4. Tour

February 6th, 1994 - February 16th , 1994


This 4th tour had several reason for being unsuccessful.: first of all, I only had 10 days, but I still wanted to see the Leopards desperately, since the youngsters were meanwhile 3 months old.

Secondly, I had caught a severe cold that really hit full force on the second day in the Mara and which crippled me for the most part. It was just barely enough to get the most important pictures of the little Leopards, so as not to leave such a large gap in the course of their first years in life.

Third, the Leopard had chosen places to stay that were everything but photogenic: flat and rocky areas with scattered brush in which the young Leopards were able to play extensively – hopeless for anything photographic.

Fourth, the weather was extremely unfavorable : continuously clouded with rain and rather dark, so that I had to take most pictures during the day with the K-200. All in all, the tour was not very inspiring.

4.0/600 mm with 6 kg of weight or 4,5/500 mm with 3 kg of weight – which is better for Africa? On my last 6 trips I had the heavy 600 mm with me all the time.

This time I had the "lightweight" Sigma 500 mm in my travel luggage in order to check out the difference during use, if you really need the 600 mm or if the 500 mm would be enough and, if the reduced weight of the 500 mm would be noticeable?

The focal length: I missed the 600 mm while the Cheetah was hunting. When shooting this motif, the 600 mm comes in handy, even better yet, with the 1,4 X AF converter rather than 5,6/840 mm auto focus lens.

With shooting the Leopards, I was able to cope with the 500 mm very well and more often I was very pleased with this focal length because it was just right.

As for the weight of the 500 mm – it is pure pleasure. Someone who continuously handles a 6 kg lens, is in photographer heaven when handling a 3 kg lens. It is so much nicer to work with and you can react a lot faster with this lens.

3 - 4 kg seems to be the limit where it is enjoyable working with a lens and where the ball joint and tripod are still within bearable dimensions and weight.

6 kg lens monsters have nothing to do with the joy of photography; it turns wildlife photography in bone weary work. I will take the 500 mm with me again in March.

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