My family recently returned from an amazing trip to Tanzania, and you better believe my dad and I had a blast capturing every wild moment! I’d love to share some of my favorite images and share a little about my gear choices for the trip (you’ll find this after the image galleries). But first, an announcement! When you head to my home page you’ll see something new: a fine art link. I’m making select travel and urban images available for purchase in larger print sizes and panoramic prints, metal prints (my favorite!), ready-to-hang canvas, and greeting cards. I’m always happy to consult about decorating with photographs, so please don’t hesitate to email me if you’re considering a fine art photography purchase.
Now, the galleries! Following are some of my favorite images from each area of Tanzania that we visited. Please note that some images are a bit graphic, showing both the start and the end of life. While I find the cycle of life in the wild beautiful, others may not.
Our first game drive on the way to the first lodge was through Lake Manyara, a lush area that baboons adore.
Tarangire National Park is known for its elephants, and we saw plenty. We stayed at a wonderfully welcoming lodge called Chem Chem, which holds a special place in my memory because so many of my favorite animal – the warthog – live on and around the property. How an animal can be so ugly and so cute at the same time is baffling.
I don’t think we went one minute in the Ngorongoro Crater without seeing an impressive animal. My mother was especially excited to see a Kori Bustard looking for a mate – the male puffs up his feathers, looking like he’s donned an opera costume to impress a female. He also makes a deep call that sounds like a low drum beat to attract her attention. I was too enthralled by the show to capture video, but my mom does a pretty great impression.
One night in my &Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas tent, I could have sworn it was raining quite hard. When I peeked outside, I realized that the wildebeest migration was making the thunderous sounds! We were lucky enough to see many of the migrating animals calving, something I’ve dreamed of witnessing for a long time.
Northern Serengeti – Grumeti Reserve
Despite rainy weather, we were able to get up in a hot air balloon to see the animals and landscape from above while staying at Faru Faru. The patterns created during this interplay of flora and fauna make for very different types of safari images. My brother took hold of my Sony during this leg of the trip, and captured a fun black and white shot of my father and me with our cameras. I think he may have finally caught photography fever! One of my very last photo safari captures was of a line of safari ants, with our amazing guide Matthew showing them off. We were so lucky to have knowledgable, interesting guides from all kinds of backgrounds leading us on our game drives. Thank you to all the people that made our trip so memorable!
Traveling within Tanzania in our case required small planes with packing weight restrictions. Knowing that my ideal camera bag would take up the full 33 pound limit, I had to make tough decisions. Luckily, memory cards weigh next to nothing so I was able to bring more than enough, but the cameras and lenses posed the heavy problems. While a 600mm lens would be fabulous for extreme close-ups of a leopard’s glowing eyes, that simply was not feasible for me. Renting and lugging such a heavy lens did not make sense (especially because I needed to carry clothing and day-to-day necessities!). Instead, I brought my favorite lens, the 70-200mm f/2.8. I added a 1.7x teleconverter (TC) for a total of 340mm to work with on my D700 with battery grip. This proved to be a great setup for me! The bokeh achieved with the addition of the TC is more linear than without the TC, but it is still nice and soft, with almost a crosshatch effect. For some wider shots and interiors (I captured every lodge/camp where we stayed as well as some family images, etc. but have not shared those here) I brought my Sony NEX-5T with 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6. Not ideal when I think of my ultra-wide and fisheye lenses that got left behind, but I find that the little Sony does a nice job overall. If I had more weight to play with, my D3X would have made the trip with the 10-24mm f/3.5-5.6, but alas…
That about wraps it up! I hope you enjoyed the images. If you’re a photographer planning a trip I’d be happy to chat about my experiences with photo safari. Just shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!