The below discussion in the following paragraphs assumes that you are somewhat serious about wildlife photography. Of course, many people are not and a simple point and shoot camera will suffice. You may indeed get more out of simply watching the animals than trying to photograph them. Having a camera and feeling that you must use it at every opportunity may seriously interfere with your enjoyment of the experience.
To take good, close up pictures of wild animals, you will need a telephoto lens. Regular fixed lens cameras and even many of the newer ones with smaller zoom lens will prove to be inadequate in many situations. If you have a 35mm single lens reflex camera (SLR), like most serious photographers, you will need a telephoto or zoom lens big enough to capture distant images and fill the frame with images of medium distances. A 300 mm lens at the minimum will accomplish this. Two different lenses should be adequate for your safari: a telephoto lens 300 mm or greater and a smaller lens that is standard on most cameras for landscape and portrait type pictures.
Using a telephoto lens is often the best way to capture the most compelling wildlife photos. If you have an SLR camera but purchasing a telephoto lens is not in your budget, or you think your safari might be the only time you’ll ever need one, you might consider renting a lens instead. There are quite a few places offering lenses for rent, but one of our favorites is an online store called LensPro ToGo. The owner Paul Friedman is very helpful and friendly, and their prices are competitive. LensPro ToGo will FedEx you the lens to you almost anywhere in the United States, and they provide prepaid shipping labels and packaging so you can easily FedEx the lens back to them when you are done.
Carry twice as much film as you think you will use and extra batteries. If you are using a digital camera, make sure to bring extra batteries, compact flash/memory cards and your charger with the appropriate adapter. It would also be a good idea to bring along a laptop to download your pictures and clear your cards. Film is fairly common at lodges but camera batteries are harder to find. Many photo worthy moments will happen in lower light conditions such as the early morning and late afternoon. Low light conditions combined with the fact you might be using a telephoto lens, makes it a good idea to shoot with higher speed film such as 400 ISO.
The majority of the pictures you see on our website were taken with either a 300 mm telephoto lens or a 28-90 mm lens for landscapes and portraits on the Canon Digital Rebel SLR.
Please be aware that many of the lodges in Tanzania do not operate their electricity generators 24 hours a day. See the ‘Electrical Appliances’ section for further information.
You should not take pictures of people without asking your driver guide for his advice. Your driver guide knows a great deal about the various tribes and their customs and traditions. Please ask him to teach you about these matters.
For some great photo tips from our Safari Specialist Dawn, take a peek at this ADS Blog post she wrote offering our guests some insight into taking the best shots possible! Dawn's Photography Equipment & Tips
Also be sure to visit our Pinterest board that archives our top ADS guest wildlife shots: Top Wildlife Pics Shot by ADS Guests