During your trip into the bush, there will be times to photograph and times to watch. I’ve noted several times that the ‘golden hours’ are precious in Botswana. Since the landscape is fairly flat, the sun comes up quickly and sets quickly.
How early can you shoot? How long into the morning can you shoot? Same questions for the afternoon: How soon will the light be good for shooting? When will I lose the light.
During my last stay at Chobe NP, I built a log of the light. Basically, first sunrise shoot, I timed the light and how it affected subjects. This may be of help fot you.
5:45 Color on horizon
6:00 Color in sky
6:15 Color bright on horizon
6:30 Highlights on birds at the river
6:45 Strong detail on lighted areas Large areas of heavy shadow
7:00 Less detail, Less heavy shadow
7:30 Good light and detail.
8:00 Good light and detail.
8:30 Good light and detail.
9:00 Good light and detail.
9:30 Good light and detail.
10:00 Dark sides of dune affected by substantial fill light
12:00 No shadow
3:00 Substantial shadow, but lighting still a bit harsh
3:30 Light getting good, details showing on sides of elephants, hippos and giraffes
4:00 Golden light, excellent detail
5:40 Highlights are accents only – great time for shooting into the sunset
5:50 Sun below horizon, definition falls, pink mountains to east
6:00 Color in sky blooms – At this time, you are suppose to be out of the park
6:30 Color in sky largely gone
6:45 Dim light in sky
With this information, I know what the light will do and when. I’ll use this information everyday for the entire stay. Since Chobe is north of the Tropic of Capricorn, the sun only moves a few minutes day to day, so the log will be fine with maybe a maximum 5 minute shift over 7 days.
Making notes on site can really pay off. And this is just one kind of note you can make.