Ten Must-Have Wildlife Photography Accessories for an African Safari

There are many photographic accessories to choose from – some tend to be gimmicks while others are necessities. Here we list the photo accessories that have been indispensable to us on our more than 100 African wildlife safaris.

1. Better-Beamer Flash Extender – this accessory enables you to increase your flash output by 2 to 3 stops with lenses of 300mm and longer. It is small, light, folds flat and takes just a few seconds to fit onto the flash. Most waterholes in the Kgalagadi and Etosha are between 50 and 100 meters away so this accessory becomes important for your night-time shooting.

2. Cable Release – this is a crucial photo accessory when shooting long exposures from a few seconds to star trails of a few hours. It also enables you to get sharper photographs when used in conjunction with your tripod.

3. Digital Image Storage Device – you must bring something to store your photographs on, be it your laptop, portable external hard drive or plenty of extra compact flash cards. We can shoot over 30GB a day and our normal safari is 10 days so you do the math! We take a 500GB external hard drive plus our laptop.

4. Dust Protection and Cleaning Tools – African game reserves like the Kruger Park are hot and dusty so it’s important to protect your gear from dust and the sun by covering it with a towel. In addition you should clean your gear every day with a bulb blower and lens pen.

5. Filters – you should use UV or skylight filters for protection on your smaller lenses and a polarizer to reduce glare from water or to enhance colors. If you are visiting Etosha a polarizer is a must due to the glare from the white sand. A split neutral density filter will help you with landscape photos.

6. Flash – the flash that is built into most cameras may be sufficient for day-time fill-flash but not for nocturnal photography. We use Nikon SB 900 flashes – these are powerful flashes that provide the light for us when shooting in camps at night and even fill-flash for daylight.

7. Power – your camera, laptop and flash all work on batteries or mains so please ensure you bring spare batteries, chargers, and mains adapters. For places like the Kgalagadi wilderness camps you should get an Inverter, which allows you to charge camera batteries and laptop batteries in the car while driving as the cabins do not have electricity.

8. Tele-converters – a tele-converter allows you to magnify your subject without spending too much money on expensive telephoto lenses. If you have a lens with a maximum aperture of f2.8 of f4 a tele-converter should work very nicely. We recommend you buy the same brand as your camera and lens.

9. Spotlight – a good quality bright spotlight is a must for the Kruger, Etosha and Kgalagadi. At night the rare ‘elusive-eleven’ animals are active and can be photographed from the camps and in the camps. We recommend the Lightforce spotlights that are made in Australia.

10. Stable Support – to get sharp photographs you must provide a stable support for your camera. Depending on whether you are doing a self-drive or guided tour you should bring a tripod, bean bag or window mount. We do self drive safaris so we have the luxury of being able to take all three supports with us. A bean bag is very handy for use in your vehicle as well as in the Kruger and Pilanesberg bird hides.

The above photographic accessories will not make you a better photographer but they will make your photographs better!

Digital Camera Accessories – Buy Online Avoiding Frauds

Many people love to take photos with digital cameras, but not all know that the right photography accessories can help you to be a better and more creative photographer thanks to their specialized uses. You can find digital camera accessories in local shops of course, but the choice may be limited, it may take ages for the right item to be back in stock, the next shop could be far away from where you live, and you may be served by an obnoxious salesperson who just wants to unload some stock on you, regardless of whether you really need the item.

There are several reasons why the internet is a better place to shop for photography extras. Online stores for digital camera accessories usually have more choice and a bigger inventory, they may be much cheaper, and getting the items via post is quick and often much more convenient than getting them in person.

Digital cameras are truly wonderful, a great step forward compared to their analogue counterparts. But it still makes a lot of sense to equip yourself with digital camera accessories to maximize your chances of taking the best pictures.

On the internet, your choice of digital camera accessories will be truly wide. You will find flashlights, lenses, tripods, filters, and more specialized items in all types and specifications. Don’t overdo it though; make sure that you get the right items for your kind of photography.

Another great source of digital camera accessories are online auction houses such as eBay. You can find great deals on both new and used items in these places. Plus, participating in an auction can be very fun!

If you start buying digital camera accessories through online auctions, you will often spend less than half for mint condition items, allowing you to stretch your budget and collect an impressive array of photography gizmos.

There is an active second hand and used accessory market on the internet that offers the buyer a great opportunity to buy, trade, exchange and recycle. For instance, professional grade SLR lenses are designed and manufactured with precision and durability in mind, and often people ‘outgrow’ their current lens set and need to replace part of it. So, buying second hand lenses is a real viable option.

Always ensure that you keep to common sense when buying or selling digital camera accessories online, to avoid scams. For instance, never accept third party checks for more than an item’s worth, and always check site return policies.