08 September 2013

Why you need more than 1 camera


Wildlife photography takes us home to nature, lets us feel the outdoors and capture its beauty. There is probably no other photography that is in the same way exciting and calming as wildlife photography. Photographing the Big 5 on safari is very exciting, impressing and stimulating and at the same time sitting with a leopard for a morning is very calming and makes us connect with nature again in a quiet way.

It is never boring. A day in the bush is never the same. The animals have always surprises for the observer and photographer. They make us see and grow in photography with every minute we spent with them and they rarely do what we think we want them to do, which is very refreshing too.

Get your dose wildlife photography every day. Wildlife is everywhere, in your garden, in the park and even in the city. Just start seeing them and capture their magic.

Happy wildlife snapping!

Ute Sonnenberg for

How Photo Safari Team Building Bonds


Most of our time we spend at work and being part of a great team is very important for our happiness. So, we need to pay attention to the wellbeing of our team and give it every now and then a nourishing treatment. Photo safari team buildings do exactly that.

First of all they take team members out of their comfort zone and into the heart of nature, the perfect caring environment to explore, play and grow as a team. The delegates share special safari moments, learn and grow through
wildlife photography and take the special captured memories home, back to the office.

The photographs the members took turn into collages or permanent exhibitions at the work place and one only needs to look at them to feel that spirit again, when the team was creating this special bond. It will remind one of the close bond, at times that stress disturbs the great energy and one feels irritated by colleagues easily. The images carry the team spirit and reset it at any given moment the team needs it.

Happy team bonding with photography!

Ute Sonnenberg for

How to make a Difference with Your Photo Safari Choice


It is sometimes not easy to get through the thick bush of safari offers and available lodges. But there is a way to filter out the good ones and to make a difference with your photographic safari choice.

There are a number of bush lodges and camps that can call themselves eco lodges. They use solar power, re-use water, keep the use of plastic low and more ecological conscious actions to make the impact on nature as small as possible.

There are also a number of lodges and camps that work closely with the local communities, provide medical care and education for the community and their staff.

A third criterion is the conservation policy of a lodge or camp. How do they manage the land and how do they protect the wildlife.

The best lodges and camps do all three and if you would like to make a difference while having a great time with your
wildlife photography and game drives, you should choose one of them. Ask for them when you are planning your safari and you will know, that you did a good thing.

Happy difference making while having photography fun!

Ute Sonnenberg for

How to Master Hazy Light


There is a reason that game drives on photographic safaris are in the early morning and late afternoon. One reason are the animals. They are more active in the morning and afternoon when it is not that hot and the chance of seeing wildlife interaction is bigger.

Another reason is the light. The so-called golden hour with the best light for
wildlife photography is in the morning just after sunrise and in the evening just before sunset. In between, the light is challenging. Already from about 9 am the light becomes too bright and hazy with no contrasts and too much reflection on the animals and landscape. One doesn’t need to take a photo to see it, it just looks like that for most of the day.

The normal exposure settings you use and can use during the golden hour cannot master this challenging light. You got to adjust. One option is adjusting the aperture. Just go 1 or 2 f-stops higher to get more saturated colors, but be careful not to overdo it. Another option is to work with exposure compensation, especially when photographing animal close-ups and their faces are too bright with no texture. This works also well with elephant and rhino. Their grey skin reflects a lot and on the picture it looks very shiny.

Unfortunately there is no way in practicing that before going on safari. There is no other place with this light and you will agree, once arrived for example in the Masai Mara.
Maybe one more advice. Don’t expect that what you usually do with your photography will work in the bush. Be prepared that all will be different. This will help already to avoid frustration.

Happy wildlife snapping!

Ute Sonnenberg for

Why Quality Game Drives Matter


Photographic safaris seem pretty expensive on first sight, especially when one hasn’t been on safari yet. They are completely different from other holidays and there are good reasons to be careful in choosing the right photo safari adventure.

Besides the utterly remote location of the lodges and camps with the logistic challenges of operating them, a main factor that influences the quality and with it the price of the trip are the game drives. It makes a big difference if the game drives are operated with 4x4 vehicles or with mini vans. Mini vans get in difficulties when it starts raining and in sand. There are many areas they cannot go or only with big risk. 4x4 vehicles instead can easily go off road and that means they can for example follow a leopard through the bush, where a mini van has to drive around and most likely lose sight of the leopard. A 4x4 vehicle is safer and it offers the better conditions for
wildlife photography. Ideal is an open jeep where the photographer can easily move around and photograph on all sides.

But there is more that influences the quality of game drives. Some lodges and camps put up to 10 guests on a vehicle, which gives no space for photography and even without photography, this is very disturbing for the safari experience.

Another important criteria is the driver/guide. Only a qualified professional driver/guide will be able to find the animals and to take you to the best places. Private game reserves in South Africa have even trackers. They sit right in front of the vehicle on an extra seat to look for tracks. They work closely with the rangers (driver/guide) to provide outstanding game drives with fantastic photographic opportunities.

Game drives make or break your safari. Choose them carefully. Their quality matters for all wildlife photographers and safari guests.

Happy wildlife snapping!

Ute Sonnenberg for

Soothing the Soul through Photography


We are exposed to a tremendous amount of triggers every day. Their range goes from traffic over emails, phone calls, social media notifications, work queries, advertisement, television and much more to complete exhaustion not only of our brain, but also of our soul. All these triggers need to be processed and we end up being stressed. And on top of it, some of the triggers are already of a stressing nature by themselves.

At these moments when we think it gets all too much, photography can be the soothing remedy.
Photography let us see through the clutter again and focus on what is important and helpful for us. Ideal would be a photography stroll in nature. Both are soul soothing, yet a flowerpot at home does the trick to. Watch the light fall on the flowers and get your camera to photograph it. Your soul can rest in harmony with the camera and the flowers, your focus will come back, clutter will be out of sight and stress will subside.

If you have the chance to go out in a park, forest or zoo, create a little
photographic safari for yourself. Dachshunds become jackals, greyhounds cheetahs and the neighbor’s cat a leopard. Have a close look at the trees around you and find the most amazing birds. You might start forgetting where you are and the city park becomes a jungle and the grass fields the Great Plains of the Serengeti and Masai Mara.

Be gentle to your soul and give it some photography time.

Happy snapping!

Ute Sonnenberg for

What is a Photography Break?


What if you need a Sunday urgently, but its only Wednesday and you feel already exhausted. Take out your camera or cell phone camera and start photographing whatever you see around you. You don’t even need to leave the desk, but of course it would be nicer to just step outside and photograph what’s going on in the streets, in the park or just in the building you work in. Open your eyes, look out for the light and start seeing all the inspiration surrounding you. Maybe your photography break lasts only 15 minutes, but it will refresh you and recharge you with new energy and strength to make until Sunday.

Of course there are also the very much-needed holidays, the longer breaks to recharge and relax. Turn them into
wildlife photography breaks, photographic safari breaks, street photography breaks, sport photography breaks or relaxed beach sunset photography breaks. Add photography to make sure you get most out of it.

Happy Sunday snapping!

Ute Sonnenberg for