African dawns and dusks are uncontested as the most enchanting times of the day. In these fleeting moments, the indirect sunlight illuminates the land with a richer, warmer light, which makes for unbelievable photography. It is known as ‘magic hour’ to photographers and videographers, and something that people go to great lengths to capture.
Here are five top tips for mastering the magic hour while on safari:
1. Be aware of your surroundings
When you’re in the wild, you need to know what’s going on around you. Animals are more active at these coolers times of day. Make sure you have a good feel of the surrounding landscape. Not only is it safer, there may also be a fantastic photo opportunity behind you!
2. Use a wide aperture
This is the hole through which light travels. When you widen the aperture, more light streams in, which you often need to happen during dawn and dusk.
3. Adjust white balance.
Make sure that your camera isn’t set to default settings. This can neutralise the golden light. If you are using automatic settings, then its better to set your camera to ‘cloudy’.
4. Front lighting
Make sure your subject is facing the sun so that the camera can capture all the details. Otherwise you can use back lighting can create a picturesque silhouette.
5. Keep shooting
The light is going to change very quickly. Keep shooting and the light will change for you to give you varied shots.
Greg du Toit, Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013, is a master in working with low light. He has been working on photography tours in various nature reserves and wildlife parks in Africa since March 2008. A knowledgeable guide with exceptional insights, having lived in Africa his whole life, Du Toit has a lot of experience photographing African wildlife.
Greg will be staying with African Bush Camps at Somalisa Camp and Somalisa Acacia Camp in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe during February 2017. According to Du Toit, Hwange has some of the most incredible dawn and dusks and he will be working with guests during this time, taking them out early and staying out late to capture the ‘magic hour’ light. He will teach guests how to uncover the wildest of Africa and to tame it with the camera. Able to anticipate behavioural nuances, he can assist you to direct the set-up for the perfect shot.
Here are some of Greg du Toit’s best magic hour shots while on safari in Africa:
His complementary photographic lessons will teach guests staying at the camp key skills and methods for incredible wildlife and landscape photography, for which Du Toit is renowned. Greg defines this experience as a chance, “to teach photographic skills and increase photographic knowledge in an informal, fun and practical manner – thereby ensuring that guests maximise the full photographic potential of their safari.”
Some techniques you can expect to learn are:
-Camera setup: the best settings to have in place for different wildlife scenarios (aperture, shutter, ISO, white balance, exposure comp, metering, histograms, using a flash in wildlife photography, shooting in low light and more).
-Wildlife photography tips in the field: composition, achieving correct focus on moving wildlife.
-Macro photography tips in and around the camp: techniques and what to look for in macro-photography.
-Photo editing skills: looking at the photos you have taken on the day where Greg will offer critique on your own photos and how to edit them to get the final product.
-Evening presentations and question time: Greg will give a talk and possible presentation on some of the evenings, from his years of wildlife photography experiences.
African Bush Camps is a small African-based safari company that speaks of the art of offering an authentic safari experience. Highly qualified professional guides and naturalist enthusiasts are at hand to ensure an intimate journey through some of Africa’s most untamed areas.