May 3, 2006

On Safari in South West Africa

What Worked, and What Didn’t– especially what didn’t

Long Shadows. Namibia, April 2006 © by Michael Reichmann

Michael Reichmann of The Luminous Landscape has just returned from three weeks of shooting in South West Africa. As he usually does, he reports on the relative success or failure of his choice of equipment and his shooting.

What equipment to bring on a remote shoot is a topic of endless fascination and discussion among photographers. Pros with assistants can afford to bring cases of gear and choose the best possible tool for each particular shot. This is not the case for most everyone else, and so if one has several systems, and a large collection of lenses, the question of which ones to bring on a trip can produce some difficult choices. This is especially true when international travel is involved, and compounded when travel in small planes in remote regions is added to the equation.

A trip to Namibia and South Africa in late April, 2006 presented some unique challenges. I wanted to shoot medium format digital in two particular locations – one architectural and one landscape. I also needed 35mm format with long lenses for wildlife work as well as hand-held cultural photography. Because we would be flying a number of times between locations in small aircraft within Namibia (4 seat to 14 seat planes), and on also on nine separate international and domestic commercial flights within a three week period, packing lightly was imperative. No hard cases, for clothes or equipment, because they simply won’t fit in the tight luggage holds of small aircraft. Airlines can also be fussy about both the size and weight of carry-on, though they can also be very inconsistent in the application of their rules.

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