Any wildlife photography adventure, especially one that takes you into the wilderness of Africa, can be an exhilarating and challenging experience. But the harsh summer sunlight, which is prevalent in many regions of Africa, poses a unique set of challenges for capturing that perfect shot.
For aspiring wildlife photographers going on an African photo safari, having some tips and tricks will allow you to use the intense sunlight to your advantage and create stunning images that put the beauty of the animal kingdom on full display.
Here are some helpful tips that you can use on your next Africa photographic safari:
The harsh midday sun can cast strong shadows and create harsh contrasts in your photographs. When you instead choose the golden hours around sunrise and sunset when the sun is lower in the sky, casting a warm, soft glow on the landscape, to take your photos you can reduce the harshness of overhead sunlight.
Achieving the correct exposure is a must in harsh sunlight. You should experiment with your exposure compensation to avoid overexposure, especially when photographing light-coloured animals. To do this you can use your camera’s spot metering mode to measure the light on your subject specifically, ensuring that the details are well-preserved.
When dealing with intense overhead sunlight, shadows can become overly pronounced and this makes using fill flash to illuminate the shadows and reveal hidden details in your subjects really helpful. This technique is particularly effective when capturing wildlife portraits or when the sun is directly behind your subject.
Lens hoods were made to shoot in harsh lighting as they are designed to minimise lens flare caused by the harsh sunlight. Additionally, you can try using a circular polariser to reduce reflections and enhance the colour saturation. This should add some vibrancy to your wildlife photographs. You can also try using a tripod. This tool can provide stability and precision, especially during extended shooting sessions.
The harsh sunlight can make colours appear more saturated and textures more pronounced. You should make the most of these conditions to capture more intricately detailed shots of wildlife, emphasising the contrast between light and shadow.
The intense summer heat can heavily influence the behaviour of wildlife. Animals tend to seek shade or water to cool down, providing you with opportunities to capture unique moments but only if you are patient, take the time to observe their movements, and anticipate actions that can result in amazing photographs.
All photography is about the lighting and although summer sunlight can be intense, the harsh sunlight can create dramatic effects in your images. Silhouettes against a bright sky, animals illuminated by the warm glow of the sun, and shadows casting interesting patterns, lead to some of the best and most memorable photos.
For those passionate about wildlife photography, an Africa photo safari presents an unparalleled opportunity to capture the majesty of the continent’s diverse fauna. Whether you’re drawn to the iconic Big Five or the myriad bird species, an Africa photo safari offers an incredible experience.
Ready to go on the adventure of a lifetime? Book your Africa photo safari today and witness the raw power of the wildlife, explore breathtaking landscapes, and capture images that tell a story of nature at its most enchanting.