Technology & Gadgets

Nikon's Awesome New Photo Gear

wildlife photography courses Kenya Tanzania south Africa Botswana nikon awe

The wildlife photographers who use Nikon camera gear are most likely the ones who had been waiting for years that Nikon comes with a new 80-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 telephoto lens. This lens is very practical on photographic safaris and continuously used during wildlife photography courses all over Africa. It gives the wildlife photographer lots of freedom and flexibility. Ad now the waiting is over! Nikon launched the new lens with absolutely great specs:

    That’s what we were waiting for. Now “only” the money to be able to buy one. The lens is available at B&H for USD 2,696.95.

    Another great new thing to come is the D7100, a very good camera for a reasonable price. Have a look at the specs:

      The D7100 is available at
      B&H for USD 1,196.95. Expected arrival of the camera in the shop is the 14th of March, pre-orders are taken.

      So, now only sun, free time to go on photographic adventures and the fun can begin.

      Happy snapping! Have fun!

      Ute Sonnenberg for

      Photo Gift Hunting made Easy: Xmas Last Minute Specials

      wildlife photography courses Kenya Tanzania south Africa Botswana gift hunt

      In case you don’t have all the Christmas presents yet and the cameras and electronic gadgets were just too expensive, then your time has come now.

      You can purchase the Nikon D600 with 24-85mm lens now for under USD 2,000. Check it out on
      Amazon, B&H Photo or Adorama.

      And an event that is just right before Christmas visit the Amazon 48 hours
      Overstock Event and get great deals.

      Happy gift hunting!

      Ute Sonnenberg for

      Sales Season is on: Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Green Monday ...

      wildlife photography courses Kenya Tanzania south Africa Botswana sale

      Are you ready for “sales season”?

      This week Friday is
      Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and focusing on people going to real shops, the busiest day for retailers of the whole year (at least in the US). Then comes Cyber Monday, the Monday following on Thanksgiving. Cyber Monday is the day of online shopping, catching up with Black Friday regarding the numbers pretty well during the last years. And finally we’ll get Green Monday, the second Monday in December, called like that initially by eBay.

      What should we do with it? If you are interested in purchasing higher priced photo equipment or a phone, computer or other electronics, its worth to check the specials circulating on and around these days, even if you are not staying in the U.S..
      Amazon is doing already its Pre Black Friday specials and B&H New York has some very interesting offers as well. Just be careful when you are not in the U.S.. On top of the price comes the shipping, taxes and VAT of your country, but often the price is still lower, just check first.

      Ready to go? Happy checking and buying!

      Ute Sonnenberg for

      Bond, James Bond: Shaken not Stirred Technology

      wildlife photography courses Kenya Tanzania south Africa Botswana bond

      Brace up for the new technology dazzling James Bond “Skyfall” movie, in the US theaters on November 9. What technology gadgets will fall out of the blue sky this time?

      All James Bond movies are traditionally innovative in technology. “Q” always comes up with new fantastic gadgets to free Bond in hopeless situations. Yet, I cannot recall something incredibly amazing new from the Bond movies for photography. They use the brands, yes, and the brands use the movie, but no fantastic new photographic devise emerged from them, at least I wouldn’t know.

      Maybe that will change when
      photography becomes more and more a “tool” to us with applications we can’t even think of now. There are already the augmented glasses, face recognition and more, but where will this end? Copy and paste with our eyes through an implanted photo sensor? Some kind of a photographically steered wrist watch that that releases a poisoned arrow when the face recognition identifies the enemy even when he is hiding his face behind a mask, because the watch can take an image of the skull and run it through a database? Or is “Q”’s watch already doing that?

      Well, lets see with what technology this movie is coming up with and if there is anything inspiring for photographers in it. And if not, the photography of the movies always showed great frames, inspiring composition and working with light.

      Enjoy fantastic ideas!

      Ute Sonnenberg for

      Retro and Stunning: The Lomography Belair

      wildlife photography courses Kenya Tanzania south Africa Botswana lomography

      We seem to be in love with retro!
      Well, another beautiful new retro
      camera has entered our lives, producing stunning retro looking images, the Lomography Belair in three great looks.
      The Lomography Belair X 6-12 is the world’s first portable medium camera that shoots auto-exposed photographs.
      “The Belair can expose in three different aspect ratios: standard 6×9, square 6×6, and panoramic 6×12. It comes with an interchangeable lens system that has two lenses in the lineup: a 90mm normal lens and a 58mm wide-angle.
      Features include zone focusing, support for films with ISO from 50 to 1600, a standard hot-shoe mount, a max shutter speed of 1/125s, Bulb mode, and double exposure shooting.” (via
      The design shown on the picture above is already sold out, but find more information on their website and rather pre-order your favorite Belair before they are all sold out.

      Happy retro snapping!

      Ute Sonnenberg for

      Design Duo Steve Jobs and Philippe Starck: The Yacht

      innovative leadership photographic safaris training Kenya south africa yacht

      What happens when great creative minds like Steve Jobs and Philippe Starck are collaborating? A product of a different kind comes out and in this case Steve Jobs’s private yacht.

      Yesterday on 28
      th October 2012 the yacht was unveiled at the Dutch shipyard Koninklijke De Vries in Aalsmeer. A masterpiece of minimalistic design and 70 – 80 meters of craftsmanship with the name Venus.

      Read the complete article on
      Mashable and watch the video on the Dutch site OneMoreThing.

      It will be interesting to learn what technology was built into the yacht and what new products might come out of it for all of us. The Apple TV?

      Enjoy the piece of art!

      Ute Sonnenberg for

      Microsoft is Surface

      innovative leadership photographic safaris training Kenya south africa surface

      This week Microsoft and Apple launched their new products, just in time for Christmas … , the Surface with Windows 8 and the iPad mini.
      Up until June this year I would have denied ever considering buying a Microsoft product, because it’s incredibly innovative and intuitional. But that changed in June when the
      Surface surfaced on the tablet market with its new operating system Windows 8. Somehow one knows when something is really innovative and game changing and that’s what I felt when I saw the Surface tablet and its user interface. Already the design of the tablet with built in stand and click on keyboard, the colors and the whole feel about it. Then the user interface of Windows 8 with its entirely intuitive approach of the colored tiles, ready to touch to go to the application you want to work with and you can create the user interface that suits you, completely personalized. This is so much what the a creative user wants, fast, intuitive, personal, direct and easy, a real innovation to support creative workflow. That’s how I would have described an Apple laptop two years ago, but not anymore.
      The Apple software has become counter-intuitive, slow, disturbing and annoying. The design of features like address book and calendar is hurting the eye and using them has become entirely counter-intuitive and irritating. It was perfect until OSX Snow Leopard, but it is not anymore. The new iPad mini is nice, but it is not innovative and it is expensive. Apple didn’t come with something really new, it followed the competitors to have also a smaller tablet and to cash in this market segment.
      Apple the leader in innovation for decades has turned into the follower … for decades? Is
      Microsoft surfacing from the depth of being the heavy weight giant to become the innovative leader? The first queues for the Surface are already lining up in front of the Microsoft shops.

      Innovation will always win.

      Ute Sonnenberg for

      121 Autofocus Points from Sony vs. High-MP from Canon

      wildlife photography courses Kenya Tanzania south Africa Botswana

      The numbers get higher and we tend to thing that the higher the numbers the more we get for our money. And yes, we get more megapixels and more autofocus points, but does that also mean we really need it?

      The Canon High-MP rumors persist and new information has just been posted on
      Canon Rumors that says it would be the Canon EOS-1S with a price of about USD 9,000. A specific number of megapixel was not mentioned.

      As said in earlier blog posts on this subject, a decision on purchasing the high megapixel Canon needs some contemplation. What are you doing in photography and how do you use your images? Do you want to crop a fly out of an image of a building or will your images be printed in billboard size? Do you need speed when photographing; are you photographing moving objects? Think about it and definitely when the expected price is right, a wrong decision can be painful.

      Sony’s A99 SLT offers 19+102 autofocus points, in total 121 and at first sight that appeals more to me than the probably 46MP. Especially when capturing moving objects the high number of autofocus points is very helpful and every wildlife and sports photographer would love to have them, but unfortunately until now there is a downside to it. According to The Phoblographer you can use the feature so far only with 6 lenses, which hopefully will change soon. Yet it is a great feature and probably with more broad use than an extremely high number of megapixel.

      Well, it’s always a personal decision depending on the photographic purpose one is pursuing and sometimes its just too tempting.

      Ute Sonnenberg for

      Photokina rumors: The Canon 46MP monster

      wildlife photography courses Kenya Tanzania south Africa Botswana 46Mp

      It seems like the megapixel monster was unleashed and Nikon and Canon are chasing Hasselblad. For a long time Hasselblad was the one with the monstrous amount of megapixel cameras, but recently Nikon caught up with them with their D800 and will Canon eventually race past both?

      There are rumors that Canon will launch a DSLR with 46 megapixel at the
      Photokina in Cologne in September. But will it or will it rather stick to 22 megapixel? One needs the right lenses in order to get the best out of such a megapixel monster. Users of Nikon’s D800 are already carful with yielding this amazing camera.

      We will know soon. Do we need
      such a thing?

      Ute Sonnenberg for

      How to Show and Sell Your Photos and Artwork on the Internet

      wildlife photography courses Kenya Tanzania south Africa Botswana show sell your photos

      We all know about the obvious photo sharing options like facebook, Flickr, other social media and portfolio sites, but what if you want to sell your images as posters, postcards or other products? Maybe we need only to wait long enough and facebook will do that as well, but maybe not. There are websites that offer this service already and here are 2 of them.

      The first is
      PhotoShelter. Photoshelter is as its name says a shelter for photographers. Not only can images be sold as prints and products, you can also have your own stock photo gallery and sell digital image files. The clients go to your website, browse the images and buy directly online. Photoshelter takes care of the financial part of the transaction and the copyright safety of your images. The services of Photoshelter are not for free. You pay a monthly or annual fee depending on the storage size you choose. Their services are open for professional photographers.

      The second service provider is
      Artflakes. Artflakes is open to all artists and photographers. They are based in Berlin and offer great print services in good quality for deliveries all over the world. As a photographer you can sign up for free, upload images and set the price you wish for prints and products yourself (also in photoshelter you can set the price yourself). Artflakes is also a kind of artists network with following options and likes, but you don’t need to go around and like if you don’t like, but there are interesting artworks to discover.

      Maybe these two websites can open new fields of activities for you. Have a look.

      Happy discovering!

      Ute Sonnenberg for

      How to Make a Photo eBook that Looks Like Made by Apple

      wildlife photography courses Kenya Tanzania south Africa Botswana apple photo book

      About 6 years ago Apple started offering the photo book feature in Aperture, that enabled users to create their own photo book, looking like a real coffee table book. It was like a revolution. All photo lovers could make their own book instead of the traditional photo album. It looked like a professionally published book, yet for an affordable price.


      Only about 4 years later the iPad came out and its beautiful ebooks stole our hearts. Ebooks were nothing new, but these iPad ebooks were of a differnet kind. One could leafe through them like through real paper books and they would even make the sound of paper pages being turned. How great would it be to make your own Apple alike looking photo ebooks for a much lower price than the real photo books or even for free. With how many people could you share them simply on the digital way and on the go on their mobile devices. The developers were not sleeping and there are great websites that provide exaclty that service, creating your own beautiful photo ebook and of course also any other book you wish to create.

      It all starts like any other book creating process with the book idea, writing what you want to write and choosing the images you want to publish. From there you can take different roads to the finished photo ebook through differnet online publishing services.

      One of them is
      Blurb. Blurb allows you to make real paper books and iPad ebooks simply with templates, InDesign plugin or other bookmaking tools Blurb offers. Until now their iPad ebook service works like that. When you have already created and printed a paper book with Blurb they convert your book for free into an iPad ebook and you can even sell it via their book store. If you don’t have yet a paper book made with them, they request that you print one copy and the conversion into an iPad ebook is also for free. Check out their website. They are doing great things.


      Another service provider is
      issuu. Create your book in word or as a power point presentation and save it as a pdf file. Then upload the pdf and issuu will create a beautiful online Apple lookalike readable ebook. The eBooks can be downloaded, if you alow that and the person who wants to download the eBook has to sign up with issuu. Signing up is for free and so is the eBook publishing service from issuu. You can use issuu to publish your photo books, amnuals, papers and other sorts of documents you wish to present in a beautiful way. Here some examples from my own website where I use issuu for itineraries and other documents.


      A third option is
      überflip. Uberflip makes great eBooks from your pdfs of all kinds of books including photo eBooks, which work on all digital devices, even with the page turning sound from the iPad. They offer a 60-days free trial and after that the service is not for free anymore. The basic subscription is $29.95 per month for a monthly upload of 5 eBooks. Here an example for an uberflip eBook. Readers of the book can download it as pdf without having to sign up before. Sharing tools for the most popular networks are integrated in the book-viewing page.

      uberflip screen shot

      Have a look. Maybe you will find some inspiration for publishing your own creative work and sharing it with more people.

      Happy eBooking!

      Ute Sonnenberg for

      5 Tips for Choosing the Right Photo Course

      wildlife photography courses Kenya Tanzania south Africa Botswana choose right course

      Fortunately we live in times of blooming creativity and plenty of opportunities to learn creative crafts like painting, sculpturing, cooking, photographing, gardening, app creating and many more. But it’s sometimes hard to find the right course and setting to learn and to get the most out of it. Here some pointers to help identifying a good course. They apply not only to photography, but also to courses in general.

      • Make sure the course is about the students and not about the teacher. That means it stimulates the creativity of the students and enables them to develop their own style, guided by the teacher.
      • Make sure the group is not to big or even go for individual training if it suits your purpose. Small groups provide more attention and space for individual questions and needs.
      • Make sure you feel safe in the group. It’s a creative course and you will show yourself through your work. You will flourish and grow, if you feel safe to show your work and ask questions.
      • Make sure you like the course environment incl. location, people, services and other facilities. That will stimulate your creative work and growth.
      • Make sure it is fun. Fun makes us learn easier and learning enjoyable.

      You might think, but I will know all these things only when I’m already in the course. Think back when you did courses in the past. Didn’t you have the right feeling about it already from the moment you booked it? Trust your intuition and you will have a great photo course, cooking classes, painting sessions or any other creating adventure you want to embark on.

      Enjoy creating!

      Ute Sonnenberg,

      How Many Photo Equipment does One Need on Safari

      photographic safaris south Africa Kenya Botswana Tanzania Namibia how many equipment

      Many people go ones in their life on a safari and want to make sure they come home with lovely images. That puts a lot of pressure on the one who is responsible for the photography and one can easily end up buying all equipment possibly necessary, just to make sure to have it in case they need it. There is an overwhelming amount of equipment available and its really hard to make the right choice, but you got to make a choice and if its only for the luggage allowance on the flights.
      If you are an entry-level hobby photographer, the best you can do is having a bridge type of digital camera with you with a good zoom and a relatively good speed. The biggest problem of the point and shoot cameras is their speed. They are often to slow to capture the moment and the animal is gone. Bringing that good bridge model to start with is a good choice for the less ambitious hobby photographer. No further photo equipment needed.

      The more ambitious photographer with an entry level DSLR and interchangeable lenses gets already confronted with more choices. There are flowers and small animals that make great subjects, there are landscapes and there are the elephants on the water whole. For all three different situations are different lenses and the best thing to do would be to bring a macro, a wide angle and a zoom lens. But in reality one ends up not really using the macro lens when focusing on wildlife, unless macro is a specialty of the photographer and he/she will focus on small animals and objects. So, in general the wide angle and the zoom lens will be enough to bring. This lens choice can also apply to the more advanced and ambitious photographer. The next question is the tripod. A tripod is great for low light situations or night photography, but not essential for wildlife photography. A beanbag is the better choice. There is limited space in the vehicle, one needs to be flexible for the always-moving objects and night photography is not really happening. Get a

      The photographers with the more advanced cameras and lenses have a difficult task in making a decision. The beautiful fixed 400mm/500mm/600mm lenses are great, but they are also heavy, not flexible, need a tripod or monopod to be handled and require space. Already the transport on the international flight and definitely on the safari flight is challenging. But the main concern is their flexibility. In many places the animals are very close to the vehicles and the big lens cannot be used. So, one needs at least two cameras to have a more flexible lens on the other body to capture also these moments. If you want to bring all this great equipment, be prepared to have a private vehicle in order to manage it while being on safari. Also special arrangements for the transfers and flights might be necessary.

      Whatever your choice will be, keep in mind to have a fast camera with a fast processing memory card, a minimum 400 mm zoom lens when shooting full frame and a beanbag. These essentials will serve you well when going out to shoot great photos of wildlife, yet having a relaxed safari and easy transportation.

      Enjoy preparing for a great trip!

      Ute Sonnenberg,