Jan Fleischmann Wildlife & Action



How to capture wild animals and sportevents with your camera:

Crocodiles are not so easy to get a good view of. From a vehicle you often are too far or don´t get the right angle looking down.

One day in Serengeti at a riverside where it was allowed to leave the car in a area called "the hippopool", I tried to lay down in the sand

towards a giant nilecrocodile looking at me on the other side of the water. When the guide came to check me out he told me I was too

close to the reptile. The distance for me seemed to be fine but the guide remained me that the crocodile could easily swim over to my side.

In the same moment the crocodile turned his big head and I got an interesting image.

When I went to Gabon, a small country bordering to Cameroon and The Republic of Kongo (Kongo Brazzavill) I was hoping to meet some

of the western lowland gorillas. From a new built platform I waited four days with a british guide Julian

who worked for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WSC). Only eight persons can stay at the same time on the treeplatform that overlooks an open landscape, forest clearings. The area is called Langoué Bai. The animals come out from the forest to feed on the minerals and also to socialize.

The first day I waited with some other visitors. Some persons from USA had seen a gorillafamily last night so our expectations to see them again was

high. The distance where the animals usually are viewed are about 200 metres so even with long lenses it is not easy to get great photos.

Some forestelephants stayed on the ground. One male had giant tusks. The sitatunga moved elegant in the tall grass. This is a beautiful anthelope perfectly adapted for the grassland. And also some forestbuffaloes were there but without reach for my longest lens. I used a 500 mm on my digitalcamera but it was not enough. But no gorillas were visable.

Unlike the mountain gorillas in Rwanda and Uganda the lowlands have not been habitated to humans. WSC try to get a group in the Lopé Nationalpark in Gabon habitated.

We stayed in a very nice ecological campsite that was built for the WSC and the reasearchers. The following morning we returned to the platform.

The same night without any luck. The other visitors left. I stayed with Julian and the third night we could sleep on the platform. It was exicting to hear the sound of trumpheting elephants when the nigth came. But I was still hoping for the gorillas. We woked up to a wonderful morning and the forest was covered with mist. After a short breakfast we scoped the area again. Around 2 PM Julian said silent.

-- There is a gorilla. I had almost felt asleep when I suddenly turned the camera towards the open ground. Finally a lonely silverback walked out from the forest. He sat down at the water to drink. To get good photo of this single gorilla was very difficult. But I was happy to see some elephants walking.

Next morning the gorilla was chased away by an elephant. When the angry elephant had left the gorilla came out from the forest. The coast was clear.

Getting  the right sportsmoments:

To enter into the international events like World Championships you need to be ackriditated by the organizer. For football it is often FIFA or UEFA (for the European Championships) But for event´s like Women´s Cup you apply directly to the clubs that are involved. For smaller games you can often enter with cameras without any problems.

For Mariestads-Tidningen, indoorbandy, speedway, icehockey, bandy, footbal and bowling are some of the sports I cover. Often the background are an issue. I don´t like to get the gymnasticbars behind when I cover indoorbandy. So I prefer working towards the area where the public are.

When we cover our icehockeyteam, Mariestads Bois we are working from a special box at the rinkside. Sometimes I feel I am part of the game coming so close with to the goal with the telezoom. But I also have to be very alert to avoid getting injured. I have tried to use a helmet for getting at least some prtotection. But it is not the perfect solution.

When the opponent Örebro came to Vänershof, as the arena is called their fans remembered me from last time. They was not so happy when I took photo when they was arrested by the police.

For football I mostly use a camera with 300 mm f.2.8 or a zoom 70-200 mm f.28. For Mariestads-Tidningen I sometimes use the lens 100-400 mm.

With bigger games or events I use two cameras to improve the chanses of getting the actions. It often takes too long time to change lenses. Although even with two cameras it is not so easy to choose the right combination.