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Rainforest Photography

Several challenges await the first-time photographer in an equatorial rainforest environment, and making sure of a few technical details can help you maximize your brief, precious time with the denizens of the jungle.

Luxury Congo Safaris - Gorilla Photography at Odzala

Select your camera's smallest focusing point (e.g. single point spot AF) so that you can focus between branches, on the subject's eye. If you select a larger focusing area, the abundant foliage will trick your camera's auto-focus system, and you'll get blurry shots.

Rainforest Photography Conditions - Luxury Odzala Safaris

Lens cap off, hood on. To avoid condensation (fogging) on your lens' surface, give it as much time as possible to adjust to the ambient temperature of the forest - don't store your equipment in an air-conditioned room and, at the start of each trek, take it out of the camera bag and remove the lens cap to expose the lens surface to the surrounding air. However, to shield the lens surface from branches, dew, and other debris as you walk, make sure that the lens hood is attached.

Lens cloth and face cloth. Fogging of your camera's viewfinder is also a problem, but is more easily remedied with a lens cloth - unlike the lens, wiping moisture off the viewfinder with a lens cloth with not negatively impact your images. Having a face cloth to wipe sweat from your brow will remove another source of moisture on the viewfinder.

Luxury Odzala Safaris - Rainforest and Wildlife Photography in the Congo

Camera off. If you are carrying your camera(s) outside a bag to prevent fogging, check all the settings before you start your trek, and then turn the camera(s) off until you are ready to start photographing. Branches will brush against the dials and buttons as you walk, and could change your camera settings, with potentially dire consequences when you start shooting.

Gorilla Photography in the Congo - Luxury Odzala Safaris

Set your lens to its widest aperture to let in as much light as possible. Shutter speed should be the inverse of the focal length of your lens (e.g. 1/300 for a 300mm lens) - adjust the ISO to achieve this. Full frame camera bodies have a significant advantage because of their ability to capture quality images at high ISO settings.

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