My first recommendation refers to behaviour. Imagine yourself sitting in a cosy, hidden corner of your garden, enjoying a relaxed sunday afternoon, having coffee and some inspiring conversation with your family. It could also be a normal working day, piles of work still have to be done, you are plodding, cursing and sweating, the day seems to be never-ending. Or you're dedicating yourself with ardency to housework, personal hygiene, your childrens education, a refreshing after-lunch nap or sheer idleness. Normal situations, private situations that are taking place all over the world day by day.

Suddenly you are dazzled by a tremendous popping of flashbulbs, a lot of strangers from even stranger countries attack on your privacy, capturing your life on films and memory sticks, highly excited and delighted but without noticing, appreciating or respecting the subject - YOU. That's a real vision of horror, but unfortunately it happens.

There is only one notable difference: more than likely you are the committer, not the victim! You think, I'm a fine one to talk, because I also took a lot of pictures of people? Yes, I did, but I also have some justifications on hand. The weakest one is that some "objects" of my desire, politely asked for their permission, tried to make me pay up. I paid these claims only twice. In all other cases I resigned to take the desiderated photos. A lot of pictures came into being from ambush. Thanks to my equipment I'm in the happy position to act from greater distances without accosting or bothering somebody. My best justification certainly is simple conversation. Committer and victim, photographer and subject get to know each other and become individual persons for each other. Thus pressing the release, previously considered as an affront, as an act of impertinence can become something very different: a gesture of friendship and genuine interest.

Quintessence of my experiences: try to respect your human subjects as sensitive individuals. Give preference to a face-to-face contact, ask for permission, accept every refusal and stand aside from any unfair snapshots, which could leave a stale taste in your mouth...

My second recommendation concerns equipment. Again and yet again I catch sight of people touring the most beautiful countries, the most interesting national parks, natures horn of plenty pouring over their heads - and they are equipped with simply laughable cameras. A stately lion, king of the jungle, shrinks and becomes a sandy spot, that can hardly be surmised. Tall giraffes transform into fuzzy branches, heavy hippos merge with the water they are swimming in. A real pity! Some other tourists lug heavy camera cases around, including several lenses, filters, tripod and monopod. And they are not able to get a real good shot because equipment requires their whole attention. A real pitty, too!

It's up to you! Would you rather prefer to ply, screw, gauge without viewing with your very eyes than to experience, enjoy, witness at first hand and take pictures without getting lost in your equipment? So get yourself a reflex camera and a high-quality lens (e. g. 28-200 mm, autofocus), take along enough films (a bounteous memory stick) and one or two filters. For the rest just rely on your eyes and your talent, put your finger on the release, enjoy your huntig fever and sort out the results pitiless when you are back home again. You will be over the moon about your fantastic photos and the things you have seen on your safari, that's for sure!

With this in mind I wish you great success, a lot of fun and Safari Njema.

No matter if you are a professional photographer, an optical savourer or just of dissenting opinion, don't hesitate to share your experiences either in my visitors book or by mail.