My Pre-Safari Photo Lesson

I explained the three variables in properly exposed photography. He immediately connected and understood how they interact.

Ron Shaw is the reason there’s professional tennis in New Haven. I’ve known Ron, his son and daughter since I came to Connecticut.

This fall Ron is going on safari. Yeah, I’m jealous. His daughter suggested he borrow her camera and see me for a quick camera lesson.

It’s not the kind of thing you can master in a few minutes or a session, There is, however, low hanging fruit that most amateurs don’t get right away. That’s what I set out to teach him.

I explained the three variables in properly exposed photography. He immediately connected and understood how they interact.

“Sharp,” I said. “To me sharp is the most important part of a photo.”

I suggested shooting at very fast shutter speeds because that would freeze any action and it nearly always makes shots crisper and sharper. Often, what looks out-of-focus is just the product of minor motion while the shot is being taken.

I met Ron at the Connecticut Tennis Center where the Pilot Pen is underway. He and I went courtside to get a few snaps.

Here are a few of mine. I wish I’d thought about depth-of-field more. These shots are not fuzzy enough in the background! Though this lens isn’t great for blurring I assume I left some of the effect ‘on the table.’





On my way out I ran into this table of young girls. They were all wearing Energizer Bunny Ears!

“May I take a picture?” I asked.


5 thoughts on “My Pre-Safari Photo Lesson”

  1. Those pics are great the way they are – shooting at high shutter speeds with a shorter depth of field would have worked out a bit given how strong the light was yesterday, but if you try it, make sure you shoot in RAW, some of the pics may expose differently, and you’ll want to recover that data in post.

  2. Keep your camera in Aperature Preferred mode, especially on safari where you will be shooting real early in the morning or late afternoon. If you have a better Nikon, set your camera to allow ISO to goup automatically if needed (up to 6400) to maintain fastest possible shutter speed. More imporantly, bring as many memory disks and back-up drives with you as possible. Just got back with 130GB+ of safari photos this week.

  3. Always RAW with a Canon 450D.

    Michael–He’s going with a Canon 450D like mine. I actually recommended shutter priority because I want him to never have a blurry shot!

  4. Geoff,

    At times your friend will have no choice but to shoot at 1/30 of a second. It is winter time south of the equator and 90% the action is right after sunrise. Setting the lens wide open will assure you the shortest shutter time. Some of my sharpest photos were at ISO 3200 1/60 and f2.8.

    I will send you the link to my photos!

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