Night Photography at African Waterholes

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Night Photography at African Waterholes

Postby AdamfromCanada » Fri Jun 05, 2009 4:25 pm

Hi all,

I'm heading to Southern Africa with the Dunes, Deltas & Falls (DCF) trip this August/September and I'm wondering about the attachments to bring for my camera.

I understand there will be an opportunity to see wildlife at night at a waterhole. Last year, I was on night cruises when I was in Borneo and managed some pretty cool pictures of birds and snakes from the boat, but we were able to get quite close which makes it a whole lot easier. So my question is, is there a value to bringing my external flash? Will it make a difference in the illumination level? Are the waterholes fairly well lit? And where do you watch from? In the boat? On a jetty? Off to the side somewhere?

Thanks for any help you can give!
Feel free to check out my travels on http://www.adammallonphotography.com
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Re: Night Photography at African Waterholes

Postby jimshu » Fri Jun 05, 2009 7:41 pm

That's a great trip Adam, and best time of year.Hopefully you'll see the bloom in Namarqualand which is a sight not to be missed and a great photo opportunity.
The wateringhole you will find at Etosha.You'll be camping there, and can walk a short distance to overlook the hole.
Here you'll find a photo of elephants at that wateringhole.
http://community.gapadventures.com/_Let ... 27957.html
You can tell which ellie is the male....if you look closely.
As for night time, the hole is floodlit, but at a low wattage so certainly not bright enough for photography.You'll need a very powerful flash capable of lighting subjects up to 50 metres away at least.
My night shot function was still disappointing..Got reasonable video with night function though.
But during the day,because the country has dried out a lot, the neverending traffic of animals around the watering hole is amazing .And you'll find plenty to shoot early morning and late afternoon, without missing much at night.
Rhinos, elephants, lions, giraffe ,zebra, kudu,impala et call there during the day.So you will not be too upset if night time shooting is not up to par.
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Re: Night Photography at African Waterholes

Postby AdamfromCanada » Mon Jun 08, 2009 10:45 am

jimshu wrote:That's a great trip Adam, and best time of year.Hopefully you'll see the bloom in Namarqualand which is a sight not to be missed and a great photo opportunity.
The wateringhole you will find at Etosha.You'll be camping there, and can walk a short distance to overlook the hole.
Here you'll find a photo of elephants at that wateringhole.
http://community.gapadventures.com/_Let ... 27957.html
You can tell which ellie is the male....if you look closely.
As for night time, the hole is floodlit, but at a low wattage so certainly not bright enough for photography.You'll need a very powerful flash capable of lighting subjects up to 50 metres away at least.
My night shot function was still disappointing..Got reasonable video with night function though.
But during the day,because the country has dried out a lot, the neverending traffic of animals around the watering hole is amazing .And you'll find plenty to shoot early morning and late afternoon, without missing much at night.
Rhinos, elephants, lions, giraffe ,zebra, kudu,impala et call there during the day.So you will not be too upset if night time shooting is not up to par.


Thank you for the feedback. I'm not at all averse to putting the camera away for a bit and just enjoying the wildlife, which is what it sounds like I'll have to do. I can't see the external flash lighting that far (and if it did, I'd be afraid of startling the animals.)

Nice photo of the elephants!

The countdown is on until I leave...74 days now!
Feel free to check out my travels on http://www.adammallonphotography.com
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Re: Night Photography at African Waterholes

Postby JaliscoJudy » Mon Jun 08, 2009 1:58 pm

AdamfromCanada wrote:...The countdown is on until I leave...74 days now!


If you like, you can get the GAP vacation countdown ticker for your posts here: http://www.gapadventures.com/cool_widgets
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Re: Night Photography at African Waterholes

Postby virgogirl22 » Fri Jun 12, 2009 2:21 pm

Hi there,

I went on that trip in November and spent hours hanging out at the Okaukuejo watering hole at Etosha. The animals just go about their business despite the lighting, and we were lucky enough to see not only tons of elephants, zebras, etc. but also eight black rhinos at the watering hole all at once. It was incredible! Here's an example of the photos I took - not awesome, but not bad either. This is obviously without a flash - the hole is too far from the benches to use a flash I think. Have an incredible trip, it's an amazing part of the world and I still say that those 6 weeks in Africa (Cape Town to Nairobi) was the best part of our trip around the world. I had a travel blog on the go if you want to see - lots of photos and stories. http://191saturdays.blogspot.com - Your portion of the trip was November and early December. Have fun!

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