Capturing the sky at Lake Kariba

Changa Safari Camp • 4 August 2019

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This article first appeared as a Blog written by Changa Safari Camp.  The photos are by Neil Fairlie, Tracey Peacocke and Pam Preston.  Check out Neil's video of Changa Safari Camp on their Listings Page HERE

When you visit Lake Kariba, the sky seems bigger, the stars sparkle more and the depth and range of colours are just incredible. The trick is trying to capture this magnificence on your camera, which is often trickier that expected! When you come and visit Changa Safari Camp we know that you will be wowed by the sunrise and sunsets, so here are some helpful tips on photographing them.

Location, location, location
Whether you want to capture the sun reflecting on the Matusadona mountain range, the iconic fossilized trees of Kariba or a shimmering reflection of the sunrise, it’s important to choose the right spot. Our team and guides at Changa Safari Camp can advise you on where best to go. At Changa Safari Camp, you are welcome to moor your own boats, or book one of ours, giving you the flexibility to be where you want to be, when you want.

Rain or shine
Summer is our rainy season in Zimbabwe, and storm clouds add a dramatic layer to both sunrise and sunset. It is common for storms to build up during the heat of the day, and then there is a late afternoon thunderstorm complete with lightning strikes that crisscross the sky. Our storms tend to not last longer than an hour, with the sun quickly coming out once it is finished. The golden light of the sun against the grey clouds makes for magnificent photos. During winter, the skies are clear but can be hazy with the dust and bush fires. The haze on the horizon helps capture the last glow of the sun and contrasts with the silhouette of the land.

Let there be light
Did you know that the colour of the light changes with the temperature? The light at sunrise tends to be a cooler, blue light whilst the light during the warmer afternoon and sunset is a warmer, orange light. The different light situations mean you will need to adjust your camera settings to make the best of both. Don’t forget to bring your tripod – when there is less light available you will want a steady base and longer exposures.

Points of interest
Remember the golden rule of photography – the rule of thirds. Instead of putting the horizon exactly in the middle of your photography, aim for either two-thirds sky or two-thirds land – whichever is the more dramatic and interesting in that moment.

Patience is a virtue
Especially with sunrise and sunset, the light can literally change minute to minute and waiting is the name of the game. As the clouds and sun dance in different positions across the sky, so will the tones and hues change and light up different elements of interest. Thank goodness for digital cameras as now you can be creative, enjoy the moment and take lots of different photos as you work towards that picture-perfect shot.

At Changa Safari Camp, we are delighted to be able to offer guests the opportunity to work with a professional photographer – Neil Fairlie. Neil is one of the best wildlife photographers in Zimbabwe and will be able to accompany you during your stay. A native Zimbabwean, Neil Fairlie is a professional wildlife documentary filmmaker with a profound knowledge and deep respect for Africa and its wildlife.

His formal experience spans a decade, including the recent Netflix series Our Planet, but his intimate knowledge of the bush, natural instincts and his skill in capturing unique moments of animal behaviour on film make him a brilliant photographic safari guide.

He will show you how to most effectively set up your camera, get into the right positions and angles, and spend time with a subject in order to perfect that shot. 

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