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About firmin13

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  1. South Luangwa is a prime location for leopard, and by far not as crowded as the northern circuit in Tanzania. Staying in South Luangwa you've got (almost) a guarantee for al leopard if staying a few nights including some 'evening drives' (~1h after sunset). For leopards, it's one of the three places I'd go (Masai Mara, Okavango, SLNP). For extremely useful information on Luangwa visit tripadvisor! In Selous and Ruaha you can expect far less people than in the north, as well. If you are lucky, you might see a leopard (we were lucky in Selous, saw wild dogs as well). In Ruaha we had lions in large numbers and I love it for the scenery. Staying in South Luangwa you've got (almost) a guarantee for al leopard if staying a few nights including some 'evening drives' (~1h after sunset). For leopards, it's one of the three places I'd go (Masai Mara, Okavango, SLNP). For extremely useful information on Luangwa visit tripadvisor! In general, budget prices attract people, understandably, so it's not easy for most, without pushing the limits.
  2. Back from Bots in February, a very good (rainy) rain season this year. Bugs are a bit more than during the dry season. It's much less than I witnessed in June in BC, Canada. Can't comment on ZIM from experience, but Hwange is very close to where we've been (Khwai River, highly recommended with stunning wildlife sightings) If you know that region in the dry and you want to see and photograph the animals in front of a green background (or more precisely within, the grass gets in your way all the time) AND MOST IMPORTANT YOU DON'T CARE that you might get stuck, will probably get wet, may have days of overcast and will definitely see less animals, than go for it. If you are planning to Nxai Pan, think about going to CKGR as well. Instead of camps you could consider a mobile safari to reduce cost (works for a couple), but if you're travelling single, you have to do the math. There are different offers, starting with participation and ending up with quite comfortable tents with en suite facilities
  3. Walking: best is ZIM, but it always depends a lot on the guiding. It's possible as well in South Luangwa and the private reserves near Kruger. For a boat trip it's Matusadona and the lower Zambezi (Mana Pools and Sambia). Camps with en suite toilets are available at all parks, ask for it with your travel agent. July to September is perfect. Depending on where you end up you'll probalby be surprised by the morning temperatures on a game drive vehicle ... Only the driver in his shorts has a heater ... The best months are depending on the NP you choose and your taste, or 'target animal'. For a first timer I would recommend Kruger and the private reserves on its west, but no boating, as far as I know. I travelled from there to Hluhluwe Park and stayed on that way at Pongola where I did some boating. South Luangwa is a bit of either, I combined that with Mana Pools: flight to Lusaka and hours by car to the border crossing at Chirundu (swift service there) ... If you really want to go to ZIM, you can fly into Harare or VicFalls. If you choose Harare you can go to Matopos Hills (good Rhino), Hwange and VicFalls (ie Zambia, if you like) by car (tar). Matusadona is possible as well, but it's a long way and the road is bad.
  4. For a first time safari I recommend NOT to opt for the green season; it's common place that wheather is unpredictabel, but for southern africa you can rely on the wheather during the winter months (July to Sept.), i.e. during high season. This February cars got stuck in the mud in the Kalahari and there have been weaks of predominantly overcast skies since end of december... If your out on the safari vehicle during a thunderstorm, you are going to get soaked despite the rain gear provided. Camps provide laundry service, but may rely on the sun for drying, so you may end up dressing damp clothes ... You'll see a lot more birds, esp. migratory, and witness a lot more mosquitos.. I would recommend not to visit too many countries during one trip, you'll spend a lot of time and money for transfer. You can have all or at least most of your 'wish list' in Bots, but at a price. Asked for advice where to go as a first timer, I recommend Timbavati and Sabi Sands bordering Kruger, but I can't comment on December. Hwange and Chobe are famous for elephant and are bordering each other, so I wouldn't go both places. After a long dry season you can see the effects of too many elephants on the vegetation, I doubt that is 'healed' already in december. If you are planning to fly between all your desired destinations it doesn't matter, but if you planning on going by car, Lower Zambezi NP and Kruger are a bit off. There's a good road connection from Harare to Matusadona, Hwange, Vic Falls (both sides) and on to Bots where you'll probably end up flying into the desired camps.
  5. Some general infos to guide you, what kind of computer to look for: At comparable 'speed' or 'power' a laptop or a mac will be more expensive, so best value for money is a windows desktop or tower. You do not need an expensive multicore chip, but the frequency it's running on matters. On my system lightroom uses 12 to 16 GB, much more beiing available; I'd recommend 16-16 GB RAM. Having the pics you're currently editing, lightroom (e.g.) and the system files on a SSD drive will enhance the speed a lot. For more detailed infos on as photo editing system you (or a friend who is familiar with computers and willing to help you choose) could read this: and
  6. Planning is finished. It's going to be Nxai Pan, a mobile safari in CKGR ending in Tau Pan, 4 nights Lagoon/Lebala, 3 Kwara and 4 Machaba. Still 5 month to wait ...
  7. We had good wild dog sightings in Puku Ridge and Tafika in September. Best time to see wild dogs is, when the pups are already big enough to leave the den and move with adults, but still not fit enough to travel distances. Later the dogs can cover pretty large areas, so its a hit or miss. At the beginning of the denning season, when the den is chosen and around birth, dogs try not to reveal the denning site and appear to be a bit skittish. For the time of the year, I'd try August/September. You didn't ask, but for the place I'd try Mana Pools im Zimbabwe.
  8. Thanks again for the input! Right now we think of Nxai Pan Camp followed by a mobile safari for CKGR. For the Linyanti region it probably will be Lagoon or Lebala, thanks for the info regarding L. Bush Camp. We're considering to go to Machaba and Kwara or Little Kwara as well ... Any comments on this?
  9. Thanks for your answers so far! We´re not yet decided whether to do a mobile or a lodge based safari with private vehicle. From your experience: How hot and wet can a mobile in CKGR and Nxai Pan get? Any recommendations for camps in Linyanti and Delta?
  10. Hello, we’re planning a 3 week trip to Botswana in February 2017 and need some advice. We’ve visited the neighbouring countries, but it’s the first time to Botswana, and it’s the first time travelling during the green season. Our focus is on photography and wildlife, especially predators not so easily to be seen like wild dogs and leopard. Up to now, our plan is to stay for 3 nights at Nxai pan, two nights at the Makgadikgadi salt pans, 5 nights in the CKGR and 4 nights in Linyanti region. We’re not sure where to go to in the Delta. We don’t want to visit Chobe and prefer land based activities rather than boating. Thanks for any help.
  11. Hi! Have a look at: See you, firmin13
  12. Do I get it right, you want to adjust your autofocus because of front/backfocus problems? use the link below to download a pdf, the lenscal user guide. You don't need the device, really, you can find diy charts on the web as well, or use a ruler,d.d24&cad=rja If this doesn't work, google 'how to use spyderlenscal', it's the first entry.
  13. Thanks for the appreciated comments on the TC! @peterconan: I totally agree on the importance of atmospheric conditions @soukous: with the new 2,8 400 the weight would be the same, but the price tag ... @@madaboutcheetah As you own the 4 500 you could as well have a look on the nikon 2 200 ... Similar price as the 2,8 300, a bit faster, a bit shorter and today the sharpest nikon lens ever :-)
  14. When I bought my 4 500 it wasn't yet tested either ... Considerung the 4 500 and the charts you mentioned, maybe DXO got a bad lens ??? The pixels of the D4 are simply bigger, so compared to the D800 there might be a bit more tolerance to camera shake or subtle movements (e.g. due to wind). I guess that could be an explanation for the difference between lab data and outdoor experience. Your last point is really interesting, as I don't know any Canon-owners I haven't heard about that before. That would be an interesting test in the lab! The most detrimental factor on my pics still isn't the lens but the guy behind the camera Btw, aside from Mansurovs tests, do you have experience with the 4 500 and any Nikon teleconverter?
  15. @@Peter, interesting link, thanks for that. First, you are right, an individually 'bad' lens could be the explanation, though - as fas as I know - Nikon primes don't have a record of beeing prone to such quality problems. I haven't done a test like Mansurov did, actually I shoot with the 4 500 and had the 400 2.8 only for a few test shots at a shop; I wouldn't make any judgement from that. Visiting many phtography forums and websites I got the strong impression of the 2,8 400 (old one) being one of the 'best lenses ever', and people not being much that much excited about the 4 500. But most important to me is the information from Their tests have a good reputation, and their observations parallel my own experience with other lenses I own. I have to add that I'm only considering sharpness and not the overall score, which is influenced strongly by the apperture of the lens, favouring the 1.4s to much for my taste. Mansurov's tests have IMO two shortcomings: first, I couldn't find a comparison of the 2,8 400 without a teleconverter to the 4 500. To me, that test would be interesting, especially when the difference in focal length is 'equalized' by cropping in LR. The second point I have are the little crops he shows. The exposure and/or white balance aren't identical, the pics look different in color and brightness to me. That may well be due to the different lenses, but I find it hard to judge sharpness that way. Finally, one might ask what I'm thinking of my own 4 500. I really like it, but I don't dare to rent the 2,8 400 to make the mentioned comparisons as I couldn't afford it anyway. The weight and handling is still ok for a shot without support when needed, but with that focal lenght you want to have any kind of support for a real crisp shot anyway, so IMO an even heavier lens isn't a problem. To summarize, I'm now older and wiser , and wouldn't buy the 4 500 but the 2,8 400 (old) or the 4 600.

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