African Elephant in Uganda

My 10 Favorite Safari Photos + the Equipment I Used to Take Them

When I was maybe 10 years old I decided that I wanted to be a wildlife photographer. Y’know, like for National Geographic. I couldn’t wait to start practicing, so I saved up my allowance and bought myself a little point and shoot film camera. Unfortunately for me, I had zero insight into photography equipment or technique and my first roll was complete and utter trash. I quickly grew disillusioned and abandoned this dream. Now fast forward almost 20 years. I go on my first safari, and bring some halfway decent photography equipment. Though I still have a lot to learn, I actually end up taking some pretty great pictures! In this post, I’ll share 10 of my favorites, along with some information about the equipment I used to take them.

Olympus Mark II Mirrorless Camera

Ok fine, that’s not the full name. This is: Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II Mirrorless Digital Camera. Ben and I bought this camera because it’s small and light. We also have a Canon DSLR, but found it to be cumbersome while traveling, so we got this little mirrorless guy instead. Despite being small-bodied, this camera is pretty dang powerful. In fact, all of the pictures you’ll see in this post were taken on it.

PANASONIC LUMIX G Leica DG Vario-Elmar Professional Lens, 100-400MM

Now as much as I love my camera body, this lens was the real MVP. At 100-400MM it provided lots of zoom-power, enabling me to capture pictures of animals that I couldn’t even see clearly without binoculars. And because it’s a four thirds lens, the range is essentially doubled! Sadly, this lens costs a pretty penny. It’s over $1,500 on Amazon, and while I do think it’s worth the money, that amount just isn’t realistic for a lot of people (myself included). Luckily, it’s rentable! Ben and I rented this lens from for about $200. I know that sounds like a lot for a rental. And it is! But it was also our only option, and to be completely honest, I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Camera Bean Bag

I know the name of this item sounds silly, but it seriously saved our lives on this trip. (Not literally, but you get it.) A camera bean bag is basically just an empty sack that you fill with rice or beans. Once it’s full, you can sling it over a car window and rest your camera on it for a steadier shot. It’s kinda like a tripod, except you don’t have to get out of your car in the presence of a lion (or other large, scary animal) to set up and use it!

Lens Cleaning Kit

Though self-explanatory, this item is important. As it turns out, safaris are real dusty, so you’ll want to be able to clean your camera’s lens. Of course, you may not end up using it, but lens cleaning kits are cheap and very nice to have.

And now, without further ado, here are my 10 favorite pictures in no particular order:

Crested Crane
Warthog family
Chimpanzee Tracking in Uganda
L'Hoest's Monkey
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, Uganda
Lions in Uganda
Giraffes in Murchison Falls National Park
Elephant in Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda
Baby monkey breastfeeding
Lion preparing to eat me

To read more about the trip itself, head over to my Uganda safari highlights post!

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