nice car, fancy clothing, etc. – life is about experiences, not possessions. Finally, we’ve learned that the way many countries around the world are portrayed in Western media is false, or exaggerated. It’s as if we’re meant to believe that everywhere is “dangerous”. We’ve been shown incredible hospitality in Iran and Lebanon, been offered endless cups of tea and conversation in India and made lifelong friends in Colombia. The world isn’t a scary place, and we hope to inspire more people to get out there and see that the world is beautiful.”

    JUSTIN MOTT – Justin Mott

    “Travel has changed impacted my life drastically. My first major trip out of the country was a 3-month journey throughout Vietnam in 2005 with my camera gear purchased on credit and a tight daily budget. I was a photography student at San Francisco State University at the time and I decided to take a small break form school when my father passed away.

    Here I am writing this in 2018, I essentially never returned from that 2005 trip. I fell in love with this amazing country and I’m still inspired to photograph here over a decade later. I’ve shot over 100 assignments for the New York Times in the region and I’m currently work on a long-term project dedicated to capturing the beauty of Vietnam”.

    JENNIFER (AKA DR. J) – Side Walk Safari

    “I didn’t get a passport until age 25; the travel bug bit later for me than for many travel bloggers. Travel changed my life by making the world bigger and smaller simultaneously. Travel made my world bigger by opening up countless countries to explore. When I got that passport, I never dreamed that I would see a platypus in the wild in Tasmania or sink my toes into the sand on the shores of the Strait of Magellan in Punta Arenas, Chile. That passport led me to look into the eyes of a silverback mountain gorilla in Uganda and mindfully marvel at the Fall foliage at the temples in Kyoto Japan. I got to know people from all over Europe by moving to Ireland, my home for the last eight years. Each new destination brought the far reaches of the world closer and ultimately made the world smaller, more accessible, and more relatable”.

    LUCY DODSWORTH – On The Luce

    “From camping holidays in France as a kid to travelling the world and earning a living from it, travel definitely changed my life. I always loved to travel but discovering blogging gave me a way to share the places I’d seen and loved, and as technology has developed it’s made it possible to reach people all over the world and turn a love of travel and writing into a business. Being exposed to different cultures and ways of life has made me more tolerant and open-minded, and years of travel delays has definitely taught me patience!”

    JOHN GREENGO – John Greengo

    “I think of a quote from Trevor Noah when I think about how travel has changed my life. He said,”Travel is the antidote to ignorance”. Travel has made me a more inquisitive, patient and tolerant person. It has also helped boost my career. I had started off by traveling and creating slideshows that I would present at REI. This led to Art Wolfe finding my work and bringing me onto his team as a photo assistant. I worked with him on the PBS show Travels to the Edge, you can read about what I learned from in that experience here. My love of photography continued to grow and I found a way to create a business that allows me to teach people photography, take travelers on photography tours and enjoy my own travel”. 

    LIZ HUXLEY – Liz Huxley

    “Birdwatching has been my hobby for many years, and travelling abroad has given me the chance to see exciting new species and places.  Over time I added an interest in other wildlife groups, such as butterflies and dragonflies.  Wildlife photography has added another dimension – the more I look the more I see!  The resulting images provide memories to look back on and an opportunity to share with others.”

    RICHARD BOWLER – Richard Bowler Wildlife Photography

    I found travel has had a massive impact on my life. I’ve always loved nature and so when I started to travel it had to be off the beaten track, to see the environments and animals I had only ever seen on the tv. But travel gives you so much more, an experience and understanding of other cultures, the dry heat of the desert, the sounds and smells that all add to the experience of travel. Once you have truly absorbed a place, observed an animal in the wild you have only dreamed of, then comes the awakening. These things are under threat like never before. In my case it made me want to act. I use my photography to draw people in to causes that perhaps they wouldn’t have done before. I learnt wildlife rehabilitation. I knew I couldn’t always be in Africa, a continent I love. So decided to try an make a difference locally. We’ve started to rewind our small holding in north Wales. I care for 3 foxes that we hand reared, I use images of those to try and help our declining Red fox population from the illegal hunting that still takes place. My Badger images are used to highlight their plight against the cull. I’ve even become vegan to lessen my impact on the planet that I feel so privileged to have seen first hand. 

    From my first trip, camping on the banks of Lake Nasser, Egypt back in 1995, to where I am now. In north Wales with 3 foxes my life has changed dramatically and without doubt it is travel that sent me on that path.

    FRANCK VOGEL – Franck Vogel

    Travel photography changed my life in a very deep way because it helped me find my goal in life thanks to meditation: “spread messages and inspire people to change ».

    For me, photography is one of the most powerful medium to touch people.

    WILL BURRARD-LUCAS – Wildlife Photo

    “For as long as I can remember I have loved nature and wildlife. I have always sought every possible opportunity to travel and see the world’s wild places and animals. In my early twenties, I started getting into wildlife photography and I quickly discovered that it was the perfect outlet for my love of nature. However, more importantly, I am now able to focus photographic efforts on highlighting important conservation issues, which has given me a great sense of purpose.”