Travel Thru Tanzania with Don Hamilton: Color or MonoChrome

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Welcome to another episode of Traveling Thru Tanzania With Don Hamilton Jr. on assignment for Bedford Camera & Video.

Excited to share with you some different images and thoughts. This week I’d like to kick it off with a visit to Tarangire National Park, located slightly off the main safari route. Tarangire National Park is a lovely, quiet park in Northern Tanzania. It is most famous for its elephant migration, birding and authentic safari atmosphere.  The majority of travellers to the region either miss out on Tarangire altogether or venture into the park for just a matter of hours – leaving swathes of Tarangire virtually untouched!

We essentially had the place to ourselves for an entire 2.5 days.  Jaw dropping landscapes despite a severe drought. That’s not all bad either as the animals were compelled to find water sources and watering holes. This enabled us to have a very good idea where animal activities were and to be able to photograph them.

Did I mention elephants galore!! The big five were in abundance as were large herds of elephants, zebra, cape buffalo, and wildebeest. I have so many yet to be processed wonderful shots to share with you. Thought I’d start with a discussion and your thoughts. Here this image is in color. Canon 1DX Mark II Canon24-70mmII f/2.8. When Steve at Bedford told me about the huge improvement over the earlier predecessor, I quickly thought to self.. this is a no brainer… need it for Africa Safari. Boy was I a happy camper.. So useful, and sharp!!


Here is a dilemma though. To display in Color or MonoChrome? We’d love to have you chime in and let us know! Leave your thoughts in a comment below!


Tarangrine was so, so good to us. Including a 3 hour visit with three young lion cubs. They had just finished an early morning breakfast of a zebra kill. Mom was off a ways resting in the shade. These three characters decided to park under a sand cliff area and rest in the shade as well. They were across from a washed out gully, yet close enough for the Canon 7D Mark II and Canon 200-400mm plus 1.4 to capture their interaction. Don’t forget if you are considering a Canon prosumer body .. hands down the Canon 7D Mark II is an award winner!! Best thing… you don’t have to worry about shelling out a ton of hard-earned dollars for a fast framed, sweet focus system that’s fully capable of shooting higher ISO. It’s truly the best allocation of your funds these days. Marry it up to a newer lens and you are state of the art. Always remember.. the equipment certainly helps, however there is no substitute for experience in the field!! It’s a process folks. Better said.. a Journey!


What a morning to remember… I shot many frames.. Too Many Frames!!  From them rolling around and playing in the sand to licking and grooming one another. Stay tuned for some more of the Tres Amigos!!  After spending several hours observing them I noticed a colorful bird that kept coming back and forth to a branch that was below our Land Rover. I didn’t like the perspective, as I can’t stand to shoot downward on a subject. So I asked my guide, tracker and driver Vincent if we could get the Rover lower. Lets reposition and put two wheels on the right side down on the 25 degree bank…. Come on man.. just one shot for the Gipper!  It was my first Bee Eater shot. Gosh I was about to need a change of under garments as another one flew in and they seemed to be courting! Needless to say, there went a bunch more frames. Oh well no problemo amigos..I came with plenty of CF and SD cards, as well as backup devices. LET’R  Rip, especially if you like catching action in between frames.


Here I chose to leave the branch to the right instead of removing”Cloning out”. It is the classic orientation of the flora in Tanzania. I can’t wait to share some poses. As you can see, by working your subject and getting lower we indeed create a pleasing out of focus background at eye level. Creating a stronger image! Pure joy folks!

These guys also blessed us with some time together! How can this morning get any better? Remember all of this is before 9:30am.

Time to move to the plains. Let’s look for some new players! Didn’t take long before we found a few Thomson gazelle just chilling. Their horns are simply Gorgeous along with their distinctive markings! Canon 7D Mark II with Canon 200-400mm. Here I used some fill flash as the sun was almost overhead with shadows becoming an issue. Amazing what a bit of fill flash can do for your images. Canon 580 EX II Flash with better beamer (minus 1). All items you can order and purchase from Bedford.


Wasn’t too long before I spot a rather large female wart hog! What a beauty! Warthogs are beautiful creatures in their on right.

Despite the Name: Common Wart Hog. Very skittish as well and very protective of their young. Canon 1DX Mark II 100-400mm II at 312mm manual, 1/1650 sec, ISO 2000. Love the hair details.. I’m thinking this lady needs a bit of creme rinse for her spilt ends and dry hair!

common-warthog_f7i5739Have you ever stopped to consider the local sanitation crew that lives and works the Serengeti plains 24/7? A motley crew indeed.

Let me introduce you to the White Headed Vulture. Hmm, isn’t there a rule no one out of the Rover, and absolutely no one laying flat on the ground? HMMMM.. say it isn’t so….


This is one of five species I was able to photograph.

Well folks that’s it from here in Boca Raton.. I hear Africa files calling me. Back to editing..

Until the next time, where we will have a full blog on the crossings and the migration of wildebeests as they follow the rains.

Here’s a front row seat to the migration as they move to a massing crossing point.

Have a blessed week…Hope you have plans to be out there and shooting!!

Don Hamilton

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