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Thread: Film on Safari

  1. #1
    mooseontheloose's Avatar
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    Film on Safari

    Am in the beginning stages of planning an extended trip to Africa, ideally next year (either Feb/Mar or Aug/Sept). At the moment my main focus is on South Africa and Namibia, although I'm well aware of the possibilities further north and east. As I am more of a generalist-type photographer, I hope to be able to see and photograph a mix of things while I'm there, although probably the two most important elements would be wildlife and landscapes. I love the idea of going there with my Bronica and shooting black and white film there like Nick Brandt, but the reality is that I could not afford the private guides and drivers to undertake such a proposition, nor am I the photographer he is.

    In all likelihood I'll be travelling by myself, so at the moment I'm trying to figure out how feasible it would be to do a trip that would be photographically rewarding (I don't just mean time of year/location but also being able to access the right light in the right places without breaking the bank), and that would be doable in an all-film capacity. The former is more of a problem of finances and compromises when joining a group tour, the latter more about strict weight limits on airlines and being able to bring enough film to cover what I want to photograph over 1-2 months. Most websites recommend ditching the film camera for digital, and I understand that for this kind of location/trip, but I don't want to do that for obvious reasons. Regardless, I would likely have to invest in better (and longer) lenses, so that's where most of my photo money would be going in any event.

    Anyway, I'm just curious if there's anyone out there who's done a photographer-friendly trip out that way (doesn't necessarily have to be South Africa/Namibia) with film, and if they have any suggestions about doing the kind of trip I'm proposing.

    FWIW, the film cameras I'm most likely to take are my Nikon (F100) with either a second identical body or the Bronica. I know it's more cumbersome but I would really prefer the larger negative, and I'm not necessarily out there to shoot exactly the same kind of shots that everyone else gets.
    Rachelle

    My favorite thing is to go where I've never been. D. Arbus

  2. #2
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    Rachelle- just a general caution, not specifically photo related. I don't know about specific security concerns in Namibia (my very vague sense is that it's pretty safe overall), but I would be very wary of traveling alone as a female in South Africa. South Africa's big cities have some VERY dangerous areas and as an outsider it is very hard to tell when you're going from garden variety poor/working-class to Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. If you are not joining a group tour, with all the compromises that entails, I'd seek out some of our South African members and see if they can meet you and play tourguide for a day or two.

  3. #3
    mooseontheloose's Avatar
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    Thanks Scott -- that's a concern of mine as well. I'm not a huge fan of group tours but am thinking that that's what I'll probably do for a variety of reasons, not least being my own personal safety -- not just in the cities, but in the countryside as well. In any event, South Africa may or may not end up on the finalized destination list, but at the moment it's the country that started this entire proposed trip to begin with. That being said, I've travelled to nearly 30 countries on my own, and the only one I've ever felt any real discomfort in was the good ol' US of A.
    Rachelle

    My favorite thing is to go where I've never been. D. Arbus

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    I think you will be fine taking film (400 ASA) on the airlines particularily 120 as it is not metallic under the xray.
    I would suggest one format though, with a backup body.
    I totally sympathize with the larger negative of the 120, and if you can take a 250mm or better yet a 500mm (or a 2x tele adaptor) you will be able to crop to what would have been a 35mm neg anyways.
    Bean bag on the roof of the car. or put Arca swiss type plates on your cameras and long lenses with a quick release plate on The Pod
    http://www.thepod.ca/
    I emptied out the supplied filling and filled with lentils and left them in Africa and put the stuffing back in when I got home.
    Don't worry able film changes; you don't need 200 shots of the sleeping cheetah.
    Timing and country is wrong but
    http://www.infocustravel.com/
    In june is inexpensive, Photographically oriented and popular with females numerically.
    "There are a great many things I am in doubt about at the moment, and I should consider myself favoured if you would kindly enlighten me. Signed, Doubtful, off to Canada." (BJP 1914).

    Regards
    Bill

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    MattKing's Avatar
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    These guys gave a fascinating presentation at my photo club: http://www.safarilifeafrica.com/

    The experience may be quite different than what you are looking for Rachelle, but they seemed to have an excellent outlook and attitude.

    They also have a long term association with one of the members of my club, and as far as I am concerned, if he vouches for them, they are reliable.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2



 

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