Flying Free

I love the African bush. Dig flying and airplanes. And, of course, wild about photography.

All fused together in one exhilirating photo assignment…

The client’s a charter company, flying guests to and from safari lodges in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve in the Greater Kruger National Park. New marketing photos were needed – I just received my new Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 PRO lens – timing couldn’t be better and up in the sky we went.

Franz Rabe - Natural Photography -
Sabi Sands Game Reserve from the air.


Landing strip in the bush.
Landing strip in the bush.

The photo kit I had on this trip was exactly as described in my 1st blog – my E-M1 was the main camera, with the E-M5 having back-up and close-up responsibilities. I’ve briefly used the 12-40mm PRO lens in the studio for a pre-wedding couple shoot, but this would be the very first time the lens would taste outside duty – straight into the the African skies & bush!

I took photos of international guests disembarking and treading for the very 1st time on African wilderness soil. I photographed a multitude of airplanes – absolutely adore those flying machines – and what great photo subject matter they make.

© Franz Rabe - Natural Photography -
Pilots and their Flying Machines of the African Skies


© Franz Rabe - Natural photography -
Cloud Prince

Although previously having photographed a few aeroplanes in my career, there would also be a first for me on this project…

On their flights back from the lodges to OR Tambo, the pilots would occasionally have an empty plane. Having direct radio contact with them from the ground, it was arranged that take-off would be directly over my head standing in the middle of the runway!

So there I stood.
Looking through the view finder and trembling slightly… Thank goodness for the 5-axis stabilisation on the E-M1!

The ONE thing I immediately learnt and have a huge respect for now, is the speed with which these planes take off.

© Franz Rabe - Natural Photography -
You would not believe the speed from here…
© Franz Rabe - Natural Photography -
… to here !!

Walking off the runway after the first overhead shots, I was shaking like an Acacia leaf – adrenalin flowed straight into my veins as the plane rushed over.
What a total thrill.

The small sizes of the Olympus E-M1 and E-M5 were made for this kind of assignment. I had to be constantly on the move between landing and boarding passengers, not to mention positioning myself for moving (taxiing and flying!) aeroplanes.

And the image quality was plain exceptional. (pun intended)

© Franz Rabe - Natural Photography -
After totally misjudging the take-off speed of the airplane, I had to take this photo running at full-speed backwards…
5-axis stabilisation rules !!


© Franz Rabe - Natural Photography -
Pure Grace


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