A Game Ranger Shares 5 Tips on How to Capture the Perfect Safari Snapshot


There’s no doubt; bush holidays are right up there with some of the best holiday experiences in the world and chances are you probably want to return home with a few pictures that capture the memories of your bush escape so you can enjoy them for years to come. Located in the Sabi Sand Reserve in Mpumalanga, Ulusaba Private Game Reserve is known as one of the best holiday spots for keen wildlife photographers. The team of Rangers and Trackers are trained to help guests spot Africa’s incredible wildlife as well as sharing their own photographic expertise so we spoke to Ulusaba’s Conservation Manager, Trevor Savage, about his tips for superior safari shots.

Listen and observe before you snap:

Your guides will be experts in animal behaviour so spend the first day of your trip listening to their tips and observing the animals. Soon, you’ll start to recognise the tell-tale signs of a yawn or roar and be ready to snap the local wildlife in all their natural glory.

Use the two-thirds rule:

The endless plains are perfect for capturing photographs of sunrises and sunsets. If you’re using your iPhone the best way to truly illustrate the extraordinary colours and shapes in the sky is to frame your photograph to show one-third ground and two-thirds sky. When using a camera the settings I recommend at these times of day are a low ISO and an F stop of F8.


Consider your subject matter:

Think about the animals you’re photographing; the bigger animals like Elephants can be challenging because you need to decide between capturing detail using a very tight crop or a wide angle so that you can capture natural behaviour like drinking at a waterhole.

Take advantage of the ‘golden hour’:

Make the most of your game drives during the soft morning and evening light as at this time of day, the light falls directly on your subject and backgrounds are softer. Beginners can create amazing quality photographs at this time of day as the neutral background makes the animals appear even more vibrant and alert in their natural habitat. During the daytime, the sun creates shadows and bright backgrounds which can lead to images being over exposed.

See Also

Visit in winter:

If you’re looking to capture the night sky then I recommend visiting in the winter months; the clear skies offer unrivalled opportunities for some stunning photography. I recommend using a wide angle lens on a tripod; set your focus to infinity and leave your shutter open for approximately 25-30 seconds. Be prepared though as this really requires patience!

Ulusaba is also offering a spectacular special this winter – stay 4 nights or more before 30th September 2017 and receive your final night for free. For more information visit the Virgin Limited Edition website.

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