Yawning Hippo, Lake Mburo
03/09/12Yawning Hippo, Lake Mburo
Before heading off to Uganda I spent a long time trying to decide what the best photographic kit would be given the various constraints (airplane hand luggage allowances, portering limits and anticipated range of subjects). So for what it is worth I will give my thoughts.
I took two camera bodies (Canon 7D's which have a 1.6x crop - makes my telephoto lenses longer but I lose out on my wide lenses). I took a 70-200mm f2.8 and a 24 - 70mm f2.8 (both Canon) - I took these on the gorilla treks and the majority of photographs of the gorillas and chimpanzees were taken with the 70-200mm lens. For each trek I hired a porter (I am not especially lazy but they are far less likely to fall over than me and by paying them we are helping to add monetary value to the priceless gorillas and their habitat) - the porter carried my gear in a rucksack and when we got close to the gorillas I took the gear out and fitted it to a black-rapid dual harness so I could have both lenses ready. This approach worked really well for the gorillas and they were in good light so I was able to keep ISO low and still maintain a fast enough shutter speed.
For general safari photographs a longer lens is invaluable - at least 500mm and a 1.4 and/or 2x teleconverter for last resort shots when you just can't get closer (mainly birds) - I took Big Bertha (300-800mm lens). I also took a compact camera (used a few times), tripod used a few times, bean bag (used extensively on vehicle and a monopod (didn't use). Plenty of cleaning materials and silica gel to keep gear dry. It all seemed to work for me. Quite a hefty weight and Sarah did well to carry it all for me.