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Tell me your dumb photo mistakes on safari!


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43 replies to this topic

#21 JohnR

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Posted 11 November 2016 - 09:35 AM

On a trip to the air museum at RAF Duxford (UK) to photograph metal pigeons (Spitfires, etc) I set off with batteries fully charged. When I arrived on site I discovered they were nearly flat and I hadn't brought the in-car charger. 

 

It turned out I had left the camera switched on in the bag and it had turned upside down and rested on the shutter release. I had no spare batteries with me in my early days of digital photography so I learned several valuable lessons.

 

1) Switch the camera off when putting it away or in a bag, don't just rely on it going into standby mode.

2) Always have a full set of spare batteries.

3) Always take chargers when away from home including a car charger.


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What pays stays.
 

#22 Atdahl

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Posted 11 November 2016 - 03:54 PM

Well, it's good to know that I am not alone.  My biggest errors continue to be:

  1. Forgetting to change settings back (ISO, exposure compensation, removing filters after use, etc)
  2. Letting the excitement get the best of me and not checking the histogram to figure out #1 fast enough.

I have made the above two mistakes more than I care to admit and continue to do so unfortunately.  That, and a bunch of other reasons, is why photography is an expensive hobby and nothing more  :)

 

Of course I have done other stupid things too like:

  1. Knocking the camera off the hotel bed and breaking the only wide angle lens I had.  This was the day before a cruise in the Norwegian fjords so I had to scramble to find a camera shop in Bergen the next morning to buy a waaaaaay overpriced replacement lens.  I am now VERY careful about where cameras are left and make doubly sure straps aren't hanging down.
  2. Forgetting a battery charger on our first trip to Costa Rica.  Luckily, another guest at Bosque del Cabo had one and I was able to charge my battery multiple times thanks to them.  Since then I carry backup batteries and have a equipment checklist.  I have not repeated that mistake fortunately.
  3. Not checking my tripod before another trip to Costa Rica.  When I unpacked it I realize one of the legs was loose and I didn't have an Allen wrench to fix it.  So, I spent the whole time working with a tripod that had a "dead leg" basically that I would have to kick out into place every time I set it down. I got pretty coordinated with that by the end of the trip but it was not fun. 

There is more too but if I write it down I might have to grab a cocktail to cope with the memories and it's too early for that...or is it  ;) .


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The good man is the friend of all living things - Mahatma Ghandi

 

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#23 Peter Connan

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Posted 11 November 2016 - 07:35 PM

I also carry my camera like that when it's on a strap.

 

Fortunately Nikon's on-off switch is very easy to use, so I don't have these problems.


Ek oefen skelm.

#24 Tdgraves

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Posted 21 November 2016 - 08:43 PM

Just gone away for a few days in the uk. Thought I may catch some birds while I am here, so I grabbed the camera bag as I left. Half way here on the motorway and I realised I didn't pick up the zoom lens :(

No more for my big year now....
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#25 Big_Dog

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Posted 21 November 2016 - 10:00 PM

Surely I can't be the only who has made the pure rookie mistake of 'forgot to take the lens cap off before shooting'? :D
 


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"What, no hyaena pictures?"


#26 Dave Williams

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Posted 21 November 2016 - 10:44 PM

I took my brand new, well new to me as it was a used model, Canon 600mm f4 Mk2 down to a local nature reserve to test it out. I balanced the camera /lens combination on a bean bag on the window sill of the hide.

I decided I needed to try a teleconverter and so released the body, about 1KG of 1DX, from the lens.

Physics never was a strong point but I do know about the laws of equilibrium.

I was remarkably calm despite seeing my new pride and joy disappear in front of my very eyes.

The drop to the floor outside was about 7 foot.

Fortunately the soft ground was also covered in ivy which broke the fall , the lens survived unscathed.

I was relieved no-one  witnessed my stupidity!

 

PS Never taken a bad photo in my life though! :unsure:


Edited by Dave Williams, 21 November 2016 - 10:45 PM.

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#27 Tom Kellie

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 12:33 AM

~ Two and a half years ago @Anthony Gitau and I were in Samburu one morning. A female leopard had been spotted in a flat area of large bushes, very near the Ewaso Nyiro River.

 

Other vehicles had been swerving around the bushes in a fruitless search for the elusive predator, finally moving off elsewhere.

 

Canny Anthony's “leopard eyes” picked out a particular large mound. I saw nothing to distinguish it from other comparable rounded bushes, but Anthony was right!

 

The leopard was snugly concealed deep within the bush, resting on a small perch in semi-darkness.

 

Anthony maneuvered the vehicle such that by bringing a Zeiss 135mm lens as low as possible, images of the leopard were possible. She was no more than two meters away from the lens, but only visible through one small break in the foliage.

 

I was photographing her when she started to move. “She's coming out!”, I told Anthony. He immediately backed away to provide her ample maneuvering room once she emerged.

 

We were blessed with an extraordinary vantage point as she ambled away up onto a rocky ridge.

 

What great photos at close range I must have obtained...except that I didn't have anything except useless frames.

 

Why? What went wrong?

 

When the leopard emerged from the bush, I completely forgot to change the settings — I shoot in M mode thus set all parameters — so that the camera was shooting in daylight while set up for near darkness.

 

I wouldn't want anyone else to hear the torrent of billingsgate which spewed from my mouth as I cursed myself for missing such a great photo opportunity.

 

After calming down, joking with Anthony and apologizing for my outburst directed at myself, we continued, spotting the leopard 15 minutes later, obtaining superb shots.

 

The lesson was not only learned, it was deeply engraved into my consciousness. Since then, when ever shooting in any ultra-low light situation during daytime, I adjust the settings as soon as the shooting situation changes.

 

Ah, cameras out on safari. Gotta love ’em, but sometimes the clumsy, addle-pated clown behind the lens leaves much to be desired.

 

Tom K.


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#28 pault

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 04:11 AM

@Big_Dog  What's rookie about that?  I think I do it more as I get "more experienced", not less. Fortuntately the blackness in the viewfinder is a giveaway..


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Waiting again... for the next time again


#29 xelas

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 08:04 AM

@Tom Kellie

 

That is why all our cameras are set to AutoISO!


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#30 janzin

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 03:22 PM

Just gone away for a few days in the uk. Thought I may catch some birds while I am here, so I grabbed the camera bag as I left. Half way here on the motorway and I realised I didn't pick up the zoom lens :(

No more for my big year now....

 

I have actually done that as well! But many years ago. We were halfway to the airport in a taxi on our way to a flight to Belize when I realized I did not pack the zoom lens! As this was a trip specifically for birding photography as I was nearly in tears...somehow we managed to turn around the taxi, dash home and still arrive at the airport in time for the flight (luckily I always leave a lot of padding time when flying.) 

 

I don't think I could do that anymore because I would surely notice that my camera bag doesn't way nearly as much as it should. :D


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#31 janzin

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 03:27 PM

@Tom Kellie

 

That is why all our cameras are set to AutoISO!

@xelas yes but even so I managed to mess up a few shots in Kenya--couldn't figure out at first why several shots taken of lions very early in the morning in very low light came out almost black--this was right at the beginning of the trip and I had the maximum ISO set too low, I think at 1600! Since I shoot in manual with auto ISO, the camera wouldn't change the other variables to compensate. :angry:  After that I moved it up to 3200 for the rest of the trip.


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#32 xelas

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 04:09 PM

@janzin

I never max the ISO! At least not with D7200 as experiences showed me that even at such high value as 12800 I can get reasonably useful photos at certain conditions. If photo is just too noisy, it can always be deleted later. That goes for wildlife setting where subject is never still, and I prefer to have it noisy against blurred.

Edited by xelas, 22 November 2016 - 04:14 PM.

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#33 KaingU Lodge

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Posted 23 November 2016 - 05:15 PM

Mistakes a plenty here too. 

 

Learning the hard way that last night fever (good company and drinks by the fire at a friend's camp) doesn't mix with setting up for night shots.  Forgetting to tighten the QR clamp meant that my little olympus went for a tumble.  Complete shutter replacement required. 

 

Stupid zip (or rather stupid owner) being open in my camera bag while on a walk.  End result - the top plate of my (brand new to me but used and absolutely flawless/mint) 1dMKIV looks like someone has taken steel wool to it. 

 

Learning that an EF-S 70-300 is most certainly not weather sealed.

 

Forgetting to take my  Sigma 120-330 f2.8 to the Kasanka bat migration.  Yes, that happens at sunset and sunrise and f2.8 would have been "quite" useful at those times. 

 

Getting up ridiculously early to take pictures of the bathrooms of our new chalets.  Being dead pleased with my results until it was pointed out that every shot had a rumpled and obviously used towel hanging over the wall.

 

But the one that hurts the most is a hard drive crash and subsequently losing 3 years of Busanga.  It took that lesson to make me start a religious back up plan. 


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#34 gagan

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Posted 23 November 2016 - 05:51 PM

While taking photo on a chilly tanzanian morning i didnt notice moisture on my camera lens but took a really nice photo of a lion drinking water in mikumi national park.The photo got blurred and i could only regret after that.
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#35 janzin

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Posted 23 November 2016 - 06:24 PM

These are all great, I am feeling considerably less stupid now :lol:  Or maybe just in good company!


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#36 COSMIC RHINO

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Posted 25 November 2016 - 08:59 AM

almost loosing an exposed SD card  , I changed it in a moving vehicle went to put it away with the others , rechecked it  and it took a while to find , with light pencil writing 5they look almost the same as the spare blank ones I was carrying

 

in the older days of film if you got really silly the shutter soud goes of if the camera is loaded or not ---- a mistake I never made myself

 

if in a vehicle with a roof hatch take care not to include the roof hatch on the edge  of the shoot

 

best to avoid using the roof hatch it looks like you are looking down on things 

 

getting so excited that I zoom in the place  my fingers on the side lens zoom controls , well nothing happens when you press the shutter


Edited by COSMIC RHINO, 25 November 2016 - 09:04 AM.

Wild Africa is in my blood. All life is sacred and interconnected. for the animals are fellow nations caught in the splendor and trevail of the earth.


#37 COSMIC RHINO

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Posted 12 December 2016 - 02:49 AM

speaking more broadly what is it with people and selfies

 

do they give attention to what they are doing and if they are likely to trip

 

recently I saw someone at a crowded  train station  walking down stairs with their gopro , and looking into the camera all the time

 

fortunately  he did not have  an accident  


Wild Africa is in my blood. All life is sacred and interconnected. for the animals are fellow nations caught in the splendor and trevail of the earth.


#38 Whyone?

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Posted 12 December 2016 - 08:02 AM

I'm not sure how this thread turned to rants against folk taking selfies?!

Anyway, back on topic, my biggest problem (like others here it would seem) is dialing in exposure compensation and then promptly forgetting about it!!! I use the dual card slots in my bodies to record jpg and raw versions of all photos - partly as some insurance against a corrupt card, but also to give me raw versions of photos which, as noted above, on occasion allow poorly exposed photos due to my incompetence to be salvaged.

A couple of people have mentioned near and actual reformatting of cards containing images not yet downloaded to a computer. If you do this don't panic - the images are still there (just flagged as deleted) and there are numerous software solutions which will recover them - just do a Google search!
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#39 xelas

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Posted 12 December 2016 - 08:25 AM

@Whyone?

 

To me, taking a selfie (selfies) is The Dumbest photo mistake on safari :o ! In fact, on any trip :o  :o !!  Only Victoria's Secrets models are excused from this rule  :D !


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#40 janzin

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Posted 12 December 2016 - 05:56 PM

A couple of people have mentioned near and actual reformatting of cards containing images not yet downloaded to a computer. If you do this don't panic - the images are still there (just flagged as deleted) and there are numerous software solutions which will recover them - just do a Google search!

Yes that's true---as long as you haven't written over them! So if you realize that you accidentally reformatted a card with images, whatever you do don't give up and record more images on it--put it away and you can recover the images when you get home.


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