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Photography in Rwanda

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Rwanda offers some superb opportunities for wildlife and scenic opportunities. The mountain gorillas of Volcanoes National Park are wonderful laidback photographic subject and the speeds attainable by modern cameras mean you would have to be very unlucky not to come back with some awesome pictures, even in gloomy conditions. The more restless chimpanzees of Nyungwe National Park tend to be less cooperative photographic subjects, but the same national park’s monkeys are often very easy to photograph in situ. Finally, a safari in Akagera National Park offers the opportunity to photograph the so-called Big Five (lion, leopard, black rhino, elephant and buffalo) along with the likes of giraffe, zebra, hippo and various antelope and birds.

Wildlife photography requires faster and higher-magnifications lenses than most other subjects. For gorillas, a 70-200 or similar lens should be more than adequate, possibly supplemented by a 28-70 or similar for wider angle pics. Elsewhere, a zoom that goes up to 300 is ideal, possibly supplemented by a a fixed 400 or 500 lens, with a fastest f-stop of 4 or better 2.8.

A tripod can be useful to stabilise your camera in forests and for scenic shot. If you visit Akagera, bring a beanbag upon which to rest your lens to minimise the risk of camera shake; to save weight you can carry it empty to Rwanda and fill up with rice, beans or a similar instance after you arrive.

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Rwanda’s mountainous scenery makes for great scenic shots. The perfect volcanic outlines of the Virungas are highly photogenic, especially day dusk and dawn, as are lakes such as Kivu and Burera. If you want to photograph people in Rwanda, it is important culturally to ask permission first.

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