Wildlife Photography – Do’s And Don’ts

An African safari is the pinnacle for any wildlife photography enthusiast. They’re usually referred to as “a trip of a lifetime”. I’ve been on two in the past two years. (Thanks, Dad!)

Anyway, here are a few tips to help you get the shots you so desperately want.

Requirements: 

1. dSLR camera (Optional, but recommended)

2. A wide-angle zoom lens – a standard 18-55mm works perfectly.

3. A versatile telephoto lens – ideally a 70-300mm or higher.

4. A secondary camera – preferably a high-end point-and-shoot with a versatile fixed-lens, because switching lenses can be a real pain in the midst of all that dust.

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Make a start. The following shot was my first ever shot of wildlife. I honestly had no clue what I was doing. Trust your instincts – they’re usually right.

IMG_1454

Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Kenya

EXIF Details:

Camera: Canon 500D

Lens: 18-55mm

Focal length: 55mm

Shutter speed: 1/250

Aperture: f/4.5

ISO: 100

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Pictures of the “Big Five” will always arouse a decent amount of interest from your viewers, but don’t don’t miss out on interesting behaviour of other animals.

DSCF0745

Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Kenya

EXIF Details:

Camera: Canon 500D

Lens: 18-55mm

Focal length: 55mm

Shutter speed: 1/250

Aperture: f/8

ISO: 100

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IMG_2731

Maasai Mara, Kenya

EXIF Details:

Camera: Canon 500D

Lens: 18-55mm

Focal length: 55mm

Shutter speed: 1/100

Aperture: f/4.5

ISO: 400

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DSCF2154

Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

EXIF Details:

Camera: Canon 500D

Lens: 70-300mm

Focal length: 125mm

Shutter speed: 1/500

Aperture: f/4.5

ISO: 100

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Take diverse images.

IMG_1672

Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Kenya

EXIF Details:

Camera: Canon 500D

Lens: 18-55mm

Focal length: 35mm

Shutter speed: 1/250

Aperture: f/4.5

ISO: 100

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IMG_4553

Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

EXIF Details:

Camera: Canon 500D

Lens: 70-300mm

Focal length: 250mm

Shutter speed: 1/320

Aperture: f/4.5

ISO: 100

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Compose your shot. Nice the group of zebra grazing in the background, between the branches – subtle, but awesome.

IMG_4709

Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

EXIF Details:

Camera: Canon 500D

Lens: 70-300mm

Focal length: 200mm

Shutter speed: 1/500

Aperture: f/4.5

ISO: 100

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IMG_2841

Maasai Mara, Kenya

EXIF Details:

Camera: Canon 500D

Lens: 18-55mm

Focal length: 55mm

Shutter speed: 1/320

Aperture: f/8

ISO: 100

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IMG_3768

Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

EXIF Details:

Camera: Canon 500D

Lens: 70-300mm

Focal length: 250mm

Shutter speed: 1/125

Aperture: f/4.5

ISO: 200

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Don’t be afraid to push your telephoto lens to its limits.

IMG_4350

Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

EXIF Details:

Camera: Canon 500D

Lens: 70-300mm

Focal length: 300mm

Shutter speed: 1/250

Aperture: f/4.5

ISO: 100

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IMG_4723

Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

EXIF Details:

Camera: Canon 500D

Lens: 70-300mm

Focal length: 300mm

Shutter speed: 1/500

Aperture: f/4.5

ISO: 100

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IMG_2776(1)

Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Kenya

EXIF Details:

Camera: Canon 500D

Lens: 70-300mm

Focal length: 300mm

Shutter speed: 1/800

Aperture: f/4.5

ISO: 200

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IMG_2778

Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Kenya

EXIF Details:

Camera: Canon 500D

Lens: 70-300mm

Focal length: 300mm

Shutter speed: 1/500

Aperture: f/4.5

ISO: 200

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IMG_4500

Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

EXIF Details:

Camera: Canon 500D

Lens: 70-300mm

Focal length: 300mm

Shutter speed: 1/800

Aperture: f/4.5

ISO: 100

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Then again, zoom out for some perspective.

IMG_4502

Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

EXIF Details:

Camera: Canon 500D

Lens: 70-300mm

Focal length: 70mm

Shutter speed: 1/800

Aperture: f/4.5

ISO: 100

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Take advantage of the “Golden Hour” light.

IMG_4475

Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

EXIF Details:

Camera: Canon 500D

Lens: 70-300mm

Focal length: 150mm

Shutter speed: 1/250

Aperture: f/4.5

ISO: 400

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IMG_4881

Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

EXIF Details:

Camera: Canon 500D

Lens: 70-300mm

Focal length: 200mm

Shutter speed: 1/500

Aperture: f/4.5

ISO: 200

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STAY ALERT! Don’t miss any of the action.

IMG_3459

Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

EXIF Details:

Camera: Canon 500D

Lens: 70-300mm

Focal length: 125mm

Shutter speed: 1/500

Aperture: f/7.1

ISO: 100

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IMG_4380

Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

EXIF Details:

Camera: Canon 500D

Lens: 70-300mm

Focal length: 250mm

Shutter speed: 1/1250

Aperture: f/4.5

ISO: 400

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Place your subject off-centre.

IMG_5117

Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

EXIF Details:

Camera: Canon 500D

Lens: 70-300mm

Focal length: 300mm

Shutter speed: 1/320

Aperture: f/4.5

ISO: 400

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Keep your Aperture and ISO constant, if possible; fiddle around with your shutter speed. And, of course, practise. I probably should’ve listened to my 9th grade Math teacher when she insisted, but PRACTISE!

DSCF0354

Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Kenya

EXIF Details:

Camera: Canon 500D

Lens: 70-300mm

Focal length: 300mm

Shutter speed: 1/250

Aperture: f/4.5

ISO: 200

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