How’d You Get That Shot? Safari Photography Behind the Scenes with Pete Rubin

Written by Thomson Safaris

Mischievous, young chimp – Mahale Mountains National Park, Tanzania
Photo: Pete Rubin

Capturing nature’s most awe-inspiring moments takes much more than good luck and a quick trigger finger. Careful planning, serious skill, and a little bit of luck are needed to create the kinds of unforgettable images that make an African safari so enticing, even from thousands of miles away. The photographs these guests snapped are so impressive, we wanted to learn more about what went into them. In this ongoing series, our most avid photographers share some of the secrets behind the stunning images that make us all wonder “How’d you get that shot?”

Pete Rubin joins us today.

About the Photo

What do you like about this shot?

The playful nature of young primates.

What type of planning was involved in order to capture this image?

Like most animal shots…patience.

Which camera did you use, and why?

Canon Mark II…quick pinpoint focus to capture images between moving leaves.

Which settings did you use? Are there any technical tips you have for photographers who are more advanced?

The best tip I can share is one that I received from a National Geographic professional photographer…”when shooting up at wildlife, ignore the sky…blow it out and make sure the subject detail shows well. You can fix the sky color later”.

Which tools, during either the shooting or editing process, did you use to enhance the photo?

All I did was crop it. I may have slightly reduced shadows with Photoshop Elements (a very simple version of Photoshop any amateur can use for about $125).

What advice do you have for safari goers who want to capture the perfect shot?

Enjoy the surroundings and be patient. Take a lot of photos and play with different camera settings. The “money” shots just seem to happen…some days you get them and some days you don’t.

What’s your favorite tip to give fellow photographers?

For amateur photographers like me…take photographs for yourself. If others like them, great. If they don’t, oh well.


About Pete Rubin

How many years of professional photography experience do you have?

None…I am a fun-loving amateur!

What’s your favorite thing to photograph?


What do you think of Tanzania or a safari or trek as an overall photographic opportunity? What made it special to photograph?

No place is better for photography than Tanzania. The subject matter is varied and spectacular. Close ups and enormous landscapes and everything in between. There are always surprises so you need to be ready!

Where can we find your work?

I haven’t published any work.  It is shared with friends and anyone who asks.  You can find a few pieces in the Thomson catalog. 🙂


Want to learn more about photographic safaris with Thomson Safaris?
Contact us today.