Photography for all conditions – Travel Africa Magazine

With advances in know-how, nature photographers are actually capable of simply take nice photos irrespective of the climate or time of day. By Lou Coetzer

Unusual climate patterns and occasions have gotten extra frequent and surprising, which makes it tougher to foretell what conditions chances are you’ll expertise on safari. I as soon as took a shopper to the Chobe River on the finish of July anticipating assured sunshine all day day-after-day. It rained or was so deeply overcast and chilly all week that we ended up photographing malachite kingfishers with flash day in and day trip. So how are you going to make sure you take wonderful images irrespective of the conditions?

Cederberg, handheld. By utilizing the flexibility of the superior sensor and lens picture stabilisation in at the moment’s cameras, it’s attainable to do practically all panorama pictures and not using a tripod (excluding the place you need to blur water motion, for instance), capturing at ISOs starting from ISO 31 and barely exceeding ISO 100.
Nikon D850 with Tamron 15-30mm F2.8 / F22 @1/80 Sec / ISO 12 5/ EV-1.7

The problem
In the previous, nature photographers working with movie had been very restricted in excessive climate. For landscapes we’d use tripods and shoot at very gradual shutter speeds. Occasionally we succeeded in portraying inventive movement with blurred photos or we might use flash if we might get shut sufficient to lively wildlife topics. But largely we had been confined to working solely below very best gentle conditions.

With movie we merely didn’t have sufficient shutter speeds to work with. I used to be capturing with Fuji Velvia 50 ISO movie pushed to ISO 100. At dawn on an ideal winter’s morning in Etosha, utilizing a 600mm F4.0 lens with a 1.4x converter, the best shutter velocity my state-of-the-artwork gear provided was simply 1/640 secs.

The solely actual benefit of the primary digital cameras was that we weren’t restricted to simply the 36 exposures of movie. We nonetheless needed to shoot at low ISOs as a result of the digital sensors then generated very noisy (the digital equal of movie grain) photos at greater ISOs of 200 and above. To keep away from extreme noise, we had been taught to show our images with the histogram to the correct, risking the over-publicity of highlights in photos with EV+ values and robbing us of much more shutter velocity.

Spur winged goose, Chobe National Park, taken at noon in harsh daylight
Nikon D4 with Nikon 400mm F2.8 / F2.8 @1/8000sec / ISO 100 / EV -1.3

The answer

There has been an enormous advance within the sensor capabilities in at the moment’s digital cameras. A base ISO of 800 produces much better picture high quality that we might have achieved with 50 ISO movie (and nearly noise-free) and provides us eight instances extra shutter speeds to work with.

The dramatic enchancment within the sensors’ dynamic vary permits the chance to shoot at EV- values (below expose) to forestall whites from blowing out, whereas nonetheless retaining the main points within the blacks again in submit-course of enhancing. Moving from EV+ to EV- generates an additional 4-to-eight instances extra shutter speeds.

In current years, full-body cameras with a lot greater pixel counts—60 million and counting—have emerged, with out sacrificing the earlier developments of upper ISO, noise-free photos with an ideal dynamic vary. Managing depth of subject has change into a lot simpler.

Nature photographers have by no means had it higher. Today’s digital sensors allow us to make use of excessive shutter speeds in any state of affairs. The query shouldn’t be if we are able to or ought to shoot at gradual shutter speeds (which we clearly can), however relatively what can we obtain with the dramatic enhance in speeds now obtainable to us? Understanding the capabilities of our cameras, and setting them up with a easy recipe in thoughts, we are actually capable of take care of nearly any climate conditions.


Lou Coetzer is a pioneering wildlife photographic information, whose customized-designed boats and automobiles and ahead-considering tutorial have remodeled guided photographic safaris. He gives a Mentorship Support Programme to assist photographers develop their craft from their very own house. Details at

Lou will even be working a sequence of webinars ranging from 23 April 2020. For particulars and to enroll to attend, go to

Elephant in Etosha National Park, after solar set, deeply overcast and in extreme mud
Nikon D800 with Nikon 400mm F2.8 / F2.8 @ 1/1000sec / ISO 400/ EV -1.0

All photos copyright: Lou Coetzer.

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