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Safari With a 60D

edited December 2012 Posted in » Canon 60D Forum
Hello. I've read some of the topics/tutorials on this site and I must say, it's all very helpful! I was hoping I could get a little advice for my upcoming trip. I'll be going to Kenya in about 2 weeks to do some research on the wildlife and I would like to come away with some really nice pictures. I was hoping someone would be willing to give me some tips on what setting to shoot in, what type of focus to use, and any other useful hints that you're willing to offer. I'm a bit new to the 60D, so I'm trying to optimize my experience.
For reference, I have a 60D body and a 18-135mm lens. Should I get another lens? Should I get a tripod?

Thank you so much for your help!


  • edited December 2012
    @ZDRaymond - Hi there. First things first. A tripod is a must. A good solid tripod is worth its weight in gold when getting good wildlife photos. I would also suggest a good monopod as well for when you will be moving around.

    Lens: I have the very lens you have and although I get good pictures with it, it will not give you what you are wanting. If you can, look at renting a bigger lens, or buy one (I don't know your buget). I would recommend the 70-200mm f/2.8L (if you are renting) for your midrange shoots. Then the 100-400mm f/4 L to reach out and grab those shots. That is ideal! My personal gear bag is the 60D body with the 55-200mm f/4-5.6 IS USM, and 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lenses. I have a UV filter on every lens and a circular polarizer on stand by for each.

    Settings: I always shoot in AV mode and let the camera set everything else. I would say just get outside and take photographs at different times of the day and study your pictures. Then write down notes of the lighting and camera settings. This way you will have a something to look back at.

    Other tips: Be patient. I have stalked an animal for hours and hours and never got a photo. I have sat in a hide and never got the one wow image we all look for. When you focus on the animal try to focus on the eyes, then frame in the rest of the animal; it makes for a better photo. Get yourself familiar with manual focusing your camera. In the bush you think you just got the once in a life time image, only to find out you have a super clear image of a leaf on a twig about 15' in front of you. Dude, talk about heart break. So, work on manual focus, so that when you focus and take the picture your camera won't focus in on something else.

    Safety: Going to Africa, I am certain you have read up on all the things that can eat you over there. You will be dealing with wild critters. When stalking, look where you walk. I was bit by a cottonmouth, luckly it was determined to be what the doctor called a dry strike. I was 35 minutes from the hospital. How far do you think you will be? Just saying!

    This should get you started in the right direction.

    Good luck and happy shooting,
  • edited December 2012
    @ZDRaymond - I forgot to say it, but I would look and trying to get an extra camera body; you can rent them. Most of all don't forget to take a good cleaning kit and extra batteries. I would think three batteries should cover you.

  • edited December 2012

    Wow, thanks for all of the information! I know it's a five hour drive outside of Nairobi, but I'm not sure where the nearest hospital is. Luckily, I will be with people who do. I'll be sure to take all of these great tips with me when I go. This is great! I'll be sure to report back and upload my shots to Flickr when I return. I'm very excited.

    Best regards,
  • edited January 2013
    Hey Raymond,
    Take a few meds with you that you are familiar with for headaches and upset stomach. Hospitals here in Africa are pretty poor so be prepared. On the lens side try to get a 70-300mm L. It is a fantastic wildlife lens and in my opinion better than the 100-400mm. It has faster AF and better optics. Good luck and I hope you see everything there is to see and you capture it in your camera the way you imagined it to be. Best shooting time is early morning and late afternoon in what is called golden light. Remember Africa has a short evening and dusk comes fast once the sun goes down.
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