It’s Official: Kenya African Wildlife Photography Trip

A few months ago we booked another trip to Africa.

It’s been something we’ve wanted to do again since our first life-changing visit in October of 2012.

This time we are heading to the Maasai Mara region of Kenya, for some incredible wildlife encounters on an eight-day private photographic safari.

We are again going into the wilderness with our friend and guide Mario Moreno.

Also a few months ago, I bought 400mm f/2.8 lens for wildlife photography — actually, for this trip.  On the last trip, I took my 300/2.8, which was comfortably accommodated by my Lowepro Mini Trekker AW backpack.

Unfortunately, the 400/2.8 is a much larger lens, and the Mini Trekker AW cannot accommodate it.  Well, it can (barely), but there’s insufficient room for everything else I need.

In researching camera bags, I had two criteria:

  1. it had to accommodate the gear I need and want to take; and
  2. it had to be airline cabin-friendly.

I was pointed in the direction of the Lowepro Vertex 200 AW, and looked into this bag.  When I contacted Lowepro to enquire into whether it would accommodate a 400/2.8, I was told it would not.

Fortunately, that answer was wrong, as it very comfortably accommodates such a lens.

Today I headed into town with the lens and tried it out.  It was a perfect bag for my needs.

I brought it home and packed it with the gear I’m taking to Kenya:

  1. Canon EOS 5D Mark II;
  2. Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM;
  3. Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM;
  4. Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM;
  5. Canon Extender EF 1.4x II; and
  6. Canon Extender EF 2x II.

It all fits!

My 17″ MacBook Pro even fits into the laptop compartment, albeit somewhat snugly.  This means I will only need one bag, whereas last time I had a camera backpack and a laptop bag, which isn’t ideal when travelling internationally.

I am very pleased with the Lowepro Vertex 200 AW.  The build quality is excellent, as indeed it is with all Lowepro bags/cases I’ve owned; and the padding and straps in the waist area really make the fully-packed bag seem much lighter.

Here is a photo of the bag, packed with the bulk of the gear I’m taking to Kenya:

Lowepro Vertex 200 AW Packed for Africa

Lowepro Vertex 200 AW Packed for Africa

This bag will certainly make travelling internationally with bulky and heavy camera gear a much more pleasant experience.  It will also serve me well locally and on domestic trips, as since having the 400/2.8, I’ve not had a suitable method of carrying it.

I cannot wait for the Kenya trip, and to being in the wilderness for some incredible wildlife experiences.

Posted in Africa, Equipment, Outdoor Photography, Travel, Wildlife Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

It’s Worth Looking Back Through Your Archives

Last night I attended the Focus Photography 2014 Annual Awards with many photography friends and associates, and being in the company of such people and such images can often give one a bit of a kick-start.

While my photographic output in 2014 has been very low, after hearing the winner of one of the awards relating how the image had sat idle for many months after shooting it, I thought I’d look back at some of my own work and see if there was a hidden gem.

Sure enough, there was, and this image was it.

Streak

Streak

I shot this image towards the end of 2013, a year in which I had spent time photographing scenes in England and Israel, yet a year in which I had also found the time and inspiration to photograph my own city.

I don’t know how I didn’t recognise the potential of this image; it was completely overlooked in favour of other images I captured during the same shoot.

But today, looking through inspired and perhaps different eyes, I saw something that I had missed earlier, and here is the result of taking a second look.

Based on this experience, I would encourage all photographers to go back through their archives and just see what is there, waiting to be given the attention it deserves. I have found that after some time away, it’s possible to find a gem which for a long enough time was hidden in plain sight, or spotted once but since forgotten.

Posted in Cityscape Photography, Outdoor Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Moon Isn’t Made of Cheese

The night after I photographed the recent September moon during Waxing Gibbous phase, I headed out the following night and shot it again.

Here is a closer view of the moon’s craters during its Waxing Gibbous phase on 7 September, 2014.

Craters

Craters

In this more recent image (24 hours later), more of the moon was visible.

This time I’ve gone for a different composition, and focused more on the craters and shadow-laden edge of the moon.

Again I captured the moon with the longest focal length I have — 1,120mm — by stacking my 1.4x and 2x tele-converters onto my 400mm lens.

Posted in Night Photography, Outdoor Photography | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment