When action happens, the animals don’t wait for you. That’s when Noa Koefler picks the Cartoni SDS Tripod to help her get the shot. It’s one of her trusty three-legged friends on the vast plains of Africa.
“Life of Adventure” is an introduction video of Hannes Lochner on Patreon. It’s a starting point to discover the photographer, the other path being Noa Koefler’s website, where you discover how this native of the beautiful Dolomite Mountains in South-Tyrol decided to leave behind a normal work and explore her passion for nature and adventure.
After training as a field guide and wildlife filmmaker, more opportunities opened up, and Noa kept returning to South Africa, where her passion for the African bush grew, visit after visit. It was then, while working on a film project in the Kalahari, that she met her husband and wildlife photographer Hannes Lochner. Together they traveled through different countries in Southern Africa and Noa started documenting not just his life as a wildlife photographer but also the behaviour of all the animals they encountered. They now share their passion and live in the wild of the African bush working on diverse projects.
Hannes Lochner is a native South African and a multiple award-winning professional wildlife photographer since 2007. He has produced several photographic publications, three of which were dedicated entirely to the Kalahari. The Kalahari project lasted six years, where he spent hundreds of hours capturing inspiring images of this captivating landscape and its enigmatic inhabitants. Hannes has been recognized internationally and received several awards over the years as the prestigious BBC‘s Wildlife Photographer of the Year, Natures Best Awards, SIPA, IPA, Aerial Photography Awards, MontPhoto Awards, Golden Turtle Awards, etc.
Testing a variety of Cartoni tripods
Now Noa Koefler and Hannes Lochner are on Patreon too, as so many other creatives. Their Patreon page is a place for the couple to share their adventures and photography with supporters. Noa Koefler says that “Hannes and I are both passionate in wildlife photography and videography. We don’t have sponsors and fund all our projects ourselves. These projects can run over a period of two years or more and can be very costly. In other words you can help us creating something beautiful for you through Patreon.”
Noa Koefler and Hannes Lochner’s current project will take two years to complete and will be based in Southern Africa. Noa says that “the equipment we use needs to fit the harsh African environment. Since we work in remote locations in the African bush, the gear needs to be durable and able to withstand extreme scenarios. We shoot in high and low temperatures, throughout the dry and wet seasons, under rain and sandstorms. We work out of our vehicle and on foot when filming wildlife.”
The filmmaker says that “practical, performing, and durable equipment is essential in our job. For the past ten years, I have been using the Cartoni Focus HD fluid head on our projects. I had great results, and it was a pleasure to work with this lightweight and reliable fluid head. In our current project, I work with the Cartoni Focus 12 fluid head with a Smart Deployment System (SDS) tripod, sturdy and fast to set up on any terrain. I’m also testing the Cartoni Geko sliding support as a vehicle mount to capture lurking wildlife shots with a Focus HD fluid head. Hannes has also given it a try and is very happy with the flexibility of this mount.”
The new ZCAM camera
“Up until now, I have mostly worked with camera packages that weigh between 8-11kg, and both focus heads work great” Noa Koefler says, adding that “of course, the weight depends on the lenses and accessories as recorders/monitors, batteries, etc. I’ve also used my Cartoni fluid heads when filming for production companies that provided their own cameras with bulkier and heavier equipment. Sometimes in those situations, I felt the Focus HD was on the edge of its payload capacity since as its 100mm bowl is not as stable as a 150mm bowl base, but when you are out on the bush, weight becomes essential you have to compromise. You learn to work with the tools you have and make the best of it, and in the end, it always works fine.”
To face the weight problem, Noa Koefler now bought one of the new ZCAM cameras. She says “those are very lightweight cameras with great potential. The lenses Hannes and I have and work with are Nikon 300mm 2.8, Nikon 400mm 2.8, Nikon 70-200mm 2.8, Sigma 120-300mm 2.8, and a variety of wide-angle lenses. I’m looking into getting a new lens like the Sony 200-600mm or Canon 200-400mm for the new camera setup.”
“I don’t want the drag of the pan to be too heavy due to lighter payloads and end-up fighting to smoothly pan the camera” Noa Koefler continues. “I like the drag range on the Focus Heads and noticed the Focus 12 is even smoother than the Focus HD and Cartoni told me they are using a new formula of silicon fluid, which gives consistency with perfect starts and stops, which are backlash-free.”
Using Cartoni tripods for action
The variety of situations Noa Koefler faces during a day shoot make it crucial to have a variety of tripods at hand. The filmmaker says: ”I checked up on the Cartoni SDS Tripod and the Stabilo. I must admit I prefer using the SDS to the Stabilo, for having a smaller telescopic tripod for time-lapse shooting. But when in sandstorms and heavy rains, it’s impossible to avoid sand getting into the pipes, and therefore the locks and the pipes don’t always run smooth. I have to take it apart sometimes to clean it all out properly. The SDS seems sturdier to me and has a quicker setup.”
When dealing with wildlife, being able to adapt is important. Noa says “it is such a pleasure to work with equipment with quick and easy setup. The extra weight of the SDS also helps to be more stable on windier days. Whenever I can, I like to shoot low-level angles outside of the vehicle, so I’m at eye level with the animals. I love the SDS Tripod with the double telescopic Smart Spreader that allows me to get quite low to the ground.”
One thing is for sure, Noa Koefler adds as a final note about her experience with Cartoni tripods: ”when the action happens, the animals don’t wait for you. There are no second takes. Things happen so fast, and you can miss it all within a fraction of a second. That’s why I trust Cartoni to help me get the shot.”