04 August 2013

On Photo Safari: Sundowners


Being on safari is already great, but there is one part of it that creates a really special experience, the sundowner.

Imagine being out in the bush on game drives all day, exposed to nature, sun and amazing animals. You are full of what you saw, tired from doing your
wildlife photography for the entire day, exhausted from the impressions and the sun and then comes the magical moment that gives you back your energy and forms the perfect closure of the day. The vehicle stops at a spot with a great view, the sun is settling and you get out of the vehicle, stretch your legs, feel the ground and refresh yourself with a cool drink (not necessarily an alcoholic one). All tiredness is falling off and only the great moments stay and you enjoy them again while watching the sun going down on the horizon.

Maybe the sundowner is the most perfect
incentive of all.

Enjoy it!

Happy travelling.

Ute Sonnenberg for

How to use the camera shoulder strap


You might have never given it a thought, your shoulder strap of the camera, but it might be good to do so.

The essential idea of the shoulder strap is to secure your camera and to keep your hands free, especially when you are hiking or doing some other activity. But mostly the shoulder strap is not used for the shoulder. The strap is around the neck and this can affect your photography.

When something is hanging on the neck, the neck tends to get tensed and stiff and that makes us feeling uncomfortable, which reflects in the photography. When you feel it is not secure enough to have the camera strap on the shoulder, use it diagonal. The camera will be secure and your hands will be free to.

This will be very useful when dropping the camera would mean total loss, like when being at great heights or on boats. Also for bush walks and similar activities on
safaris in South Africa and elsewhere, having the camera secured like that helps a lot. You like to have your hands free when doing bush walks on uneven territory, just in case you stumble and want to hold on to something.

When travelling in groups or joining other group events like
team building incentives, one can get the idea that all is safe and safe guarding is dropped. But that is exactly the moment thieves are waiting for. Keep your camera always secure. Losing it can be such a hassle and you will not get the images back.

wildlife photography courses guests learn how to use the shoulder strap efficiently and practically. And it is always and “ah” moment when they realize that it was actually very uncomfortable to have the camera hanging around the neck. Try it.

Happy snapping!

Ute Sonnenberg for

What is the Best Time for Safari in South Africa


This question is often asked when guests inquire for safaris in South Africa and there is no standard answer to it. It depends what you would like to see and experience.

Wildlife sightings and therefore
wildlife photography is the easiest in winter, which is June, July and August. It is not raining in winter and the bush is dry. The animals gather around waterholes and that makes it easier to find them. Also the grass is low in winter and the animals can be easier seen and photographed. The colors are earthy colors with beautiful brown and red tints. But there is a little but; it is cold in the morning and evening with comforting warm temperatures during the day.

Summer is the lush time of the year with high temperatures and all rich green colors. The grass is high and there is plenty of water. It is more difficult to find the animals and also to see them in the grass, but it is so lovely green. Especially when planning a winter escape, the South African summer is ideal. For the photography summer offers just different photo opportunities. The colors are bright and the light is often softer.

Both seasons are great. Maybe just try them all.

Happy snapping!

Ute Sonnenberg for

When do the Vic Falls have Water?


The Victoria Falls are a popular safari destination and the worlds largest sheet of falling water, at least when there is enough water to fall.

From February to May is the Zambezi River’s flood season and the moment that the falls’ spray rises to a height of over 400 meters and sometimes even twice as high, visible from a distance of about 30 miles. During this time it is not possible to see the foot of the falls and walking on the opposite cliff means being showered all the time. Some people even saw a moonbow at full moon, the equivalent of the rainbow during daylight, caused by the falls’ spray and the moonlight.

From September to January the visitor will see very different falls with up to half of the fall’s rocks becoming dry. The foot of the falls is then visible and the walk on the opposite cliff is dry to.

Both seasons of the falls are awesome, each has its own greatness and
photographers will love it. There is always the option to see the falls from a helicopter and capture some great shots. And for the brave ones and loved by team buildings are the famous bungee jumping bridge and the canoeing on the Zambezi.

However, the Vic Falls are a must when visiting Southern Africa. They are magic and great fun for photographers.

Happy travel snapping!

Ute Sonnenberg for

How the Floods in the Okavango Delta work


The Okavango Delta in Botswana is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa. It is an inland delta, formed by the Okavango River in the Kalahari. Every year approximately 11 cubic kilometers of water are spreading over the 6,000-15,000 square kilometers of the Delta. The water is coming from the highlands in Angola. The floods arrive by the end of March/beginning of April and reach their peak between June and August. Most of the water is consumed through transpiration by plants and evaporation. Towards November the Okavango Delta goes back to its permanent shape, while during the flood it inundates the so-called flood plains.

For the
Okavango safari planning one should keep in mind the rhythm of the floods, because they influence the activities on game drives. During the floods some areas are not accessible by car and on the other hand during the dry season in some areas are no water activities possible.

The Okavango Delta is fantastic for birding and also all other game viewing, yet especially
wildlife photography courses will often focus on birds and use special boats to get close and photograph them.

Team building incentives often use the water activities to create a special experience and include for example fishing. Yet the water activities are something special for every safari, exploring the delta in the traditional Mokoro (canoe) or on a motorboat is just magical. One gets very close to the animals and the colors are a photographers dream.

Just ask yourself what you would like to experience and then inform about the best time and the best place in the delta to make sure you get what you are looking for.

Happy magical travelling and snapping away!

Ute Sonnenberg for

How the Great Migration works


The Great Migration of the wildebeest, and also zebra and gazelle, is well known as happening in the Masai Mara in Kenya. The spectacle of huge herds crossing the Mara River with crocodiles waiting for them is a wildlife photographer’s dream.

It is often thought that only this is the migration, but it is only one part, yet the most famous one, because of the river crossing. Keep a broader mind when planning a
safari in Kenya and Tanzania. The big herds are trekking around in the Masai Mara and Serengeti the whole year. The calving season is from January to March in the Southern Serengeti. About 500,000 wildebeest are born within 2-3 weeks time. When the rains end in May they move on northwest to the Grumeti River where they remain until late June. In July they start heading north and arrive towards the end of July in the Masai Mara. By November they are all on the move again down south into the Serengeti.

Every part of the migration is very impressive and an unforgettable experience being among millions of wildebeest, zebra and other plains game. Keep in mind the two probably most moving events, the calving and the Mara River crossing; yet enjoy also just being with the big herds on the Great Plains. For
team building incentives make a carful choice depending on what you want to achieve with the safari. It will definitely be adventure, amazing wildlife and most likely deep impressions to take home as wonderful memories.

Enjoy nature and keep snapping!

Ute Sonnenberg for
Image: andbeyond

ePhoto Book: Birds


They are awesome characters, the birds. And on photographic safaris, wildlife photography courses and team building photo safaris you might have the opportunity to see and photograph them a lot.

They always look very confident, like happy with themselves and maybe that is how you feel when you are always free to fly wherever you want to go. They are little big spirits, bringing color and joy.

Enjoy some of them in “Birds”. View the ephoto book

Happy birding!

Ute Sonnenberg for