Asilia to open The Highlands, Ngorongoro Tanzania
SNAP UP THE LATEST TREND FOR SAFARI
By Melissa kay
The New York Times rated Tanzania at number 7 of 45 must-see destinations last year, billing the country as ‘coming into its own as an upscale safari destination’. Well the New York Times was absolutely right.
The wonders of Tanzania are barely discovered by comparison with other African safari destinations, (statistics for annual visitors still only hover at an estimated 900,000), but innovative companies that take time to really understand the attractions and to build holidays to suit specific markets are stealing a march on the East African tourist market, and it’s fantastic for tourists prepared to come to Tanzania to see for themselves.
One fantastic example
My most recent adventure took me to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area with Capture Safaris, a company that specializes in photo workshop safaris. These ‘learning holidays’ are a fashionable phenomenon amongst the millions of digital camera owners who are keen to learn more about how to make the most of their investments, and are an ideal way to see the landmarks and expand your skills at the same time.
In order to please this particular target market, the photo workshop safari must deliver a great deal of content and this means that itineraries need to be designed extremely carefully so as to catch the action; drivers must be excellent trackers, spotters and animal behaviour analysts as well as being aware of photographers needs; and accommodation needs to be high end so that equipment can be maintained and workshops can take place. This means holidaymakers are getting the very best of upscale safari, if it’s done right.
My safari with Capture delivered exactly that. It took place during the Calving Season - a period of just a few weeks which happens every year in one particular spot (just where the edge of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area meets the southern plains of the Serengeti) and marks the gathering before the Great Migration begins. During this time over 500,000 calves are born and this attracts the largest ever recorded concentration of predators to the area. The green season also provides a spectacular backdrop of vibrant colours against which to learn photography. Add to this the experience and expertise of Paul Joynson-Hicks, the famous African wildlife photographer (recently placed in the top twenty by Professional Photographer of the Year Awards judges), who was our tutor for the week and we really did have every opportunity to learn. We witnessed calving, chases, even kills and saw some of the rarer wildlife, including Bat Eared Foxes and Honey Badgers, to boot.
In addition, Capture Safaris partners with the famous Nomad Tanzania, a company with a wealth of experience and an excellent reputation. That meant that after long days out on shoots we were returning to well-located camps that were near the action, good hot food, and very comfortable accommodation – all crucial to be able to bounce out of bed with enthusiasm at 5am each day ready for the next adventure!
A little bit of what we learned
Of course the workshops are taught at the level of the participants so never be put off by thinking it will too complex or too basic for you. The range of discussions, workshops and lessons was as broad as the people who had signed up to the trip and the range of situations we found ourselves in so to share all the tips and techniques would be impossible. But here are just a couple of ideas you might want to try out with your own travel photography.
1. Silhouettes can create striking images. By allowing the camera to meter whilst pointed at a bright sky, then keeping your shutter half depressed and refocusing on foreground objects before taking the photo, you can ensure that the foreground is deliberately underexposed and achieve some powerful shapes.
2. Paul’s panning technique uses the movement of an animal to create a sense of it’s speed aggression. Rather than freezing them in their movement it deliberately creates blur whilst maintaining a clear view of what the animal is and what it’s doing. Use Aperture priority setting and a low f stop number (so the aperture is wide open), then experiment with how you hold the camera – either tracking the movement of the animal or holding still and allowing the animal to move.
3. For the ideal times of day to get that magical golden light, head out at sunrise and sunset and then keep a close eye on your settings as they will need to be adjusted minute to minute as the light changes. (Sorry, you’ll have to come on a safari to really learn how!)
If you want to take better travel photographs then a hands-on, on-location course like this could provide some excellent subject matter and lessons than will go with you wherever you travel next. There’s a reason why Tanzania is increasingly being recognised as a top destination, and it’s not only down to the fantastically rich selection of wonders to see, it’s also down to the quality available. Get the right package for you, with the right company, and there is genuinely the trip of a lifetime waiting within these borders.
Details for my safari: Visit www.capturesafaris.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 (0)207 183 2607 and get an itinerary together to suit your needs. Capture Safaris specializes in photo tours offering the highest level of guiding and accommodation to support photographers of all skills levels in making the most of the scenery, wildlife and action. The package price for this Calving Season Photographic Workshop Safari was GBP3,750 pp.
What’s involved in a photo workshop safari? [bullet points to include as a click through – optional]
These sorts of holiday might appear in many guises, but there are some elements it is well worth looking out for:
Also here are my top tips for additional things to ask about before you book: