Are you coming for a holiday to Tanzania and want to make the best use of your camera?
Atte Leskinen, a professional photographer came as a tourist to Tanzania in 2016 marking his first time to document African landscape and wildlife. He says, “I come from Järvenpää, Finland and the everyday life was so different compared to my native country. I instantly fell in love with Tanzania that has so many animals, birds, insects and other forms of life surrounding you all the time!”
Captivated by Atte’s style of photography, we were keen to learn more about clicking stunning pictures in Tanzania. In this exclusive interview, our featured expert of the month, Atte Leskinen (AL) shares useful photography tips for amateur and professional shutterbugs.
Kearselys: Which are some destinations you would recommend for photography in Tanzania?
AL: My advice would be to make it as long trip as you can afford .On my last trip I didn’t have the time to do more than 4 day safari that included Serengeti, Ngorongoro and Lake Manyara. It was so great but my itinerary was too tight. I would spend at least 3 days and 2 nights in Serengeti, one whole day in Ngorongoro and a day in Lake Manyara and the longer the better. Serengeti is just way too big to get enough of in 1 or 2 days, if you have been there I think you will agree with me.
Kearsleys: What camera and lens will you recommend for first time photographers?
AL: You don’t need the best and most expensive gear to start photography. Learning to use even the most basic gear well is way more important than having the best gear and not knowing how to get the best out of it.
The best tip for anyone starting without any experience with any certain camera manufacturer is to go to a store where you can handle and try out different models from different brands and go with the one that best fits in your hand.
I would choose between Canon, Nikon or Fuji.
Also buying used gear is a good way to try out cameras and lenses since if you don´t like it you can usually resell it without losing much money.
Kearsleys: How can one click nice landscape photos?
AL: Generally sunrise and sunset are the best as the sun is lower and the light is softer. Taking a photo really close to the ground or really high up looks good because we always see things from eye height, when the perspective changes it is usually more interesting.
How to get a perfect animal shot when my car is moving?
AL: Stop the car when you see an animal moving. You shouldn’t be trying to shoot from moving car unless there is absolutely no possibility to stop. Like in all situations you should be using manual or at least semi manual settings on your camera to maximize your success percentage.
For fast moving subjects like animals, birds or sports you usually want to stop the action and that means using fast shutter speed.
For big birds and animals not moving lightning fast 1/500s should be enough for smaller birds and animals even shutter speed of 1/4000s is sometimes needed.
Kearsleys: How do you click photos in low light condition?
AL: For low light your best and sometimes only option is physical support meaning tripod, or a stable base that can hold the camera in place for several seconds. Like starry sky photos for example require usually at least 15 seconds of exposure time. Also good fast lenses and good camera helps.
A good fast lens doesn’t always mean the newest and most expensive either, most of my shots in Tanzania where shot on with a Canon 5D mk2 which is 10 years old already.
For some hand help photos at dark streets or markets you will need fast lenses, normally all manufacturers have so called prime lenses. Canon for example has the 50mm f1.8 lens which I can highly recommend for portraits and for hand held shots in bad lighting.
Kearsleys: Your personal tips on clicking pictures of animals in Tanzania
AL: Tanzania has more wild animals per square kilometer than any other country in Africa. Research their behavior before hand and know when, how and where to shoot. Or you can have a professional guide with you who knows this stuff for you.
To get good clear shots of animals and birds you will need a longer lens, preferably over 300mm.You will get the best shots when you get close to the animals and they are in their natural surroundings.
Kearsleys: How do I balance between enjoying my holiday and clicking pictures?
AL: That completely depends on personality. I personally shoot a lot and all the time. I carry one of my cameras with me almost everywhere and always. But like I said it is personal, so as long as you are enjoying it go for it!
Kearsleys: Your top 3 secrets that you would like to share with our readers for amazing shots
AL: Practice, practice and practice. Learn to take criticism, learn from it and use it to better yourself. Always shoot in RAW and post process your photos.
Kearsleys: What are your best editing apps for smart phones?
I don’t edit much on mobile but when I do I use Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. Also Snapseed and VSCO are good options for some easy and quick filters.
Do you have any specific query? Atte is always happy to help budding photographers.
If you are moved by these stunning images captured in Tanzania, it is about time to book your dream holiday. Kearselys Safari is waiting to hear from you.