Madagascar Photography Tips

Mike and Alison Asplin

04 Sep 2013

Capturing the wildlife of madagascar on camera

We recently travelled to Madagascar with Natural World Safaris and as keen photographers, thought we would offer some of our personal photography tips. As we know, this is the kind of info that is always useful to know before you’re out in the field.

Our gear checklist

We are Nikon users so obviously the exact equipment you bring will be influenced by your personal choice of camera system. Here is what we took. 
  • Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VRII fast lens for wildlife
  • Nikon 18-200mm general purpose lens
  • Nikon TC14E II teleconverter for a little bit more reach. Didn’t use the x2 one I took.
  • Nikon 60mm Macro lens for small beasts
  • Compact camera that does panoramic shots as a lot of the scenery comes out much better

I rent lenses I don’t own from Lens Locker which enables me to choose specific lenses for a particular trip and is often a good value way of getting a high quality lenses to use.

Ultimately, the wildlife is so close, you don’t need anything more than 200mm unless you are into birding. 

Other bits of kit:
  • Monopod for added stability in low light
  • Some kind of bag to stop camera getting too wet
  • I use a belt kit and can recommend the ThinkTank 20V as you can get 70-200mm lens, teleconverters and hood in it.
  • If you use a rucksack then something like a dry sack to slip over it when you are out is useful.

Photography Tips:

  • Shoot in RAW not JPEG as you need the post processing ability.
  • In really poor light conditions for lemurs use centre weight metering and deliberately underexpose 1-2 stops.  This buys 2-4x shutter speed and you can recover the exposure on the computer (as long as you shoot RAW)
  • Shoot in high speed bursts to compensate for both low shutter speeds and twitchy subjects. Gives a lot of images to delete, but more chance of getting a good one.
  • For chameleons wait until both eye rotate forwards
  • For whale watching use focus area rather than point focusing as more chance of focusing on the whale than the waves.

Happy shooting! We hope you enjoy your trip as much as we did.

Please Note: All images used in this blog post are courtesy of Mike and Alison Asplin and are not to be used or reproduced elsewhere.


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Georgia B

11/11/2016 5:20 PM

How cool that wildlife is so close that you don't need anything more powerful than a 200mm lens! My dad goes on lots of business trips to Madagascar, and he's taking me along soon. I'm so excited for the photo opportunities, especially now that I know that the wildlife encounters will be so close and intimate!

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