Wild Life Photography Tips – South Africa

It’s important to know the behavior of the animals you’re trying to photograph. By understanding their behavior you will have a better chance of finding them and you will be able to predict their actions.

By reading up on animal behavior you will learn the different kinds of terrain the various animals prefer. You can combine that knowledge with that of your qualified guide to plan the best African game drives and bush walks, where you will have the opportunity to take some amazing photo’s.

Security is very important, so make sure that you don’t put yourself in danger. Also never interfere with the natural behavior of the animals in order to take a better photo!

Some part of all trips will involve meeting people from local tribes and with cultural backgrounds different from ours. Please be courteous when taking pictures. It is always a good idea to build rapport with your subjects first and then ask them if it is OK to take their picture. Tribal folk can be very suspicious of cameras and vocal and demonstrative with people who shoot first and make friends after.

The following tips should help you to take memorable photos while on your African safari:

When taking close-up pictures, focus on the animal’s eyes. This guarantees that most of the animal’s face will be in focus. Be prepared and ready with your camera at all times, as animals may suddenly appear and disappear just as quickly.

Range your subject. For example, when taking photos of an Elephant, take a portrait shot; include one more with the general habitat in context to the subject, then another with close-up detail, such as horns and face.

Utilise low contrast film when the sun is intense and high contrast film when it is overcast or dull. Take different pictures in vertical and horizontal approaches. Take photographs from different levels when you are on a game viewing activity. Pictures taken at the animal’s eye-level will appear more sensational.

Do not centre all your shots; leave room in your subject for the animal to move into. This will prevent lifeless composition and give an imitate portrayal of your subject. A good starting point for wildlife Photography is a lens with a 300 mm in focal length. Bird Photography will require a 500 mm lens. When the subject is in motion, use a shutter speed of at least 1/125, except if you are using a panning method. Birds in flight necessitate speeds of 1/500 or more. Why not share some of your best images of Africa with us.

Film Requirements:

You will find incredible photographic opportunities on your safari. There are no limitations on the amount of film you can bring to any of the countries of Southern Africa, so bring plenty! Film is expensive and can be hard to find once in Africa. If you are interested in A PHOTOFRAPHIC JOURNAL of your safari, bring at least 1 roll (36 exposures) per day; it doesn’t hurt to bring more.

We recommend Kodachrome 64 (slide film) or Fujichrome 100 for most daylight shots in open territory. With longer lenses, which admit less light, or for low light situations around dawn and dusk, 400 ASA (or higher) are also recommended. A flash unit is a useful addition when taking pictures of dark subjects in low light conditions, or evening camp fire scenes. Stow your film in a lead foil bag to protect it from heat, moisture and airport X-ray machines. There are two types available, one rated up to 400 ASA and one to 3200 ASA. The 3200 ASA bag is virtually impenetrable to X-rays and is worth the extra cost.


A 200 or 300 mm lens (or 80-300 zoom) is good for most wildlife photography from vehicles or boats. A 400-500 mm lens will work well in many situations, especially if you are a keen bird photographer.

A standard 50 mm or wide angle lens is good for scenery and people shots. If you are an avid photographer you may want to bring two SLR camera bodies (of the same type) so you will not have to constantly change lenses. With two cameras you will spend more time looking at the wildlife and composing shots than fumbling in your camera bag, getting dust in your one camera body, and missing the action!

If you have any questions or comments please e-mail me on gerald@12234455.co.za or call me on +27-0720390184.


Rahul Rungta

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The hit TV series, MasterChef, has led many of us to call ourselves amateur foodies, whipping up beef wellingtons, handmade gnocchi with burnt butter sauce, delightful black forest cakes – even a croquembouche or two in our home kitchens. Of course, to show off your gourmet creations, you need some professional looking photographs to do them justice.

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Play with angles – your natural inclination will be to look down on the food from a 45 degree angle as that’s how your dinner plate arrives at your table. But different types of food have their own good and bad sides and not all food presents at its best when you’re looking down at it. Get close up macro shots for detailed texture and experiment with angles and perspective.

Style your shot – food styling is a laborious chore but you can take some good tips on board. Style your food to look its best by presenting it on white crockery against a relevant background. Consider pairing dishes with their ingredients or include interesting looking utensils and cutlery in your shots. Cut into your food to present beautiful cross sections and tasty looking morsels.

Work quickly, but thoughtfully – food stylists recommend working quickly as food starts to wilt, dry out and go limp with the passage of time. However, take advantage of the fact that your subject matter won’t walk away from the set. Spend time setting up your shot, moving around and changing positions to maximise your time.

Experiment with equipment – digital cameras let you take plenty of shots and experiment with different settings. Digital SLRs like EOS cameras allow you to adjust the white balance as you go, which can brighten up the colours of your food and make dishes look more appetising. Get up close with your zoom lens and with your feet.

Cheat – if you’re not going to be eating the food, you can try some nifty cheats and tricks from the pros. Use mash for ice cream that won’t melt, glue for milk that won’t make cereal soggy or motor oil on pancakes instead of syrup. Meanwhile, for the fresh out of the oven steam, microwave water soaked cotton balls and place them behind food.

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Existence of chakras demonstrated with polycontrast interference photography

Harry Oldfield’s Polycontrast Interference Photography (PIP) developed in the late 1980’s is able to provide images of the energy field in real time. It is a visual, non-invasive scanning system that reveals where current problems may exist and also where developing issues might arise in the future.

Chakras can be seen with Polycontrast Interference Photography (PIP). This has been documented by many researchers and practitioners. Dr. Beverly Rubik has used PIP to visualize the chakras, as has The Banyan Retreat in England and The Ninth House.

The Centres for Biofield Sciences (CBS) located in England as well as India, the United States, and South Korea, uses PIP and does research. They state, ‚We investigate technologies that claim measure non-invasively aspects of Human health and wellbeing.‘

PIP is commonly used to enable practitioners and their clients to see recordings of ‚before and after treatment and healthcare plans,‘ helping motivate patients to make better-informed health choices. PIP can assess and evaluate health issues; show developing and existing stresses to the body; demonstrate healing procedures; and provides an evaluation of treatment methods and systems.

CBS uses PIP as well as other procedures to evaluate clients. Their website is full of information, at http://www.biofieldsciences.com/biofieldsciences.com/index.htm

CHEFR, which stands for the Centre for Human Energy Field Research, uses PIP, including before and after imaging. According to Professor John R. Rogerson, ‚The energy field surrounding the human body consists of highly complex electro-magnetic, static, thermal and sonic waves, which emanate as a projected field with a matrix of interpenetrating layers. PIP Energy Field observes the interaction of light with the human energy field. PIP is non-invasive with many applications: from medical and clinical research to energy field assessment and validating healing techniques.‘

Speaking to interviewer Hemamalini Raghunathan for an article in the EXPRESS STAR TELLER in April 2004, Professor Rogerson gave an example of PIP visualizing the changes in the energy field before and after treatment, in this case, using ‚Agnihotra‘ which is an ancient Indian ceremony. He explained, ‚Results of Agnihotra ceremony on the patients and performers, as revealed by PIP, clearly show an increase in vibrancy, brightness, absorption and transference of energy after the ceremony and months of same practice.‘

Oldfield himself uses the state of the visualized chakra to determine the state of the client’s health and what needs to be rebalanced. He has been quoted as saying, ‚If a chakra is behaving itself perfectly, one colour will predominate. For instance, the throat chakra has more of a blue hue when it’s healthy than when it’s not. The same with the base chakra- it will be a dirty, muddy brown if there are problems and red if it’s healthy.‘

Mark Lester, a complementary medical practitioner in England wrote, ‚Perhaps Harry Oldfield’s most breathtaking invention however is the technique known as Polycontrast Interference Photography (PIP)‘ PIP literally takes a photograph of what we believe is the human energy field ‚ the aura, the chakras and the meridians of the eastern healing traditions. Please note this is not Kirlian photography ‚ it is far more advanced. This involves in Harry’s words an artificial eye (a digital video camera) linked to an artificial brain (a computer) and a specialized computer programme designed to distinguish and colour code the subtlest variations of light coming off the human body‘ Scans are usually taken before an initial treatment in order to get a starting point and then repeated after a few treatments in order to check the patient’s progress. Though developed primarily as a tool to accompany Electro-Crystal Therapy the great beauty of PIP is its ability to be used to evaluate any therapy.‘

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Silhouette Definition

In the area of Photography, a silhouette is defined as an outline that appears dark against a light background. More specifically, it is where your subject appears as a plain black shape against a brighter background. It is an artistic Photography expression that many photographers like to refine and perfect in their images. This effect can be achieved with any bright light source with the sun being the most common. In a sunset silhouette photo, the sunlight in the background is exposed correctly forcing everything else in the photo to be underexposed causing the effect.

Silhouette Techniques

When you are preparing to take a silhouette image, there are many things to keep in mind. These tips are equally effective for both digital and film photography. First of all, you need to make sure that there is not too much light on your subject, even if it is being reflected on to your subject the stray light will ruin the effect. If there is not enough light in the background, your subject will appear grey instead of black. The effect is just multiplied when you have multiple colors of bright lights in the background. Some photographers focus on artificial lights, others focus on the sun at certain times of the day, the possibilities are endless.

My Silhouette Tips and Techniques

I usually take my silhouette images when the sun is just above the horizon. I prefer the time around sunset because the sun causes the sky to be brighter than everything else for greater contrast. Another technique I use is to align the sun directly behind the subject so it causes a glow effect around the main subject. I usually use a relatively big subject so it creates a more drastic effect then a small insignificant subject.

I always use a narrow aperture (high f/stop) so the camera captures the whole scene with a high depth of field so everything is in focus. I usually use the aperture manual mode on my camera so I can control what the aperture will be and then the camera automatically selects the right shutter speed necessary for the photo. If you are trying to create the effect with a point-and-shoot camera make sure you compose the photo with the background light by pointing the camera at the background. If you compose the image by pointing the camera at your dark subject, then the background will be over-exposed and you will not end up with a silhouette.

There is no exact science to taking a great silhouette image. It will take practice, luck, and experience to capture truly amazing silhouette images. So keep practicing.

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