An Amazing Workshop in Africa


While not being known as a wildlife photographer, I do know how to work a camera and point it at something beautiful, and Africa is replete with beauty. Along with my wonderful friend and fellow Nikon Ambassador Tamara Lackey, we recently taught two photo safaris in Kenya and Uganda. Given Tamara and I, they were not utterly orchestrated to the tune of wildlife photography, though there was that in abundance. We also did portraits, lighting, and PhotoShop instruction, along with general camera skills, and critique sessions. It was a very exciting and full couple of weeks!

Posted some pics on social media and had some questions on the equipment so wanted to share some of the technical notes of the gear I used.

Cameras: Nikon Z 9 or Nikon Z 8

Lenses: Nikkor 800mm f/6.3, Nikkor 100-400 f/4.5-5.6, Nikkor Z 24-120 f/4 S

Flash Portraits were taken with the Profoto A2, and the Clic Softbox Octa with a Soft Grid

Memory Cards: OWC Atlas Ultra, 650GB, 325GB

I put the gear through hell, with dust and knocking about, and it stayed the course. I used the Z 9/Z 8 sensor cleaning function, which I’ve never really used much before (Thank you, Tamara!) and it works. I’ve also started using the OWC cards, and very happy I did. I shot a ton in Africa (Z 9, raw at 20fps) and these cards were super dependable, and fast. Coupled with the OWC reader, with its built in USB-C cord, downloading was like lightning.

Our arranging in Africa was directed by Maurice Oketch of Simba Marara Tours, whose contacts on the ground worked extremely well. The guides in particular, were keen eyed to the point of having radar. I was sitting next to Matthew, a very experienced game spotter, so Mr. City Kid thought he’d chip in. It was dusk and I saw something moving, quickly, and low to the ground, in the distance. “Matthew,” I said, “Is that a warthog?” He smiled indulgently. “No, Joe, that’s a motorcycle. I can tell because it’s running without its tail up, like a warthog would.”

Beautiful people.

Beautiful scenes.

I’ve been to Africa numerous times, but this was the first time, really, I was able to simply dwell in the magnificence of the place. It won’t be the last.

And…home now, but another adventure in the wild looms in a few months with the intrepid Tamara Lackey that will feature birds, wildlife, rain forests, scenics, portraiture – Costa Rica – The Coast to the Clouds. We only have one spot left now and it’s definitely a trip not to miss!

More tk…

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