But before I share the video with you, I thought I would tell you my favorite part of the trip, some recommendations for those of you who might be doing a photo safari one day, and even my workflow for the trip.
I am going to start with the number one question from everyone when I returned back home. They all wanted to know, what was the best part of the trip?
At first it was difficult to come up with a single thing, since everything exceeded my expectations.
My first thoughts were:
* Some of the amazing animal sightings
* The people in our group who all got along so well
* Meeting the friendly people who live in the area
* Visiting and donating to a local orphanage
* The luxurious tents
* Some of the best soup I have ever had
* The drivers and guides who were not only knowledgable but became part of the family
But after taking some time to let it all sink in, it occurred to me that the best part of the trip was the simplicity of life in Africa. The people who live in Tanzania have very little, but are very happy. I found that 2 weeks of no television, no radio, no news coverage and limited cell phone usage was what I liked the most. And this is coming from me, the man who loves technology. It was so great to be unplugged!
There were many times when I could have plugged in my earphones and listened to music from my iPhone, but I chose to listen to the sounds around me. Not being distracted by the world back home, I could truly focus in on the amazing subjects we photographed every day. And there were times when I would put the camera down and just soak up the sites around me.
Before leaving for this trip, I was a little hesitant about staying in tents for this length of time, with minimal power and showers that had to be filled by the workers. But as it turned out, the tents were my favorite places to stay. It was definitely "glamping" and then some, with flushing toilets and outstanding meals. Staying in these tents made me feel more connected to the surroundings. If I had the choice to stay in the Four Seasons or a tent, I would take the tent any day.
People have also asked me what was the most surprising thing I saw, and I think it was the Maasai boys with their faces painted. I saw this on the first day of our trip and wondered why some of the younger Maasai boys had their faces painted. It turns out that these boys are circumcised at the age of 13 with no anesthetics, and are not aloud to scream or make any noises. And they do this to some of the girls as well. Yikes!
After posting many photos on Instagram and Facebook, I had many people write to me asking if 400mm was a long enough focal length for the trip. And I think that it is. Here is the equipment that I took with me:
* Two DSLR cameras (Canon 1Dx and Canon 5D Mark III)
* Canon 100-400mm zoom lens which I used for almost all of my photos
* Canon 24-70mm lens for any of the wide shots
* Canon 16-35mm lens which I brought for landscape shots and long night shots of the sky but rarely used this lens. We did not have very many clear nights.
* Extra batteries for both cameras (total of two for each) - I could recharge in the vehicles or in the tents. They always had a recharging station for everyone.
* Thinktank Streetwalker backpack for all my camera gear
* A Gitzo travel tripod for night shots and slow shutter photos
* Macbook Pro with Photo Mechanic and Photoshop
* Lots of memory cards - I had many Lexar 128GB Professional CF cards, since I did not want to format any of them until I got home and backed everything up
* A Lexar Dual Slot USB 3.0 card reader
* A couple of portable SSD units to back up my images
* An Arctic Butterfly sensor cleaner to periodically clean my camera's sensor.
* Tiffen Digital HT UV filters for protection
* Tiffen HT circular polarizing filters for some of the landscape and water shots
And for clothing, I brought:
* Three pair of lightweight safari pants (two of which could convert to shorts) and light weight shirts. I bought these at Bass Pro Shop for a very reasonable price. Almost every place can do laundry (and for very little money), so it is easy to pack light and just clean there.
* A couple of hats, since I don't have much hair to protect my head!
* Two pair of shoes - tennis shoes would be fine since you spend most of the time in the vehicle
As for meds, the only thing I had to take was one malaria pill each day. We never really saw any mosquitoes, but I took the pills to be safe. That was the only requirement for the trip. No shots were needed for Tanzania.
As for my daily workflow, here is what I would do each evening:
* Download my cards to my Mac laptop
* Cull through my photos to delete the duplicates and rejects (to stay efficient and save room)
* Rename the photos
* Edit a couple of my favorites to post to social media
* Backup to portable SSD
* Backup again to the second SSD
* Reuse the same memory card if it has a lot of free space or change it out if it was close to full
Well folks, the blog of this safari may be done, but these memories will stay with me forever.
And now - the video!!
Click the image to view the video larger on YouTube.
For those of you who missed this amazing opportunity, we are going to do this amazing safari again next year...check out the site HERE to sign up for the 2017 trip! We have a limit of 12 people.
If you are interested in purchasing any camera equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.
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