SMART PHONE SAFARI – YES OR NO?

Since the ‘South African Covid-19 Lock Down’ started I have posted many wildlife images and videos on my social media channels.

I have also created a new blog and Facebook page for kids (and the young at heart) on which I post a daily Q&A with a wildlife picture (www.wildlife4kids.com | http://www.facebook.com/wildlife4children)

Thanks a lot for all the very positive response to all these posts.

Quite a few of my friends around the world have asked me if I could chat a bit about various wildlife photography topics in my videos and maybe answer questions from viewers.

So here is my first ‘Wildlife Photography Academy :-)’ video. Today’s topic is ‘Smart Phone Safari – yes or no?’

I hope you like it.

If you have ideas for future topics to cover, if you have any questions about photography in general, or wildlife photography in particular then I will try to talk about these in upcoming videos.

Just post your suggestions or questions in the comment section or send an email to christian@sperka.com.

PS: These occasional video posts will be in addition to my daily STAY-AT-HOME and LOCK-DOWN-SAFARI post 🙂

Smart Phone Safari …

It is often said that one ‘must’ have a decent camera with a reasonable long tele-focus lens, when going on safari.  However, while it is certainly an advantage to have such a camera, today a lot of people have very good smart phones (iPhones or Android-based) and prefer to travel light.

Here are five reasons why a smart phone safari can work …

1
Smart phones are very good when taking a wide angle picture (no pinching!). Focus on the beautiful scenery with wildlife in it and you will create some great memories. Zooming in on pictures (pinching) should be avoided as most smart phones only provide digital zoom (equivalent to picture cropping). It is best to take the picture ‘un-zoomed’ and crop it later. Some very advanced smartphone (eg iPhone 7+, 8+ and X) have a second tele-focus lens, which do provide optical zoom capability.


Picture: Elephants at Thanda Safari – iPhone 7+


Picture: White Rhino just after sunset at Thanda Safari – iPhone 7+


Picture: Giraffe at Thanda Safari – iPhone 7+

2
Smart phones are great in difficult light situations such as sunsets, sunrises and interesting cloud formations over beautiful scenery. These are  often easier to capture, than with a regular camera. Combined with a good ‘enhancement app’ like an excellent ‘Camera+ for iPhones’, amazing pictures can be created.


Pictures: Mganhla dam at Thanda Safari – iPhone 7+

3
Clip-on tele-focus lenses are available at very little cost and having such a lens will make it possible to get a good shot of far away targets (eg Lions, Birds). Binoculars can also serve as a tele-focus lens (make sure there is a small distance between the camera lens and the binoculars ocular, focusing first on the subject with your binos, before using your smartphone camera).


Picture:  iPhone 7+ with 12x telefocus clip-on lens


Picture: iPhone 7+ using binoculars as a telefocus lens


Picture as taken …


Picture once cropped …

This picture was taken with an iPhone 7+ and a 12x telefocus clip-on lens.

4
Smart phones are excellent at taking macro-shots. Anything from plants to small creatures can be captured very well. Make sure to check with your guide, if it is safe, to get close to any creatures.


Pictures: Splendid Locust – iPhone 7+ help ‘upside-down’ to get on eye-level 🙂


Pictures: Giant Snail- iPhone 7+ help ‘upside-down’ to get on eye-level 🙂

5
Private game reserves, such as Thanda Safari, are great for smart phone photography as one usually gets much closer to wildlife than in a national park. A professional and experienced guide knows exactly how close he can get safely to animals, to ensure a good picture. Get as close to eye-level with your picture subject and you will create some great shots.


Pictures: African Rock Phyton at Thanda Safari – iPhone 7+


Pictures: Elephants at Thanda Safari Lodge – iPhone 7+


Pictures: Lion at Thanda Safari – iPhone 7+


Pictures: Lion at Thanda Safari – iPhone 7+

If you have any questions about a Smart Phone Safari or Photo Safaris feel free to contact me directly (info@sperka.com).

For Thanda Safari guests – staying 2 nights or longer – I offer a 30 minute free ‘smart phone photography lesson’ (subject to availability). Session should to be booked well in advance. http://www.thanda.com/en-gb/experience/photography-at-thanda

All pictures in this post were created with an iPhone 6+ or iPhone 7+ with most being cropped.

#thandasafari #christiansperkaphotography #SmartPhoneSafari #iPhoneSafari

I personally work with Canon DSLRs, Apple iPhones and a DJI Phantom drone. #canonglobal #apple #djiglobal