I also enjoyed the article.
But the article is written from a viewpoint of: no budget limitation and no weight restriction. How does the author take all this equipment along on his flights?
I was going to write exactly the same thing! I guess if you can afford all the gear he seems to think you need, you can afford the Gulfstream V jet
to go with it!
A few things to note:
In different areas, the bush can be very different. In and around Kruger Park in South Africa, for example, the bush is very dense so the animals aren't going to be that far away from you, and the only use for a 600mm lens is to get a shot of an elephant's toenail. Same goes in many parts of the Okavango in Botswana. Etosha in Namibia is a bit more open and you can't leave the road, so a longer lens would be handy. That said, some of the very best shots we got in Etosha were taken with an 18-50mm on the 20D.
Here's what I took on a 2 month trip to Southern Africa:
1 x 20D
1 x Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8
1 x Canon 70-210 f/3.5-f/4.5
1 x Canon 50mm f/2.5 macro
1 x Yashica 6x6 TLR (mostly for B&W)
1 x very small Sony laptop with Lightroom and a DVD burner
A small stack of DVD-Rs for backup
Rocket blower, lens paper
If I'd been able to carry more gear, I'd have taken a second Canon body - maybe a Rebel - to keep the 70-210 and the 18-50 mounted at the same time, and I really should have taken an 80Gb iPod or some other small external hard disk because it got a little tight on my laptop's drive. I also wish I could have taken a tripod, but that was more for landscape work than for animal shots. Yeah, a 5D and some nice L lenses would have been great, but that stuff is too heavy and bulky to carry around for 2 months. The Rocket blower is something I'll never travel without again - you're going to get dust in your camera no matter how careful you are, unless you never change lenses. In Namibia, I got into the habit of cleaning all the camera gear every night and it helped a lot. The Yashica was an indulgence, and I only took it because I really wanted to shoot the dunes in Namibia with it. Now if only I had the time to get to the darkroom to print all the film I shot!
Also remember that if you're flying all the way to one of these places, hopefully you're going to be doing more than just go on safari, and lugging heavy gear around won't be much fun. The cities in some of these places aren't all that safe (South Africa, for exmple) so you really don't want to be waving around a big bag of camera gear. I took a messenger bag along, and carried that instead of a camera bag in the cities. Because the rest of my gear was relatively small, I could usually fit most of it in the safe in our hotel room.
While Nathan's article was a lovely fantasy piece of equipment pornography, I really hope it doesn't scare off photographers without the means to buy such fancy gear. And let's face, just how many people can afford all that stuff? Going on a safari is an amazing experience, and shouldn't be missed just because you don't have $50,000 to spend on gear. While these trips are expensive, they don't have to cost as much as you'd expect after reading Nathan's article. Just do it!