Most modern cameras that you will be using to take your wildlife photos will have a dial showing the modes you can shoot in and if you are the owner of a DSLR camera or you are planning on renting one when you arrive in the country, you need to come to grips with the various modes and find the one that will best suit your wildlife photography experience.
For most photographers, there is a specific mode that they prefer because it helps them to achieve a certain signature look with their images. But when you are out in the bush, you might have to get creative and really think on your feet. Out in the wild, things happen faster than you could imagine and while you can be taught plenty when you are out on a photographic safari, what will really help you to make the most of your photographic journey will be to have some sort of understanding about the 3 most popular photography modes.
The aperture on your camera is determined by the lens that you shoot with and will often be described as either a wide aperture or a narrow aperture. To understand aperture the easy way, it is basically going to determine how much of your background is blurred.
When shooting in aperture mode, you only have to set the aperture. The camera will use an automatic function to determine your shutter speed and your ISO, which makes aperture mode a perfect fit when you are shooting in lighting conditions that are quickly changing. With this mode, you don’t have to worry about fiddling around with settings and taking test shots to see if the light is right.
Aperture is also great if you or your subject is moving in and out of shaded areas. This mode is ideal for your still photos as well (think lazy lions chilling in the shade).
This mode is certainly the least popular of the three but it has its place. The reason it is not a go to for most is because the results vary from one shot to the next to such an extent that your range of images just won’t look the same once you are done shooting. With this mode, you will have full control over the camera shutter speed, while your ISO and your aperture will be determined by the camera.
Ideally, you will use this mode for your fast scenes, such as birds taking flight. With the shutter speed priority, you will be able to “stop” birds mid-flight in your image and capture something memorable.
If you have been in the photo world a while, you will probably have heard that manual mode is the best for all occasions. When working with this mode, you will be able to decide every setting on your camera and this means you will be able to have more control over the final look of your photos.
The downside to manual mode is that you will need to be very familiar with your camera and quick on your feet. If you are new to photography, and you want to get the best selection of photos from your Africa photo safari, you might want to rather stick to either of the other two options.