How to do Safaris Photography

Safaris photography is an enjoyable experience that enables you to explore the place you visit and express your observation to the world. It may range but is not limited to the following categories of photography; Nature, Landscape, Portrait, wildlife, Journalism, Sports, however, like any other activity it has its challenges that may turn this lovely experience into a nightmare if the photography equipment are not well handled.

Challenging Situation

Desert Safaris Photography

Dust is always the big problem and there here comes the struggle to keep the inside of the camera clean, specially if you aim shooting different types of photography and may need to change the lens you use to be able to cover your objectives.

Desert Photography Tips

It often gets windy on dune tops, so when assending/descending dunes with your DSLR try covering it by putting it under your clothes or make sure it is wrapped around with a cloth.

Don't hang the camera around your neck as in case you stumble or fall it will be closer to the sand and you dont want sand in your camera.Hold it in your left arm if you are right handed so that incase you stumbled or tripped down you can lean on your right hand and not your camera or put it arround your shoulder facing backward and make sure it is still covered.

Do not shoot outside the car window when you are on the move, there are flying sand particles that you can not see and when driving you are increasing the impact, this is quite done by safarist and results in multiple scratches to lenses, filters and camera body; shoot behind windows or from inside the car if the window is closed.

 

Desert Night Photography

See below "Photographing a Meteor Shower".

Water Sport and Diving

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Hiking and Mountaineering

<to be added by members>

Rain

Use rain coats and lens sleeves to protect your gear from rain. you can consider a big umbrella if you are in the city or in places with slow wind speed, you can use it well with wide lenses as they tend to be smaller and lighter in weigh than telephoto lenses, also you can manage the body of the camera with one hand if the lighting conditions are good. 

Humid Weather

the trick is not to have water droplets condense 'inside' the lens or body.

Heat

<to be added by members>

Cold/Snow

In cold conditions the camera consumes more battery power than normal so make sure to have a spare battery or carry.

Consider wearing gloves as well as the lens and camera body becomes really cold to handle.

Put on your camera body and lens a sleeve (plastic bag that is tied on the camera and lens) to protect the equipment from moisture, raindrops, snow, hail, etc.

<to be added by members>

Remote Power (electrical) facilities

very common problem. Carry additional batteries (charged) in your bag.   Evaluate how many of those are needed depeneding on the mission ahead and how demanding it is in batteries

Using rechargers in cars may be useful in 4x4 safaris. Radio Shack has some of those chargers for many types of camera that work either on home electricity or car cigarette lighter source.

Tools / Accessories

  1. A cloth bag that you can use to change the lens inside it to avoid dust. Specification:
    § It should be big enough to fit the camera, the other lens and your hand inside it and close tight on them while changing the lens.
    § It is similar to the cloth bag that you get when you buy leather shoes and bags, you can ask a sewer to make it for you or sew it yourself.
  2. UV filter is important for lens protection and to keep it safe from scratches.
  3. Polarizer filter is a must have filter for Nature and landscape photographers. (Benefits?)
  4. Camera ARMOR, (Benefits?), please check: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw_1_9?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-ke...
  5. For perfect sealing, maybe you should think of underwater housing, please check:
    http://www.amazon.com/Ikelite-Underwater-Housing-E-TTL-2-Digital/dp/B000...
    http://www.amazon.com/Ewa-Marine-Underwater-Housing-EOS-400D-EOS-450D/dp...

Using a Circular polarizing filter

Using a Circular polarizing filter gives us a great effect when we are shooting in a shiny sunlight.
We must be aware when we attach a polarizing filter to a DSLR camera lens for the following:
  1. White balance must be set manually  to daylight approx. 5200 k .
  2. We may need to apply -1EV .
  3. Rotating the polarizing filter until we find the best effect. 
  4. Make sure that the shutter speed is fast to avoid camera shake

How to Plan for Your Safaris Photography

Before the trip

Make sure you have the following:

  • The widest range of focal length, that helps you cover all possible types of photography.
  • A camera bag that is closed with zippers and not only buckles.
  • A cloth bag that you can use to change the lens inside it to avoid dust.
  • UV / Polarized filters and make sure they fit on all your lenses.
  • A tripod for taksharp pictures
  • Adequate storage space if you are a serioud photographer shooting in Raw or Tiff formats as they consume storage space.
  • Compressed air to remove excessive dust from your camera gear.
  • Lens cleaning kit - preferably carbon pens to avoid spraying liquid in dusty conditions

During the trip

Make sure you do the following:

  • Make sure that the camera bag is closed with zippers.
  • Clean-up the dust on the camera body from outside before changing the lens.
  • Don’t change the lens outside if it’s windy.
  • If you have to change the lens, use the cloth/plastic bag to do it and make sure the camera body is facing downward to avoid dust falling onto the sensor.
  • ALWAYS cover the lens with the plastic cover (lens cap) that comes with it.
  • Get sure that the plastic cover (lens cap) is attached to the camera body.
  • Procedure for changing battery, memory card should follow that of the changing the lens
  • Handling other equipment related to photography (i.e. laptop, other storing device)???
  • .

After returning home

Make sure you do the following:

  • Clean the dust on the camera body from outside, to avoid it falling inside the camera when you change the lens for next usage.
  • Clean your lenses with air before using soft cloth to avoid scratching the lens surface or filter.
  • Clean you equipment bags from inside and outside to eliminate reisual dust and sand.

Special Missions

Photographing a Meteor Shower

Meteor showers photography needs to: (1) know where to aim the camera with a wide angle lens to capture all in high resolution, and (2) to avoid stars becoming too strong a noise by leaving a curve of their trail.

  • One method is to try not to exceed the time of opening shutter than 30 seconds (near Polaris) to leave the stars as almost dots and reduce their appearance. This however, may be still too much time for the constellations at Ecliptic (Zodiac constellations) who moves faster in the night sky of Egypt.
  • the results will be also sensitive to ISO number. If you don't are for the noise (or it has minimal impact in your experience) then you may need to increase it so that the meteor line may stand clearer than with lower ISO

All astro-photography takes extended times to photography so use of a tripod is mandatory.

SLR Camera Maintenance

As expected the type of maintenance for Cameras mostly used in deserts or dry-landscape countries are different from others. Cleaning lenses off dust particles, broken cogs, shutter's problems, etc.

 

# Trading Service Repairing Photography Service Name Phones Address District City Remarks (with dates please)
1 Agent Not at the agent Nikon Official Dealer (Fuji
film)
+202 35842378 El Haram Street Haram Cairo
2 Buy and Sell ELHofy +202 23955245 15 borg salma roushdy Street, Abdeen Downtown Cairo
3 Buy and Sell ELKing +202 2392 5140 15 roshdy street- salma tower-first floor. Close to mohamed farid square Downtown Cairo
4 Buy and Sell ELAkhdar +202 23927852 Cairo
5 Buy and Sell ELKhaled (Ali Khaled) +202  23927507 19 B Adly street, second floor, appartment number 58 Downtown Cairo
6 Buy and Sell ELShenawy +201006145062
+202 33369136
21 Degla St., off Shehab St., Mohandesen Mohandesin Cairo
7 Buy and Sell Lucky Stores +202 23929136
+202 23923697
11 sherif street ,downtown Downtown Cairo
8 Sell Mo2asaset ELBasha for lighting equipment +202 25918535 26 july street Downtown Cairo
9 Buy and Sell Karim +201000499766 Cairo
10 Buy and Sell Wael +201002106115 Cairo
11 Buy and Sell Shams +202 23929204 5 el batal ahmed abdelaziz from sabry abo alam street- bab el look Mohandesin Cairo
12 Yes Mohy +20224557766
+201001213843
+2022-455-7766
Downtown Cairo Best in repairing bodies and lenses
13 Yes Photo Labib +20227951642 26 Sheikh Reihan Downtown Cairo good in repairs
14 Yes Gamal +201112249917
+2022-578-4707
Downtown Cairo good in repairs
15 Yes Bibawy +20(0)12-1858082  

 

Famous SLR Camera and Lenses Faults

Canon Error 99

One maybe astonished when faced with a malfunction on one's Canon EOS. the camera is not responding to trigger and instead of shooting a frame, a flashing message pop-up on LCD indicating “ERROR99”. Some start by questioning the battery, CF card and lens mount, but it may prove to be worse.

This error correspond to a failure in communication between the camera body-processor and camera circuit. It might be anything that interferes with the camera cycle which is (mount-trigger-shutter and recording): an unclean sensor for instance, dirty mounting triggers,shorting in power circuit, bad input/output CF card or, which turned to be my case: bad shutter mechanism.

Because of depreciation, one may lose the pushing gear of the shutter and that will interfere with the cycle and will result back in the error. Normally a shutter can be fixed, according to lots of online-reviews, but since it’s the most moving element within the body, one usually get a recurrence of error in case of fixing. You may wish to replace the camera body!

Replacing the shutter at the official agency with a new one costs around 900 LE plus more than 30 days of waiting which is beyond many people's budget in Egypt. So one may start an effortful journey to find a trustworthy practitionr. And here’s a sum of what could be found:

At Zietoun district in Cairo, “Mohi” is Old enough to be an experienced technician, with a workshop that is full of dead cameras to extract relevant spare parts from. His charge is not cheap enough for me many but is a bit less than the Canon dealer but he is quite honest. "Canon does not invest good technologies /raw materials in building the Rebel series(the x00)’s" he states. "I can fix you this one but if you want a reliant body you should aim the 40D or higher" Mohi concluded to Shady Khair elDin on early 2010.

According to Moh, the availability of Nikon bodies is quite high, nationally speaking, compared with Canon. This however impacts the availability of spare parts to match the demand and accordingly lower maintenance cost/time for Nikon users. Canon or Nikon, the DSLR camera bodies and lenses are very sensitive objects, there’s countless number of parts within. "In 8 out of every 10 cases, once you have it maintained, it become no longer reliable" mohi eventually exclaimed.

Another practitonr is “bibawy” who resides at the same district and few blocks from “mohi” cheap and on duty till late hours but very unpunctual and shows lots of carelessness about time. You can have your stuff fixed at his workshop with moderate cost, but you can also spend a whole day trying to contact him before pickup time with no answer! Still cheaper and by bargaining one may reach 300 LE only for fixing a small part on the shutter. For him too, Nikon is easier and cheaper.

City-wide, there are tons of photography dealers who offer the service of maintaining DSLR camera’s and lenses but they eventually outsource it to one of those two. And for pickup and delivery business, they charge you for double the cost.

From wide experienc e of scanning the workshops and photography dealers in Cairo during early 2010, “Mohi’s” note about the reliability of rebel series and the Nikon vs. Canon maintaining seems to be true.

This section started by Shady Kheir elDin's question on the SSC Forum (yahoogroup's SaharaSafaris) and the results are compiled to begin this section by Shady. May el-Eoni has contributed among others.

 

New-comers Eternal Question: Nikon or Canon?

It is a question that one has to answer for oneself, and sure many others need an answer, and the answer would need some effort and especially from those who did not try any and need an answer to decide.

Well, Nikon and Canon are very close really, any of us would never regret buying neither if it is about a camera and set of lenses, photoshop after that would complete the work.

Sensor

For a simple user who is not looking into details, Canon would look like a shining star because of their image sensors which reached a high value few years before Nikon and they produced the full frame sensors and used them in their cameras around 5 years before Nikon. This is because Canon used to use image sensor technology called CMOS while Nikon have been using CCD, and when Nikon used CMOS in there recent models they could produce full frame sensors with high resolutions upto 24.5 Mp (Highest Canon is 21.1 M).

Price 

Canons are cheaper when it comes to their high line models (professional models with Full frame or 1 focal length multiplier) and can reach half the price of the Nikon in that range while Nikon are cheaper when it comes to their medium and advanced amatures DSLR (with 1.6 focal length multiplier).

Lens Mount Compantibility 

Canon lens mount is a problem because you cant use old lenses on new bodies, and some bodies can only accept EF mount lenses, while you can always use old nikon lenses on almost any nikon digital body. So, if you have old Nikon set of lenses for film cameras and external light meter You already know the suitable answer for you. And above, Nikon has some range of bodies that have the light meter build on the body, so you will not need an external light meter (as in Nikon D200).

Trade and Market Share in Egypt

Canon has a larger market share in Egypt as far as I saw and know, and Canon is putting some effort to start their CPS (canon professional service) in Cairo.

Canon resellers (including the agent) are selling the Canons for competetive price while Nikon agent in Egypt  is really expensive.

Accessories

Canon accessories can be found easily (dont be sofisticated, just simple accessories as batteries, battery grips, some lenses and some compatible lenses), while special accessories have to be ordered from somewhere abroad.

Repair

At this point they're equal. If you have a serious problem you will not find a way than sending the camera to UAE to be fixed (cheapest and closest destination to Egypt). However, there are some good local ones to repair as in the table above.

Community in Egypt

As a last point to make up your mind. See a local community and follow the majority of them. This way you'll always have a supply of accessories if one needs.

Comparison between CMOS and CCD

http://www.dalsa.com/corp/markets/CCD_vs_CMOS.aspx

More on Specifications for Any SLR Camera

You can always find full specifications of cameras if you check:

www.dpreview.com

Comments

What do I have to choose, Nikon or Canon?

It is a question that I had to answer for myself, and sure many others need an answer, and the answer would need some effort and especially from those who did not try any and need an answer to decide.

Well, Nikon and Canon are very close really, any of us would never regret buying neither if it is about a camera and set of lenses, photoshop after that would complete the work.

For a simple user who is not looking into details, Canon would look like a shining star because of their image sensors which reached a high value few years before Nikon and they produced the full frame sensors and used them in their cameras around 5 years before Nikon. This is because Canon used to use image sensor technology called CMOS while Nikon have been using CCD, and when Nikon used CMOS in there recent models they could produce full frame sensors with high resolutions upto 24.5 Mp (Highest Canon is 21.1 M).

Comparison between CMOS and CCD can be found here: http://www.dalsa.com/corp/markets/CCD_vs_CMOS.aspx

Canons are cheaper when it comes to their high line models (professional models with Full frame or 1 focal length multiplier) and can reach half the price of the Nikon in that range while Nikon are cheaper when it comes to their medium and advanced amatures DSLR(with 1.6 focal length multiplier).

Canon lens mount is a problem because you cant use old lenses on new bodies, and some bodies can only accept EF mount lenses, while you can always use old nikon lenses on almost any nikon digital body. So, if you have old Nikon set of lenses for film cameras and external light meter You already know the suitable answer for you. And above, Nikon has some range of bodies that have the light meter build on the body, so you will not need an external light meter (as in Nikon D200).

Canon has a larger market share in Egypt as far as I saw and know, and Canon is putting some effort to start their CPS (canon professional service) in Cairo.

Canon resellers (including the agent) are selling the Canons for competetive price while Nikon agent in Egypt  is really expensive.

Canon accessories can be found easily (dont be sofisticated, just simple accessories as batteries, battery grips, some lenses and some compatible lenses), while special accessories have to be ordered from somewhere abroad.

If you have a serious problem you will not find a way than sending the camera to UAE to be fixed (cheapest and closest destination to Egypt).

As a last point, and this was the final point to choose a Canon for myself, I had most of my friends using Canon, and I can always have a supply of accessories if I need what I dont have. So, what about you?

You can always find full specifications of cameras if you check: www.dpreview.com

Dear Hany, I think you

Dear Hany, I think you should add this to the main article. you can just copy and paste it because I guess it's ready to add. :)

Using a Circular polarizing filter

Using a Circular polarizing filter gives us a great effect when we are shooting in a shiny sunlight.
We must be aware when we attach a polarizing filter to a DSLR camera lens for the following
1-    White balance must be set manually  to daylight Approx. 5200 k .
2-    We may need to apply -1EV .
3-    Rotating the polarizing filter until we find the best effect.
4-    Make sure that the shutter speed is fast to avoid camera shake

I think you should add this

I think you should add this to the body of the article. Comments won't show for unsubscribed guests and those are very relevant info ya Adel :)

I agree

I agree, but sorry the website layout was always a pain in the butt for me.. always, even now in 2010 i am trying to find something on it, and I cant... i have to go over and over...