28 July 2013

On Photo Safari: Shoes


You might think what a silly topic, only women can be concerned about shoes, but its not silly at all. The right choice of shoes for your photographic safari, wildlife photography course or team building safari is very important.

It can be very tempting to wear flip-flops or sandals on safari, because its war or even hot, but this is not a good idea. When you are on game drives or bush walks always wear closed shoes. You can cut yourself of sharp grass or step into an insect that bites. When you are in the lodge and you walk on walkways open shoes are just fine, at least when its warm.

Check before you go how the weather will be and have for closed shoes a pair of sneakers or walking shoes with you and for in the lodge something easy and comfortable.

Happy photo travelling!

Ute Sonnenberg for

5Top Questions of Photographers before going on Safari


Travelling to new destinations is always exciting from the photography point of view and even more to a complete new continent like Africa. Guest that go on photographic safaris, wildlife photography courses and team building photo safaris often think about the same questions before departing on their trip. And here are the top 5 of them

Do I need to bring a tripod?

This question usually arises while packing the bags and struggling with the luggage allowances. The answer is it depends, but in general it is not necessary. A monopod or beanbag are more practical and lighter for transport.

What zoom lens should I bring?

When shooting with a full frame camera at least a 400mm zoom lens is recommended. For DX format a 300mm lens is good. It will be multiplied with 1.5 and give even a slightly bigger zoom.

Do I need a wide-angle lens?

The zoom lens is more important, but it is great to have a wide-angle lens when photographing landscapes like in Namibia and on the Great Plains in Kenya and Tanzania. It depends very much on the destination.

Do I need a flash?

In general no. The flash usually does not travel far enough to have any affect, because the animal is too far away. It is also not nice for the animals to get flashed. And at night the rangers work with spotlights to shine on the animals (only animals that get not a blinding effect from the light).

Is a camera bag better than a backpack?

For transport a backpack is more practical, but on the game vehicle a camera bag is more convenient. It stands better in the vehicle and allows a more practical access to the equipment.

Ready to go on photo safari?

Enjoy travelling! Happy snapping!

Ute Sonnenberg for

How to make sure you don't get in trouble with airlines


Photographers usually travel with heavy luggage and that can be a hassle with the airlines.

The photo equipment is expensive and no one wants it to be checked in and stolen on the way to the
photographic safari destination or any other magnificent travel destination. Therefore we like to keep it with us in the hand luggage.

A few years ago the first struggle came with the strict new measurements of the cabin luggage allowance and more recently also the weight allowance for the hand luggage. It is getting more and more difficult to keep your gear with you and not to get involved in discussions at the check in counter.

Make sure you have read the allowances for the airline you are flying with before packing your bags. Put gear like tripods, cables and chargers rather in the check in luggage. They are no electronic items and less interesting for thieves and they save you space and weight in the hand luggage. Use dark colors for you cabin baggage. It looks smaller and lighter. Make also sure your cabin luggage looks compact and organized. A messy bulky bag is not helpful. Wear a jacket with big pockets where you can put a lens, if needed to reduce the weight of your bag. Having a backpack instead of a bag can also help when it is not too bulky and big.

Your photographic adventures on
wildlife photography courses, team building photo safaris and more great photographic travel shouldn’t be overshadowed by airline stress. Anticipate to make it easier for yourself.

Happy photo travelling!

Ute Sonnenberg for

Why planning a safari budget can be tricky


Planning a holiday is usually very simple. You go to the internet and search for the places you want to visit and a whole list of hotels, flights and rental cars will roll out. You check the accommodations online and book what you like. The flight is also easily booked and it is all done. You can find plenty of matching options for your budget.

Booking safaris is a bit different. Yes, you can have a budget and find matching
safari packages, but not just like having a budget for hotel accommodation in Barcelona. For example you want to visit the Great Migration in the Masai Mara and the budget should be USD 150 per day. This is pretty much impossible. The park fee for the Masai Mara is already USD 80 per person per day, then the accommodation, food and beverages (you cannot just go to a supermarket in the bush) and transportation to the Mara and for the game drives. It is not working.

Do not plan a safari like a city trip or usual camping trip. A safari budget needs to include all expenses up front, before you go there. When you plan a city trip you look at a budget for the flight and hotel. Then you go there and you start spending money. When you go on safari everything is already paid. You have no more expenses while being on safari and there are also not shopping malls. The only thing can be beverages, but that is a choice you also make in advance.

The budget to plan with seems to be higher at first sight, but it is what it actually will cost you. With other trips it is usually not the end of spending when the hotel and flight are booked.

Keep that in mind and don’t get a fright when a budget seems to be high. At the end it might be cheaper than other holidays. The same applies to
wildlife photography courses and team building safaris. Realize that it includes already all.

Happy travelling!

Ute Sonnenberg for

Will there be a Canon 75MP camera?


Last year we had the announcements that Canon comes with a 45 MP camera and nothing happened, now are the rumors that Canon is working on a 75 MP sensor. Will this really happen? The details so far are that the sensor is built of layers in order to generate the 75 MP. But there is nothing more at the moment.

And again the same questions arises, do we need that? What are we going to use 75 MP for? Already the 45 MP were just too much for everyday shooting and
photographic safaris. What kind of memory card is going to be able to deal with the data? Will students in wildlife photography courses and delegates in team building photo safaris compete with each other through the megapixel strength of their cameras? Will there be a renewal of the class system determined by the megapixels of your camera?

Maybe these are again only rumors, but who knows, maybe this is in 10 years the standard of smart phone cameras.

Happy snapping!

Ute Sonnenberg for

Departure Roulette: Safari Destinations


Have you heard about “Departure Roulette” from Heineken? They have a stand at an airport, asking people to press a red button and a departure board starts running. The destination it stops on is the one the people are going to, right away, that’s the commitment they have to make before pressing the button. See how it works in this video.

What would you do? Would you go? Lets do a little destination roulette right here. The destinations on the board are:

Would you go immediately, if one of those would turn up on your departure roulette?

Happy playing!

Ute Sonnenberg for

ePhoto Book: Trees


Trees are like magical beings with a soul and a heart. They give cities a green heart, their shades comfort the resting traveller and the light playing with their leaves is a pleasure for the eyes.

And they are often forgotten or overlooked as beautiful photographic subjects and especially often on
photographic safaris and team building photo safaris, but definitely not on wildlife photography courses, at least not on mine.

Enjoy their beauty and view the ephoto book Trees

Ute Sonnenberg for