Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Light and Shadow

Light and Shadow - Alpa STC, IQ 180, 32 HR, ~f/13, 1s, ISO 35
Most images of Kolmanskop tend to be color images, especially when made late in the day.  In this case, the color wasn't doing it for me, but I found the interplay of light, shadow and texture to be interesting.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Dunes and Clouds

Dunes and Clouds - Sony RX10, ~120mm equiv., f/5.6, 1/1000s, ISO 250
On the last morning in the Sossusvlei area, I took a helicopter with the doors removed all the way to the coast for aerial photography.  When we got to the coast we found it covered in low laying fog which is a visual treat.  More images from that ride to come :)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Deadvlei from the air

Deadvlei from the air - Sony RX10,  ~39mm equiv., f/4, 1/1250s, ISO 400
This is Deadvlei from a helicopter.  You hike into the area over the small dune at the bottom (its about a 2km hike from where the vehicles are parked).  All of the interesting stuff is in the lower part of the pan but it is common to see hikers climb the dune to the lower left.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Dead Trees, Clay Pan

Dead Trees, Clay Pan - Alpa STC, IQ 180, 32 HR, ~f/13, 1/30s, ISO 35
On my second morning at Deadvlei, I had a much better idea of the kind of image I wanted.  I saw the way the morning light had spread over these two trees the previous morning and knew that I wanted to create a composition that included both the long shadows and the detail of the clay pan for foreground interest (click through and you can zoom in to see all the pixels thanks to G+ pan & zoom in the lightbox).

This image was made to be captured either by a technical camera or a tilt-shift lens.  Wanting to keep the trees plane parallel, I used about 10mm of fall to pull in more of the clay pan.  I also had around a couple of degrees of tilt to make sure that everything from the nearest point of the clay pan to the top of the dunes and the tree were in focus.

From the previous day I knew that the sun would rise quickly and that the penumbra of the shadow of the dune behind us would add a very soft, natural gradient.  This is also the time where the trees themselves were also fully side lit with the soft morning light.

Monday, April 21, 2014


untitled - Alpa STC, IQ 180, 180 HR, ~f/13, 0.5s, ISO 35
Deadvlei is an iconic location for photographers to visit in Namibia and photographing the 900 year old dead trees against very tall sand dunes.  I found the place a little challenging to create unique compositions (Google Image search for deadvlei and see how many images come up), but this is a place I will return to again to find more images.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Clouds as Sossusvlei

Clouds at Sossusvlei - Alpa STC, IQ 180, 32 HR, ~f/11, 1/125s, ISO 35
I am relaxing at the Air France lounge in Paris waiting for the last leg of my journey home.  The wifi is fast, so time for another picture!  I'm told that clouds in the Sossusvlei area at this time of year aren't that common so we were lucky to have clouds all 3 days we were there.  On one afternoon shoot we were parked by the side of the road waiting for the light to photograph dunes from a distance when this rainbow appeared.   The only wide angle camera I had was my technical camera and being too lazy to reset the tripod to get low, I hand held it for this image.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sossusvlei Sand Dunes

- Sony A7r, Leica 90 Summicron, ~f/5.6, 1/100s, ISO 200
I am at the end of my landscape photography adventure through Namibia with +Andy Biggs and +Joshua Holko.  I had a wonderful time with great weather and fantastic company.  In about half a day I'll start my 35 hour journey home but I'm sure the time will fly by editing the images I've made on this trip.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Why Kolmanskop?

- Alpa STC, IQ 180, 23 HR, ~f/13, 4s, ISO 35
We have wrapped up our day of photographing the Namibian ghost town of Kolmanskop and tomorrow we say goodbye to L├╝deritz and make our way to Sossusvlei, the area of gigantic red sand dunes.  But first, why Kolmanskop?  Why come to the middle of nowhere to photograph a ghost town, after all ghost towns exist in many places.

In the time I've spent here I think I've started to understand why and its a combination of several things.  The most obvious of course is that the desert is slowly taking this place over and there is something so appealing about making images with and decaying structures.  One thing I noticed about Kolmanskop was the quality of the construction.  These people had money and they spent it in building well constructed buildings.  They even had electricity here when much of the world was still lit with gas lamps and had the first x-ray machine in southern Africa in the hospital.  Then within about 45 years the town was abandoned.  What makes Kolmanskop special is the money they spent in the construction, the fancy wallpaper, the hand painted edging on the walls and the bright colors.  This combined with the desert reclaiming the town is what IMO makes this place appealing to many types of photographers.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Aloe Dichotoma

Aloe Dichotoma - Alpa STC, IQ 180, 32 HR, ~f/11,  1/4s, ISO 35
The Aloe Dichotoma or Quiver tree is indigenous only to a small part of south western Africa.  Our first shooting session in Namibia was a Quiver Tree forest.  These trees are somewhat challenging to compose but this was a warm up exercise as we make our way to the first major subject tomorrow, Kolmapskop.

Monday, April 07, 2014


Dome - Alpa STC, IQ 180, 23 HR, ~f/13, 1/8s, ISO 35
We visited the Reichstag building's dome yesterday morning and managed to be one of the first people in.  The overcast skies made it challenging to get interesting photographs.  Even though we were first to get there, framing shots without people in them was a challenge.  For this image I made 5 captures over a span of a minute and then used Photoshop blend the shots to remove the people.

Saturday, April 05, 2014


Memorial - Alpa STC, IQ 180,  23 HR,  f/11, 1/8s, ISO 35
One of the places we visited this morning was the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.  The memorial is made up of concrete slabs of increasing height the deeper you go in.  The floor also rises and falls making the place a bit uneasy and a little claustrophobic.  I'm guessing this was intentional by the designer, perhaps to give people a very very small taste of the horror that these people went through.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Tables and Chairs

Tables and Chairs - Sony RX10, ~26.4mm equiv., f/5.6, 1/40s, ISO 125
My buddy +Vincent Mo and I arrived in Berlin today and spent the day just doing tourist stuff.  Along the way we stopped off at the Chapel of Reconciliation near the Berlin Wall Memorial.