Heading out on Safari

What could be better than spending eight days climbing the tallest mountain in Africa? Spending 5-days driving to and camping in two national wildlife parks, and going to the bottom of the world’s largest intact volcano crater! All while seeing herds of elephants, prides of lions, black rhinos, and all the other amazing wildlife that Africa has to offer. To top it all off, we are visiting during calving season!

1) Tarangire National Park 2) Serengeti National Park 3)  Ngorongoro  Crater

1) Tarangire National Park 2) Serengeti National Park 3) Ngorongoro Crater

Tarangire National Park

We will depart Moshi and head to the Narangire National Park. This park is the sixth largest national park in Tanzania, covering approximately 1,100 square miles. The park is named in honor of the Tarangire River that runs through it. This river is the primary source of fresh water for the variety of native wildlife during the dry season. After the Serengeti, Tarangire has the greatest concentration of wildlife in Tanzania.

The park is a game controlled area, so the wildlife moves freely through the park. This will give us greater visibility. We expect to see and photograph large herds of elephants, wildebeests, zebra, buffalo, impala, gazelle, antelope,  lions, leopards, and so much more.  Tarangire also known for its Baobab and Acacia trees, and its views of the Masaai Steppe.

We will spend the night inside the park at the Maramboi Tent camp. We have been promised stunning views of grasslands, and palm lined desert between the Tarangire and Manyara Lake along with animals grazing in the distance.


Central Serengeti

We depart from Narangire, heading out on a 4-to-5 hour drive to the Serengeti National Park. This park is Africa’s most famous wildlife park.  It is also one of the largest wildlife sanctuaries on the planet. The annual wildebeest migration through the Serengeti and the Masai Mara is the largest mass movement of land mammals on the planet, with more than a million animals following the rains.

I am most excited about the large prides of lions, elephants, giraffes, and gazelle. Just as exciting to me is that we will be visiting during calving seasons, so we should see plenty of newly born animals. There are over 500 varieties of bird and, while not a prime attraction, there are over 100 types of dung beetle.

We will be staying in the Kati Kati Mobile tent camp for two nights inside the park, and expect views of the vast Serengeti Plains. We will be visiting the Olduvai Gorge, and witness game drives.


Ngorongoro Crater

We will depart our Serengeti camp and head back down to the Ngorongoro Crater which lies between the Serengeti and the Lake Manyara National Parks. This is the world’s largest, inactive, intact and unfilled volcanic caldera. The volcano exploded and collapsed on itself 2-3 million years ago.  It is 2,000 feet deep, and the floor covers 100 square miles.

We anticipate seeing much of the same wildlife as in the other parks. I am most excited to see black rhinos, also known as the hook-lipped rhino.  They are native to eastern and southern Africa. This species of rhino are critically endangered, out of the three subspecies, one including the western black rhinoceros, were declared extinct in 2011. If you want to find out more, visit Save the Rhino for more information.

We will be spending the day driving to the bottom of this massive wonder, exploring and taking pictures.

We will be camping on the rim of the volcano at Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge. With views of the crater floor, 2,000 feet below.


Additional Safari Camera Gear

Because of the types of photos that I am going to want to try to capture, I will need to bring some additional gear and lenses that will not be going with me up Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Manfrotto BeFree Tripod

SIGMA AF 150-600mm – Telephoto lese will get me up close and personal with more wildlife.

SIGMA 1.4x Teleconverter – Not sure how much this will get used, but will make get me to ~1200mm. Doubling the reach of the Sigma 150-600 lens alone.

TAMRON 10-24mm – The wide angle will give me wider shot, without having to stich photos together in post processing.

Nikon 35mm – F-stop of 1.8 will give me more options for low-light or night shots.

Kinesis SafariSack 4.2 – This will be used to support and steady the camera while we are traveling in vehicles or if I need to prop the camera on the ground.

Altura Phot Pro Rain Cover – Not sure if I will need this, but just in case I am out in the rain trying to get an image.

Nikon D5200 – this will be my backup and secondary camera, just in case something goes wrong with my D500 I will have a backup that is compatible will all my lenses.


The Safari is going to be an amazing.  Being able to be so close to the wildlife is going to be a once in a lifetime experience. I am planning and preparing for the photos I want to take now, so when we are there I will have an even better chance of capturing some of those moments.


Come back Thursday for: Never Stop Learning (Photography) 


Weekend Photos

This weekend we went hiking in the Tillamook State Forest with the typical fall weather in the Pacific Northwest of cold, rain, and fog. Overall, the weather was just about perfect for me. While expected, the lack of light at this time of year can be especially frustrating when trying to take a great photo.

When I go on a hike, I try to plan what types of pictures I want to try to capture, or a skill that I want to focus on. For this 8-mile hike, I was looking for some compositions, with fall colors, and fog. Out of all the pictures, I really liked the two I have posted below.  Two things that I took away from reviewing my shots is I need to get my tripod out more often, and need to be more mindful of when to get out a filter.

The first photo highlights trees and fog. It demonstrates the detail on the trees in the foreground, with the fog rolling over the forest in the background. You get a sense of the scale of the forest. This picture represents the mood in the forest during the hike, it was very quiet, and you could hear the rain gently hitting the forest floor.

34mm, 1/200 f/9.0, ISO 200, Handheld

34mm, 1/200 f/9.0, ISO 200, Handheld


The second photo highlights fall colors.  This seems to be a pretty standard fall picture. I enjoy this composition, with the different colors and the pop of the yellow. I do wish I had the polarizer on to cut down on the glare reflecting off the water.

50mm, 1/80 sec f/9.0, ISO 2200, Handheld

50mm, 1/80 sec f/9.0, ISO 2200, Handheld