Taking Aim: How to Shoot on Photo Safari - Page 2

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Pack your camera gear in a good case and carry it onto the airplane. You'll fit more into a soft, padded bag than a foam-filled hard-sided case. Also, look for a bag where the top not only closes with a zipper, but also with a large overflap. This feature enables you to leave the top unzipped, while the flap will keep the dust out when you're in the field.

Pack a tripod in your suitcase. You'll want it at the lodges, but it's useless in the vehicles. For working out of a van, you'll want a bean bag about the size of a loaf of bread. Window mounts do work fine, but bean bags are more handy and versatile.

One very important item is a dust bag in which you can keep your camera ready with along lens attached but avoid a coating of dust. A finely woven pillowcase works fine if you keep it clean. Plastic bags hold static electricity, attracting the dust you want to avoid.

Clean your camera nightly. Take a squeeze-bulb blower, lens tissue, lens cleaner, some Q-tips, and an old toothbrush for cleaning.

Take whatever you normally like to shoot. You don't really need several kinds of film, although you may want to shoot both some print film and slides.

Pack double the amount you think you would use. An absolute minimum would be three rolls per day in the field. You can always bring the film back home with you, but don't count on buying any in Africa. Take all your film as carry-on luggage, and ask for a hand inspection. Don't mail it home from Nairobi.

A final tip on getting the shots you'll prize for a lifetime is to shoot freely when you have a good subject and the conditions are right. The price of film is a tiny fraction of the cost of your trip. The attitude you should have is that your next shot will be the definitive photo of your subject.

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