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2014:
Rwanda – Gorillas in the Mist – Jan 2-7, 2014, Trip Leader: Randy Hanna  TRIP COMPLETED
Tanzania – The Calving Season – Feb 15-25, 2014, Trip Leader: Randy Hanna  TRIP COMPLETED
REMAINING  SAFARIS
Tanzania – The Great Plains and Crater – May 29 – June 11, 2014 , Trip Leader: Randy Hanna. FULLY BOOKED
Iceland – The Land of Fire and Ice – August 9-19, 2014, Trip Leader: Randy Hanna. LIMITED TO 9 PHOTOGRAPHERS, 3 SPOTS
Tanzania – The Great Migration – September 15 – 25, 2014 , Trip Leader: Randy Hanna.  CURRENTLY ACCEPTING BOOKINGS
Botswana – November 13-22, 2014.  FULLY BOOKED

2015:
JapanFeb 2015 Adventure Series only, Japanese Snow Monkeys.  Very limited participation  Details soon
Namibia – April 2015 – Details soon.

Botswana – Pure Botswana – Sept 19-19, 2015, Trip Leader Randy Hanna.  CURRENTLY ACCEPTING BOOKINGS

For Tanzania Safari bookings, please contact Evan or Andrew at Thomson Safari’s, 1-800-235-0289
For All other bookings, please contact Nicky at Eyes on Africa, 1-800-457-9575

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Namibia update #4

 

With intermittent internet, and none for the next three or four days, I wanted to push a fast update.  We have been in the great  Sossusvlie region of the Namib Desert for the past three days.  The weather has been unseasonably hot however, we have been blessed with killer clouds for our photography.  They say that clouds happen in this area only 4 or 5 days out of the year, so we have hit pay dirt.   The photo below was taken from the vary popular Dead Vlie area at the end of the road in the Sossusvlie Reserve.

20140413_H5D_8407967-EditHasselbald H5D, 35-90mm at 65mm, ISO 100, 1/250 @ f/9.0

The very poor internet connection is preventing me from posting additional photos at this time however, I would like to share the highlight of the day – a helicopter overflight of the dunes flying out to the ocean and back.  What a sight this was and no doubt this will be included in all future excursions to Namibia.

Cheers and happy photo’ing.

 

Today was our first any only full day at Kolmanskop.  While the intent was to spend the entire day, the scorching heat soon proved to be too much for an entire day.  Before departing near noon, we made a mad rush for some building with overhead frame still in tact for some wonderful shadow work.

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Cheers and happy photo’ing.

So we are sitting here in the middle of nowhere at a gas station, not for gas but for internet, so here goes with my first update in a number of days.

Trapped between the desiccating sands of the Namib and the freezing waters of the South Atlantic’s Benguela current, Lüderitz is a fascinating old German town, full of character. There is only one road to Luderitz, and bulldozers battle to keep it open through the shifting sands of the Namib. Meanwhile, on the coast, the beautiful buildings of this historic German town sit unchanged.  Our true destination was the ghost town of Kolmanskop.

Kolmanskop

This ghost town, once the principal town of the local diamond industry, was abandoned over 45 years ago and now gives a fascinating insight into the area’s great diamond boom. A few of the buildings, including the imposing concert hall, have been restored, but many are left exactly as they were deserted, and now the surrounding dunes are gradually burying them. Moving from building to  building and room to room, the photographic surprises were everywhere however, they were not without technical challenges.  This challenges, for me, included shooting a medium format camera in very close quarters, rapidly changing light conditions and I really mean rapidly changing, and exposure control that was over the top.  For this location, I was shooting both Hasselbald with a 35-90 zoom and a Nikon D800 with a 14-24mm Nikkor.

The images below represent first exposure to Kolmanskop.  I must admit, it took me a bit to get my head around just how to shoot this and identify the pitfalls with the dynamic range.  Heavy wind and face blasting sand, forced me to pack my gear inside each of the houses every time before moving onward to the next building.

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Cheers and happy photo’ing.

The Quiver Tree Forest (Kokerboom Woud in Afrikaans) is a forest and a well-known attraction of southern Namibia. It is located about 14 km north of Keetmanshoop, on the road to Koës, in the Gariganus farm. It comprises about 250 specimens of Aloe dichotoma, a species of aloe that is also locally known as “quiver tree” (Afrikaans: kokerboom) because bushmen use its branches to make quivers. The forest is spontaneous; the tallest quiver trees are two to three centuries old. The forest was declared a national monument of Namibia on June 1, 1995.

B8407762Hassselblad H5D 40 with 35-90mm at 40mm, ISO 100, f/8 at 1/180 sec

Tomorrow, we are off the the deserted mining town of Kolmanskop.

Cheers and happy photo’ing.

I will not able to post or check email while I am out for the next month.  Besides checking out some new locations for my Namibia 2015 trip, I will be shooting primarily medium format this time around with some exceptions for those creative shots that I have in my mind.

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So what is in my kit this time around?

Hasselblad H5D with 35-90mm zoom, and a 150mm lenses.  I really wanted to bring my 210mm but the weight kept me back.  Also wanted a 28mm prime but the used one I looked at during the last week being state side, turned out to have some serious fungi growing inside it.  When the lens returns from the Hasselblad repair facility, I’m sure I will get another shot at this wonderful piece of glass.

Nikon D800 and a Nikon D4 with 16mm fish eye, 14-24mm, 70-200 f/2.8, and TX1.4.

I selected the D4 strictly for night photography and low light work.  The D800 is my medium format back up.

Rounding out the equipment is a full set of Lee NDs, both solid and graduated, and a 105mm B-W polarizer.

For bags, I used my trusty BAD bag for clothing with most of my  camera gear going into my Gura Gear Bataflae 32L.  For basic equipment transport followed up with my Chobe for computer and accessory support. With tons of walking in front of me, I changed things up a bit.  The medium format gear all went into my new Ulinta with the medium pro insert.  This will work great as it will allow me to put the rain cover and place it back down on the sand without have to worry too much about sand contamination.  Accessing the camera gear will be a dream getting at it from the inside or harness side of the backpack.  The 35mm gear went into a Think Tank belt system, only because I had it  and had used it before in Namibia (remember, it is hot at heck here and the more you keep off of your back the better off you are). Oh yes, I’ll have water bottles will be hanging off of me like there is no tomorrow.

Cheers and happy photo’ing

NOTE:  Communication Error.  As hard as I tried to blog live from the bush, the guys that live in the cell towers just would not let it happen.  While my XCom Global device could see the towers, there was never a connection that would allow for live blogging, other than the one hit I had on the floor of the crater.  As  result, I will be playing catch up with daily summaries upon my return.  In hind site, I’m sort of glad this happened.  Rather than spending time in the camera tent working up images for the next daily posting, I found myself sitting around the campfire or in the lounge tent hang’in out with my clients.

Safari Day 2
18 Feb 2014
Ngorongoro Crater
0600, 60 F Cloudy skies, burning off by mid morning with showers in the afternoon

Early to rise with excitement in the air as we prepared to descend into the crater floor shortly after sunrise. As always the descent was magical and the game viewing an eye-opener for everyone. 9 Black Rhinos, multiple female lions with three different litters of cubs, and of course the giant bull elephants in the distance. A field lunch was served near the hippo pool and photography was the buzz of the meal. Later in the afternoon a storm system blew through parts of the crater driving many of the visitors to leave early. We of course, stayed for the entire day and found additional lions and numerous zebras fighting. Before we knew it, we were heading back to our camp with lots of photographs and stories of our wildlife viewing.

For some reason, seeing the Maasai Warriors using cell phones and digital cameras makes me smile. Some sort of ying and yang thing I guess or maybe it is the old world meeting the new. This Warrior picked up a camera and used it like a pro.

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The rolling hills on the floor of the Ngorongoro Crater change as the light changes. From deep shadows to highlights on the ridge line, they are a light show all unto themselves.

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As with all evening meals, we go around the table with everyone recounting their personal highlights from the day. Tonight the table talk was all about first contact with the wildlife and the incredible scenery and the first lion sighting along with the 9 Rhinos.

Cheers and happy photo’ing

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Safari Day 1

17 Feb 2014

River Trees County Inn to Ngorongoro Crater

0630, light rain moving to high overcast.  African Down pour at Gibbs Farm

 

After a quick breakfast we were off the Gibbs Farm for a wonderful organic lunch. I took time to look at everyone’s sensors to ensure that we all started out clean for the next shooting event. Making our way to the rim of the Crater, we stopped at a Maasai Village for an educational tour. While there, I rounded up a couple of Maasai warriors for an impromptu portrait session. Several of my clients walked away with some winners and what way to start our photo safari. After our meal, most of us returned to the camera tent where I processed a number of images for my clients and did a brief overview of Lightroom and how I process images in the field. So here are a couple of images from my clients and one of my portraits from the day. BTW, image with a white light in it was taken inside a Maasai Boma. The light beam was hitting the warrior in the face. Great work Andrea! Martien also caught a Maasai woman carrying firewood along the roadside.

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4A8A8116 as Smart Object-1

 

 

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Cheers and happy photo’ing

Pre-Safari Post

Pre-Safari
Update16 Feb 2014Mount Meru Game Lodge, Arusha, Tanzania
0630 hrs 680F, heavy rain overnight turning to light showers by mid morning.

I arrived yesterday afternoon after a killer long trip to Tanzania due to the weather in Washington DC and all of the related flight cancellations and rerouting. After two trips to the airport over two days and being routed via Frankfurt and Dubai, I made it. At the lodge by 2pm and while my room was being prepared, I headed to the bar for a Serengeti beer. Half way through my beer my room was ready and off I went. I thought I was ready for a quick nap and then a nice non-airplane food dinner. Funny thing happen, I took my boots off and as soon as my head hit the pillow, I was out and did not wake again until a huge lightening and thunder storm passed thru, around 0400 the next morning. The rain continued all morning and it looks like it will continue for most of the day and well into the next few days with intermittent showers. A quick look at the weather, indicates it has been raining for two or three days in the Serengeti, with a forecast to end Monday. This is perfect timing for our safari in that the animals could be on the move from Ndutu toward the Serengeti. This will give us two chances to hit the large herds, once (two days) in Ndutu and another in the southern Serengeti as we move to the central Serengeti.

After breakfast, I went to my lead guides house for banana soup. I’ve had Kelio as my senior guide since 2006 and he and his family have become my extended family. The visit to Kelios’ house and taking lunch with his family has become a tradition on each of my trips and most certainly something that I always look forward to. Kelios’ ethics and family values are typical of the guides at Thomson Safaris; warm hearts, open arms, and experts in their field of professional guiding.

After a killer lunch by Moma Peter, it was time to head to River Trees County Inn to link up with the early safari arrivers and the rest of the crew tonight. Even thought the flights were a challenge in getting here, I am excited about getting into Ndutu and the Serengeti once again. Early reports from the guides who just came in from the bush, lead me to believe that this will be another exciting trip.

Cheers and happy photo’ing

As I watched the storm kick Atlanta and Washington DC (Coogan lives in Atlanta and my initial plane was to depart from DC), I recalled just how cold it was in Antarctica and realized that I had not shared any photos from the trip.  Truth be known, I did not have time to work up any of the images until my extensive lay-over times in the airport this trip.  So here are a few images from the from the trip before I change gears and kick off my next photo safari in Tanzania.  Please note that these images were processed my laptop and without the color controls that I have in the studio.

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Hasselblad H5D, 35-90mm lens, f/13 @ 1/750 sec.  Entrance into the LeMar Channel

20131115-D3X-3380-blogNikon D3x, 24-70mm at 70mm, ISO 200, 1/1250 sec @ f/8.0  Penguin lineup.

20131115-D4-5592Grounded Iceberg.  This image was taken here.
Nikon D4, 24-70mm @ 38mm, ISO 250, 1/640 sec @ f/14.

20131115-D3X-3497-Edit-EditNikon D3x, 14-24mm @ 21mm, ISO 250, 1/1600 sec at f/11.  This image was taken here.

So that is a taste of what is to come with my Antarctic Gallery.

Cheers and happy photo’ing.

 

 

 

 

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