There is nothing worse than going on an African safari without proper preparation. We’ll need to get a lot of shots (not the photographic kind but ouchies in the arm and elsewhere), visas, and who knows what else. We’ll need to trim down our gear to a manageable 50 pounds. And, we’ll need to limit our other personal effects to 35 pounds. (I guess I won’t bring my dress shoes).
But this is not all there is to our preparation. We need to learn how to shoot (photographically) animals. As you know our forte is landscapes with some cityscapes mixed in. I’m not so sure shooting a mountain which never moves helps me shoot a mountain lion on the loose. We have some learning to do – and the best way to learn is to practice. But where? Where does one go to practice shooting the animals of Kenya while in Arizona? The zoo, of course.
Thus, we set out on a practice safari – to the Phoenix Zoo. We set a few goals for our mini-safari. Our first goal was to work solely with the equipment we would use in Africa – namely a very long lens. Our second goal was to frame the animals in a way that didn’t reveal their real home – a cage. The final goal was to shoot the animals in such a way that the background looks interesting (and real). This was not as easy at it may sound as there are wires, cages, and fences everywhere. I’m hoping there will not be any of these items on the Kenyan safari.
So on our first mini-safari, we focused on some animals that we should see in Africa: a Flamingo, a Lion, a Tiger, and a Baboon. Of course, there were other animals such as the Rhino who was napping inside, the elephant who stayed out of sight, and the giraffe who posed stoically but too far away. We’ll get these guys next time.
Here are a few of our friends:
The star of our safari was the tiger, who easily won animal of the day. We sent him a certificate.
Were we successful meeting our goals? Do these photos look like they were taken in a zoo or on safari? Were the animals framed well with a nice background?
Remember, its all about the light.