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Words and pictures by James Gifford. Confused? When you buy your first DSLR camera, all its functions can seem pretty daunting; a fact which is not helped by an instruction manual which appears to be written in a different language. The temptation is to switch everything to automatic or – if you’re feeling really adventurous – choose the ‘stick-figure’ running man on your mode dial. While you might end up with some reasonable images, an understanding of the concepts of aperture and shutter speed will allow you to choose how to portray the scene, and dramatically improve your photographs. It’s

Words by Peter Levey The case for using a standardised GPS co-ordinate format Now that GPSs are in common use, directions to destinations are frequently given using GPS co-ordinates. Unfortunately, there are three main GPS formats in use today, which leads to confusion as to what format is in use, especially when errors in the use of the formats are so common. Examples of the errors are the use of commas instead of points, and points that are missing altogether. The various formats of giving out a position are all accurate to one degree or another, but there are convincing

Words and pictures by Peter Breitenstein Seven 4x4s, eleven people, one trail, 12 kilometres, 24 hours… No survivors. Overlanders are constantly trying to develop new ways to maximise their vehicle’s packing space. With this in mind, I recently came up with an idea that may interest fellow readers. In short, it’s a compact beverage-can holder / dispenser that makes the most of small storage areas that would otherwise go unused. When I kitted out my Mitsubishi Delica as a 4×4 camper, I was left with a narrow gap across the width of the vehicle. This cavity was about 80 x

Originality is Key. Every professional photographer strives for originality. Commercially, it’s essential that your images stand out from the competition, but it’s also important from an artistic point of view: photographers want to create something that reflects their personal style rather than imitating others. There are two ways to achieve this: through the content of the image, or through your interpretation But, in wildlife photography, finding original subject matter is very difficult and will normally require many hours in the field and a large slice of luck. Consequently, you’re often forced to think creatively to produce an unusual image from

Words and pictures by James Gifford. Compose yourself It’s happened to all of us – you have an amazing wildlife sighting, fire off hundreds of photos, but then when you get back home, your images don’t look as good as you’d expected. Or, that beautiful landscape scene you spent hours over has somehow turned into a very ordinary photograph. Composition is probably the single most important element of photography, but it requires an artistic eye that is almost impossible to teach. Some people instinctively just ‘get it’; but, luckily, most of us will be able to improve our photography dramatically

Words and pictures by Grant Spolander. Let there be light If you’ve ever bought yourself a set of spotlights, you’ll know the first question that people ask you: “How many lumens does it have?” This is often followed by the next leading question, “How far does it shine?” You’ll seldom hear any queries about build quality, design or construction, which is kinda strange when you consider the high prices of some of these units. After spending R15k on a spotlight you’d think the most logical question would be, “Will it last?” Despite the fact that many spotlights are priced at

Product announcement: SnoMaster 70-litre double-door fridge / freezer Cool traveller SnoMaster recently launched their new 70-litre double-door 12V fridge/freezer with a trip to Hwange National Park. Strapping the new fridge into their Camp Master off-road trailer, the SnoMaster team managed to store seven days’ worth of frozen / cold food in the unit, even including their ice for sundowners! The electrical rig powering the fridge / freezer consisted of a Ryobi 950 Watt mini–generator set, which powered the Deltec deep cycle battery contained in the new SnoMaster battery pack. While this is a strong power solution, don’t forget to get

Words and pictures by Grant Spolander. Man down! Malaria – how to prevent it from killing you if you get it. A few months back I was sitting around a breakfast table with Kingsley Holgate, who was describing a malaria attack. Squinting his eyes and holding his back in a show of pain, he said, “You’ll feel it in your lower back, as if your kidneys are about to burst. It’s a lot like having the flu – fever, cold sweats and severe muscle pain – but without the sore throat and blocked nose.” At the time, I was travelling

Words and pictures by Grant Spolander. Lower consumption more TORQUE I must be looking doubtful. Fernado Gasser, the designer and manufacturer of Greenpowr hydrogen fuel cells, turns to me and says, “You look sceptical; what’s bugging you?” Fernando and I have spent the last two hours chatting about his hydrogen fuel cell product and how it supposedly increases engine torque while decreasing fuel consumption. It’s a controversial subject, but from what Fernando’s told me the concept sounds plausible. However, there’s one last question I need to ask and it’s a tough one. “But what about the scientific law of conservation

Pop-up tents are becoming increasingly popular in the leisure market. Most people who own a heavy, expensive, large canvas tent have also bought a pop-up tent. They might have intended it to be used for shorter trips or weekends away, but they’re beginning to find that it’s being used for every trip. When a convoy arrives at a campsite everybody loves to be the first to finish setting up. I too have been unable to avoid the appeal of the pop-up tent. I love my swag (used for long trips provided there are no elephants about) and my lightweight 3-man

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