26 May 2013

On Photo Safari: The Path of an Animal


When people are going photographic safaris, wildlife photography courses and team building photographic safaris they get sometimes swept away in the excitement of the moment and tend to do not wise things.

There is a standard rule in the bush that you don’t get in the path of an animal. If you have a pet, you will know how it looks like when you cat is on her path to somewhere, only she knows where and how she reacts when you get in her path. This is exactly the same in the bush. As long as you are in a vehicle and you get in the path of a small animal it’s only bad for the animal and you should not do that. We are guests in their environment and should respect them. But if you are in the path of for example an elephant, the elephant will show you exactly what he thinks about that and you will hold your breath when that happens.

Long story short, just keep in mind to stay out of their path. That will not only show respect for the animals it will also result in great sightings, when the animals are showing their natural behavior, interact with each other and you might even witness a kill.

Happy snapping!

Ute Sonnenberg for

Wedding Photographer on Safari?

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Yes, you read right, there are wedding photographers on safari. There are not only people who go on honeymoon on photographic safari or wildlife photography course, there are also people who get married on photographic safari.

Bush lodges in South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia and Botswana are terrific locations to celebrate your wedding. Tables are set out under the trees, decks open views onto Great Plains and animals pass by while you say yes. And of course you need somebody to capture that moment and that would be the wedding photographer.

There are local photographers available to do that, but you can also bring your own favorite wedding photographer with you. You should only make sure he/she understands the bush and its light that the images turn out as you want them.

Planning to get married?

Ute Sonnenberg for

Wildlife Photography Destination Sabi Sand


The Sabi Sand is a wildlife area bordering Kruger National Park in South Africa. It is named after it’s two rivers the Sabi and the Sand River. This area is the gem of the safari areas in South Africa, actually it is the best area to visit when going on photographic safari, team building photographic safari and wildlife photography course in South Africa. And for those who would love to see leopard it is anyway a must. It is almost guaranteed to see leopard there.

The main reason this area is so great for wildlife sightings is the fact that it consists entirely of private game reserves. No public road, no self-drive safaris and strict rules make the difference. For example at a cat sighting only three vehicles are allowed and if there are cubs involved even only two or one, depending on the age of the cubs.

Accommodation wise there is a variety of lodges available, from budget to luxury. But there is a but. When planning a safari to this area ask how many guests will be on the game vehicle. It differs per lodge and you should choose a lodge with a maximum of 6 guests on the vehicle. Anything more is very irritating and frustrating, especially when doing photography.

If you plan to go on safari in South Africa, you should definitely go there, it’s the best you can get.

Happy snapping!

Ute Sonnenberg for

High Res. Images for Social Media?


There have been two major revamps recently of social media platforms and both go the same route, bigger images. Google+ and Flickr have changed their design and especially on Google+ the images can be blown up to really big sizes. But that only looks good when the image is high res and the question is do you want to upload high res images to social media?

Lets only take guests of
photographic safaris, team building photographic safaris en attendees of wildlife photography courses. They all come home with beautiful images and they all want to share them with their friends and family. If they upload their images in high res, anybody who wants to use their images can download them or screen-shot them for further unauthorized use. The quality will be excellent and will be even fine for brochures and other print media. Now you could watermark the images, but you don’t want it to be too dominating on the image. That still gives people the opportunity to download your image and crop the part they want for their purposes.

What to do? I think it’s wise to keep using low-res images. You might not be able to avoid stealing entirely, but at least you can limit the use of the images. And you don’t know anyway, if Google will choose your image to be the huge one on the stream.

Happy snapping and sharing!

Ute Sonnenberg for

With Point-and-Shoot Camera on Safari?


With all the talk about big cameras and big lenses for wildlife photography, photographic safaris, wildlife photography courses and team building photographic safaris one can easily feel intimidated and hesitating to go on safari. But don’t, you can go with your point-and-shoot camera on safari; you will just have to keep in mind that there are some limits to what you can expect from your images.

You don’t need to worry about the zoom. Most of the small cameras have a great zoom, some get even closer than the big lenses. It’s the image quality that makes the difference. But if you just want to capture your memories and don’t have high aspirations in wildlife photography you will be fine.

The biggest problem with the small cameras is the speed. They are not fast enough to capture fast changing moments and that can be frustrating. You can reduce the frustration by learning about animal behavior and anticipating on animal movement, that you get the shots you want. It will not be perfect, but you will do well.

But the most important is, that you enjoy your safari and often only watching is just great.

Have fun and just go!

Ute Sonnenberg for

How Flexible is the Canon 200-400mm lens?


Canon has just announced the new 200-400mm f/4 with built-in 1.4 extender for USD 11,799. With the extender switched on the lens goes from 280-560mm.

There are already plenty of reviews and just as many comments on the lens out there in the Internet. The lens should be perfect for wildlife photography and one of the reasons for that was the flexibility the lens gives. Lets look at that in particular.

People who have been on
photographic safaris, wildlife photography courses or team building photographic safaris will know, that a good zoom is very important in wildlife photography. With the extender switched on the lens offers 560mm, witch is great and very helpful when you just need that extra zoom, but don’t want to carry a 500mm or 600mm fixed lens with you around on safari. The Canon lens gives you this flexibility without an extra lens or changing/placing the extender when you think you will need it. In wildlife photography you won’t have the time to do that. The moment will be gone. So, the instantly switched on extender is really great. Another point on safaris is the dust. When you have to change or mount the extender, you have to expose the sensor to the environment and you should try to avoid that when being on a game vehicle in the bush.

A little downside are the 200mm limit. Wildlife often comes quite close and the 200mm will be too much to photograph them. I love to use my Nikon 80-400mm, but even the 80mm can sometimes be too much. Out of my own experience I would love to get an 80-400mm with a built-in extender and a f/2.8 and still easy to handle, but this might be impossible, at least now.

Read more about the lens in a B&H

Happy snapping!

Ute Sonnenberg for

ePhoto Book: Dream Okavango

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One of the dream destinations of photographic safaris, wildlife photography courses and team building photographic safaris is the Okavango Delta in Botswana.

Join a female leopard in her dream of her home, the amazingly beautiful Okavango Delta, where a river disappears in the desert and creates a magical place.

View the ephoto book

Happy dreaming!

Ute Sonnenberg for