Before my trip to Victoria Falls last month, I did an extensive Internet search for tips on photographing the Falls – I wanted to know which side (Zambia or Zimbabwe) had the best views, which was the best time of the day to shoot, etc. but I couldn’t find much information.
So here are a few tips for TrekEarthers who have yet to make the trip to Victoria Falls. For those who have already been, please feel free to add your own tips.
Which is the best side to shoot from? The Falls face the Zimbabwe side, so that is the best side to shoot from (I have posted a typical shot from the Zimbabwe side looking towards the Zambia side in the workshop), but there are two provisos: 1. As the Falls run roughly east to west, and face south, and the Falls are at about latitude 18 degrees south, you are shooting into the sun for most of the year (you will only have the sun overhead or behind you on the Zimbabwe side in the summer months); and 2. There are still plenty of good POVs on the Zambia side, even though you can’t see all of the Falls from that side, so you really should plan to shoot from both sides.
Which is the best POV? There are several lookouts in the rainforest on the Zimbabwe side that give you good wide shots of the Falls, but when the river is full, and the Falls at their most spectacular, you and your equipment will get soaking wet from the spray. I was told that sometimes the spray is so thick that you can’t even see the Falls. In those circumstances, the best POV is from the air, like in the photograph I have posted. Several helicopters, light planes and micro-lights operate from the Zambia side, but with the helicopters and light planes you are shooting through perspex windows which can distort the image, and they do not let you take cameras on the micro-lights. The best option, in my view, is the single ultra-light that operates from a small bush strip on the Zimbabwe side (see picture in workshop) as that has an open cockpit.
Which is the best lens to use for aerial shots? I fitted a 12-24 mm wide angle to my D100 and carried a 24-120 mm lens in case I wanted to swap. As it turned out, I shot nearly every frame at 12 mm and didn’t use the other lens. It would have been better to have taken my fish-eye as a second lens.
Which is the best side to stay on? There are more accommodation options on the Zambia side (but more expensive) and it is safer on that side. The Zimbabwe economy has all but collapsed (all the petrol stations were closed when I was there because they had no fuel to sell) and there is not much to see in the Victoria Falls township except lots of baboons hanging around the streets. I stayed three days on the Zimbabwe side and one day on the Zambia side – in hindsight I should have organised it the other way around.
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robertosalguero (246) 2006-10-08 3:53
This is a very impressive view of the Victoria Falls. The tips on shooting this falls are very useful, though I will never get a chance to see this magnificent place with my own eyes. The view from high above is defintely a good idea to get the entire waterfall and the wide river that feeds it. I like this picture. You did a very good job and as I said before the tips are very good. Cheers from Canada :-)
fayeulle (27827) 2006-10-08 4:00
Do you shot though the window of the helicopter ? I dont see any reflection on the glass. It's just a perfect view. Zambezi ist just impressive from this POV.
katyako (467) 2006-10-08 4:30
Very interesting sunny shot. I can see the greatness of the waterfall through it. Thank you for sharing!
jemaflor (80806) 2006-10-08 4:36
Very impressive shot, a great moment for you i imagine, wonderful effect, tfs.
pablominto (53744) 2006-10-08 6:16
There are so many things to comment here, but let me simply say this must be one of the best ways to do this!
I admit other angles may have more drama, but none will give this superb overall impression of the place!
Beautiful light and wonderful details...
jhm (135274) 2006-10-08 7:36
Almost a satelite picture out of the plane, I'm very glad see these splendid Vitoria waterfall out of the air, what a lovely panorama view I can enjoying for looking, my compliments for this one together with your great note! Thanks for sharing.
Have a nice sunday,
ChrisJ (94802) 2006-10-08 8:09
A superb aerial shot of Victoria Falls. The diagonal plane adds dynamism. A fantastic pov. Tfs!
Didi (55103) 2006-10-08 8:12
Une vue aérienne magnifique des chutes.
La lumière rante accentue le relief de la composition.
Une intéressante expérience de pouvoir voyager sur ce petit avion.
A splendid air sight of the falls. The light which passes very close to the trees accentuates the relief of the composition. An interesting experiment to be able to travel on this small plane.
rozy975 (3047) 2006-10-08 10:12
And great information.
Thanks for sharing.
jaywalker (16095) 2006-10-08 13:04
Hi David, A fantastic photo, the falls look aweson from this high, the way you have captured the river flowing into them also looks amazing, just SUPERB, kind regards Wilson.
MichaelTrezzi (3347) 2006-10-08 15:04
Hi Davis, great aerial pic of the Victoria Falls. You made the right decision - taking the ultralight. It looks like Zambezi did not have enough water and the surrounding planes are burned out by the sun. Look also http://www.trekearth.com/members/MichaelTrezzi/photos/Africa/Zimbabwe/. Thanks for sharing. Cheers, Michael
rbcy1974 (20758) 2006-10-08 18:17
Excellent view, did you cach this from a plane?
Very beautiful light, nicely captured details, plus a great overview of the place,
very well done
Graal (95401) 2006-10-09 3:47
great POV and interesting view, fantastic landscape. Interesting note. I like it a lot. Well done photo.
oochappan (22043) 2006-10-09 12:08
A unique view from the sky towards these waterfalls, I suppose it was taken in the morning with the slight mist still hanging over the land, the low sun gives more texturing to the trees, both WS are excellent photos too, an excellent documented trip by posts and info.
PJE (20758) 2006-10-09 17:24
This photo and the others of these falls is incredible to view. Excellent details and great perspective from this ultralight plane you were in. Thanks for the workshops too. I think the efforts you are putting into your photos is tremondous David.
Budapestman (82620) 2006-10-11 7:46
This is a fascinating and very spectacular photo! What a particular and stunning POV! This is very effective and exciting shot! Very nice details and splendid colours. Super!
Thank you, nice days
alainh (35579) 2006-10-12 0:54
splendid places you visited !! this one is one of the most impressive of the earth. By plane, it's simply fantastic i suppose. Gorgeous, incredible place and a very beautiful picture for us. thanks for sharing David
have a nice day
keribar (43841) 2006-10-13 23:00
And many thanks for all these tips: My trip to Zimbabwe and the falls is not imminent but it is on my agenda. By the way it was a right and wise decision to use a large aperture and a big speed for this one: Excellent - Izzet
AiresSantos (56155) 2006-10-14 4:54
Another great note for this nice composition. Very good POV, natural colours and details.
TFS and greetings,
Photo65Net (43120) 2006-10-16 13:19
Very original framing of this wonderful sight.
I like to see the river and the fall in the same pic, it's not current.
Clairedelune (4923) 2006-10-22 12:36
Oh boy! I would like to be as dedicated as you are to photography to have the courage to take that ultra-light 'bug'!!! ;) But hey! Photography has that tendency to push back our limits, isn't it? Anyway, you did well in taking it. This place is simply amazing! I will probably not see that with my own eyes, so it is great to be able to see it through yours! And what a note! This is informative and truly useful for people who want to go there. You are really a great guy Mr. Astley!
Deepforest (9260) 2006-10-28 17:15
fantastic spectacular view of Victoria Falls from the air!! I could admire this phenomenon of the nature several days after you, from the helicopter...
Good work. Best regards,
Andrzej_HHH (2480) 2006-12-01 13:34
Amazing view of this falls. Great shot! Andrzej
Marjolein (0) 2007-02-06 7:37
perfect shot, very nice view.
tidil (215) 2007-02-18 18:15
Your photo is great, but the credit goes to the notes section. I am planning to go Victoria Falls next weekend and your notes helped me a lot on deciding where to go -Zambia or Zimbabwe.
sidearm (54) 2007-04-22 6:11
Magnificent foto. I have one tip for people wanting to take pictures of the falls. Don't go there when it's been the rainiest rainseason in over 10 years. Sure the land is green and the falls are more powerfull than ever, But you stand there wishing you actualy could see more than just steem. It's important to choose the right time of the year, when there's enough water and not to much water in the falls.
sebinho342 (19317) 2007-05-22 6:38
Hi David, impressive the list of countries you've visited ! I'm jealous ... i stop on this one, cause after browsing TE for a while, there is not that much pictures of that site ie Victoria's fall. Yours is impressive and huge and the fact that you got an amazing POV by flight gives something exceptionnal to your shot.
This must be for sure an unbelievable experience.
I love it
- Copyright: David Astley (banyanman) (7789)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2006-09-24
- Categories: Nature
- Camera: Nikon D100, Nikkor AF-S 12-24mm f/4G ED, UV
- Exposure: f/4, 1/500 seconds
- Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
- Theme(s): Vic Falls [view contributor(s)]
- Date Submitted: 2006-10-08 3:45
- Favorites: 1 [view]