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Found 22 results

  1. This year I am celebrating 10 years of hosting wildlife and cultural photographic safaris. In this thread I will take a look back on those 10 years and relive some of the stories and images that I made on safaris during that time. So where and how did this safari stuff all begin? The idea of putting on safaris was sparked way back in 2006, in the very early days of the Nikongear forum. A member named Jorge contacted me and asked me if it would be OK if he started a thread asking the rapidly growing NG membership if anyone would like to join him on an expedition to Patagonia in a Land Rover Defender he had recently bought and was going to drive from Chile through the Patagonia region. I was absolutely captivated by this idea, not just in the hope of joining such an expedition myself, but because it seemed like a perfectly logical thing for me to do myself here in Africa. I didn’t get to join Jorge on his trip and I am not sure if any of the NG members did either, but the seed of an idea had been planted firmly in my mind. The idea began to sprout in 2007 when a member named papa-g joined up on NG. Geoff Cronje was a very well travelled guy who just so happened to live about 30km from me. He had recently gotten into photography and after he bought a Nikon telephoto lens from me, a friendship grew and we began to discuss the possibility of hosting a photo safari for NG members here in South Africa. Geoff would design the tour and I would do the organising and marketing. At the time I was going through some very difficult personal circumstances. The company I had started a few years earlier was facing a bleak future (or lack of any future at all). Long story short, don’t build a business that is entirely dependent on one supplier, because when that supplier disappears, so do you. So at the beginning of 2008 I found myself in a bit of a tight spot, my company had closed and I was being hounded by debt collectors. However, in spite of the difficulties I was going through, I had my eye set on this safari seed. I was going to make it work, one way or another because I knew that if I could just get it going properly, everything else would fall into place. I met with Geoff a few months into 2008 and we started talking seriously about putting on our African photographic safari. Then tragedy struck. I was sitting at home on a Saturday afternoon in July when I got a call from a mutual friend telling me that Geoff had died. What? How? Apparently he had collapsed of a heart attack after having an altercation with a security guard over a parking space at his workplace during the Durban Airshow. It felt surreal. I felt as if God had set up a permanent raincloud above my head. In the meantime I was eking out a living doing odd photography jobs and helping people build websites. It wasn’t a great time for me at all. I was undeterred though. A few months after Geoff died I started earnestly looking for somebody in the travel industry who I could partner with and get the photo safari business off the ground. I needed somebody who not only knew the game and could put together itineraries based on what I wanted to do, but who would also meet all the requirements as far as South Africa’s tourism legalities were concerned. I didn’t want to start a new business myself after all the drama I had been through with the one I had just been forced to close. I wanted to stay a sole proprietor with as few administrative responsibilities as possible and get paid commissions from the suppliers involved in the safaris. So I placed an ad on a local tour guide portal outlining what I wanted to do and that’s when Pepe Jones (real name Penelope) popped up. She came up with a proposal that was much better than all the others I had been sent from other operators. I got Bjørn Rørslett to join us as a drawcard and the first Nikongear Photo Safari was born. We had 6 people sign up. The numbers were a bit short of the 9 I had been hoping for, but it was better than calling the whole thing off, so in August of 2009 the first NG photo safari finally happened. For our road trip Pepe had arranged this colossus of a Land Rover Defender called the Kalahari Ferrari as well as a Toyota Quantum bus to ferry the 9 of us (me, Pepe & Bjørn included) around the eastern parts of South Africa and Swaziland over 2 weeks. I drove the Quantum and she took the Landy. Looking back, it’s a miracle that we didn’t end up as a tragic global headline, because the brakes on that Land Rover failed twice on our trip. It was also seriously unstable and the back of it fishtailed constantly at speed. Driving behind it I had visions of Nikon equipment and users being flung from it’s massive windows as it wound its way up and down the mountains of Swaziland. Headlines indeed! That first safari was a real eye opener for me. We had some very interesting people join it. Some got along well, others didn’t. In spite of it all some strong friendships were made (which still exist today on the new NG) and I learned a great deal about not only what not to do on a photography safari, but also about managing guests' expectations. For me the most important take away from safari #1 was that national parks in South Africa were not where I wanted to take guests. Apart from being logistically challenging for photography (you can only leave camp at sunrise and you must be back before sunset), animal sightings all depended on luck. In a big park like Kruger you cannot travel off-road and if anything interesting is happening near the road you will find yourself in a jam of other vehicles all straining to see the same thing. Situations like these tend to bring out the worst in people, which is not a good ingredient for a successful photographic safari. In spite of the dramas with vehicles and the occasional butting of heads between tourists, two weeks later I found myself back home and already planning the next adventure, one that would be entirely different and that would set the tone for the way things have been done on my photographic safaris ever since. But that’s a story for the next instalment. In the meantime here are a few images from Safari #1. \ The infamous Kalahari Ferrari parked outside my house on day 1 of the safari. Our first animal sighting was a giraffe in Hluhluwe Game Reserve. One of my favourite zebra images. This was taken in Mkhuze Game Reserve, just north of Hluhluwe. Left: Cheetah at Emdoneni rehabilitation centre. Right: A Zulu "warrior" at Shakaland, which is a bit of a tourist trap. Driving North towards the St. Lucia wetlands. In the waters at Lake St. Lucia you will find loads of these malevolent creatures. The scariest ever moment was when this elephant in musth charged us. Re-worked image of the mountains in Malolotja that form the border between Swaziland and South Africa. A carver at the market in Manzini, Swaziland, working on a small drum I bought for my son (he still has it!). We got as far north as the Tropic Of Capricorn. Well, I suppose that would be far down south for most of you! This also gives you an idea of the sheer size of the Kruger Park.
  2. Luc de Schepper

    La Palma

    Last week my wife and I spent a week on the beautiful Canary Island of La Palma. This small island is a popular destination for hiking lovers as the mountain scenery from volcanic origin (malpais) is challenging and there are lots of hiking trails. My wife and I though hired a car and spent three days driving around the island, enjoying the landscape and views. This series was shot with an Olympus E-M10, Olympus E-M10II, Olympus 12-40mm f2.8, Panasonic 35-100mm f4-5.6 and Samyang 7.5mm f3.5. As a polariser was used on the 12-40mm, it took a bit of effort to correct in post processing the resulting uneven exposed skies. I hope I succeeded in doing that. 1. Puerto Naos, one of the most popular holiday destinations (not for us, we stayed in Fuencaliente) 2. View on visitor centre of San Antonio volcano. In the background Fuencaliente 3. San Antonio volcano 4. Salinas Marinas de Fuencaliente (if you visit this place, there's an excellent bar/restaurant near the salinas) 5. New and old lighthouse near the salinas 6. 7. Chapel 8. Excellent roads on the island, and great driving experience 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. [/url] 14. 15. (Nearly) on top of Roque de los Muchachos alt. 2.426m 16. View on the astronomy observatory and the Caldera de Taburiente 17. 18. These two bright cars screamed to be photographed in this landscape 19. Ship aground, a long way from it's home base Bristol. The island of La Gomera is faintly visible in the background. 20. Scenic view near Fuencaliente
  3. The island of Borneo is essentially divided into two parts – Sabah, which is Malaysian Borneo and Sarawak, which is Indonesian. In addition, the tiny nation of Brunei is squeezed into 5000 square km on the West Coast of the island. The Danum Valley Conservation Area is approximately 400 sq kilometres of virgin rainforest located on the eastern side of Sabah. The most common way of getting to the area is on a 2 and half hour drive from Lahad Datu and the only place to stay is at the Borneo Rainforest Lodge (BRL). I have been meaning to do a write-up on the place because it really was sensational and should be on your list. The Lodge: We stayed in a “deluxe” room, because we wanted a view over the river. It was worth waking early (5.45am to 6.00am) and keeping a close eye out on what is happening outside. Every morning we did this, we saw amazing stuff. No dressing up required for meals, it is a very chilled place. It is barefoot or socks only in the dining / bar area (to keep shoes & thongs, which are likely covered in mud, out). We got a private guide and it was definitely worth it. You are in control of whatever you want to see or do and when you do it. Yes, they have a plan and undirected they will follow it, but you can vary it (including time and location etc) and you certainly then control how long you do, or don’t, stay watching some particular thing / animal. If there are things you especially want to see (e.g. birds) they will focus on that. Similarly if there is something you don’t want to see (e.g. tarantula) they will avoid it! They have great, great, food at the lodge! A huge selection of both western & Malaysian. I am sure we actually put on weight despite the amount of walking. Our room was basic, but fine. There is no air conditioning, but it really is cool enough with the smart room design & fans etc. They advise you to keep the lights off if you are not there, which we did, and had no problems with bugs in the room. The lounge / dining area is pretty fancy by comparison. You could take a small umbrella to use when trekking instead of putting on a rain jacket or poncho. They have big umbrellas in each room for getting to and from the lodge area. Some kind of dry bag could be good to take walking to put bino’s or camera gear in if it rains, because when it rains, it really rains! Take a torch for night walks We swam in the river – a great swimming hole is a short walk away from the lodges. We did not see anyone else swimming, but they encourage you to do it, so it is not an issue (and we will swim anywhere). When the river is higher they give you the option of going tubing down it. There are lots of bugs, so insect repellent is a must. We only saw one leech the entire time we were there, but we also only had rain on one afternoon. It would be a very different story if it had been raining more often. We were strict about always wearing leech socks (with insect repellent sprayed around the top) when we went out, so I know this helped. Other people there either did not wear leech socks at all, or only sometimes and they sometimes got leeches and sometimes not. Trekking: We were there five days. We spoke to people who were leaving after 2 (what they had booked for, not because they didn’t like it) who said they were happy to go as they either didn’t see a lot, or had seen what they were after (I assume Orangutan). I would have happily stayed longer. The longer we were there, the more we did, the more we saw. On this theme, if you are up for it, try and get out early (say a 6.00am or 6.30am start). Not only is it cooler, but the animals are more active. You have a chance of seeing the last of the nocturnal animals going home and you see all of the day one’s starting their day and looking for food etc. A typical day is a morning walk, which is the long one, starting anywhere from 6.00am to 8.30am and getting back anywhere from around 10.30am (if you are out early) to 11.30am – so, a 3 to 4 hour walk. Follow this with lunch, a chill out, swim, reading etc and then out for another walk at 3.30pm. The afternoon walk gets you back around 5.30pm. We also did one night walk (sensational) and one night drive (we did not see much) – but I would recommend doing both. We were going to do another night drive or walk, but got caught up doing other stuff with the guides back at the lodge. The walking tracks run the gamut of boardwalk to rutted dirt and, if the guides spot something special, “off road” you go. There is a fantastic canopy walk and there are swing bridges over the rivers – scary if you are that way inclined. Sturdy shoes will give you a better experience. If it rains, they better be water proof. Some of the wildlife: Orangutan... Spiderhunter.. Grey Racer.. Crested Fireback
  4. The island of Borneo is essentially divided into two parts – Sabah, which is Malaysian Borneo and Sarawak, which is Indonesian. In addition, the tiny nation of Brunei is squeezed into 5000 square km on the West Coast of the island. The Danum Valley Conservation Area is approximately 400 sq kilometres of virgin rainforest located on the eastern side of Sabah. The most common way of getting to the area is on a 2 and half hour drive from Lahad Datu and the only place to stay is at the Borneo Rainforest Lodge (BRL). I have been meaning to do a write-up on the place because it really was sensational and should be on your list. The Lodge: We stayed in a “deluxe” room, because we wanted a view over the river. It was worth waking early (5.45am to 6.00am) and keeping a close eye out on what is happening outside. Every morning we did this, we saw amazing stuff. No dressing up required for meals, it is a very chilled place. It is barefoot or socks only in the dining / bar area (to keep shoes & thongs, which are likely covered in mud, out). We got a private guide and it was definitely worth it. You are in control of whatever you want to see or do and when you do it. Yes, they have a plan and undirected they will follow it, but you can vary it (including time and location etc) and you certainly then control how long you do, or don’t, stay watching some particular thing / animal. If there are things you especially want to see (e.g. birds) they will focus on that. Similarly if there is something you don’t want to see (e.g. tarantula) they will avoid it! They have great, great, food at the lodge! A huge selection of both western & Malaysian. I am sure we actually put on weight despite the amount of walking. Our room was basic, but fine. There is no air conditioning, but it really is cool enough with the smart room design & fans etc. They advise you to keep the lights off if you are not there, which we did, and had no problems with bugs in the room. The lounge / dining area is pretty fancy by comparison. You could take a small umbrella to use when trekking instead of putting on a rain jacket or poncho. They have big umbrellas in each room for getting to and from the lodge area. Some kind of dry bag could be good to take walking to put bino’s or camera gear in if it rains, because when it rains, it really rains! Take a torch for night walks We swam in the river – a great swimming hole is a short walk away from the lodges. We did not see anyone else swimming, but they encourage you to do it, so it is not an issue (and we will swim anywhere). When the river is higher they give you the option of going tubing down it. There are lots of bugs, so insect repellent is a must. We only saw one leech the entire time we were there, but we also only had rain on one afternoon. It would be a very different story if it had been raining more often. We were strict about always wearing leech socks (with insect repellent sprayed around the top) when we went out, so I know this helped. Other people there either did not wear leech socks at all, or only sometimes and they sometimes got leeches and sometimes not. Trekking: We were there five days. We spoke to people who were leaving after 2 (what they had booked for, not because they didn’t like it) who said they were happy to go as they either didn’t see a lot, or had seen what they were after (I assume Orangutan). I would have happily stayed longer. The longer we were there, the more we did, the more we saw. On this theme, if you are up for it, try and get out early (say a 6.00am or 6.30am start). Not only is it cooler, but the animals are more active. You have a chance of seeing the last of the nocturnal animals going home and you see all of the day one’s starting their day and looking for food etc. A typical day is a morning walk, which is the long one, starting anywhere from 6.00am to 8.30am and getting back anywhere from around 10.30am (if you are out early) to 11.30am – so, a 3 to 4 hour walk. Follow this with lunch, a chill out, swim, reading etc and then out for another walk at 3.30pm. The afternoon walk gets you back around 5.30pm. We also did one night walk (sensational) and one night drive (we did not see much) – but I would recommend doing both. We were going to do another night drive or walk, but got caught up doing other stuff with the guides back at the lodge. The walking tracks run the gamut of boardwalk to rutted dirt and, if the guides spot something special, “off road” you go. There is a fantastic canopy walk and there are swing bridges over the rivers – scary if you are that way inclined. Sturdy shoes will give you a better experience. If it rains, they better be water proof. Some of the wildlife: Orangutan... Spiderhunter.. Grey Racer.. Crested Fireback View full article
  5. I'm looking for some input from this international community on an upcoming trip. I have a new X-Pro2 with 18-55 and 35mm f/2 that will be going along. My wife will be taking her Nikon N1 V2 with 10-30. On recent trips to Italy and Turkey, the N1V2 and X100 (for me) have been our main photo gear. This trip is two weeks in Spain; Barcelona, Segovia, Madrid, Toledo, Granada, Ronda, Arcos, Sevilla. We are traveling light and this kit is at first glance sufficient given our typical photo needs in largely urban situations. I am wondering about whether a wider lens might be useful. Fuji does have discounted offers in the USA and the 16mm is one. The 16mm is on my highly-likely list, but I don't want to spend quite that much right now. My plans for future equipment is to stay within the WR line. I do have a Ricoh GR digital which has also been a great travel companion, and there's always the possibility of finding the UWA (21mm equiv) adapter. The small camera has merits and it does have the native 28mm equiv lens which is redundant but is at least pocketable and has an emergency flash for social occasions. Thoughts? I'm not is a rush to buy equipment, but I did want to think about this more seriously if people think a wider view is really a huge benefit. When traveling with my Nikon gear, the 24mm WA end of my zoom is usually sufficient and I rarely use my 16-35mm f/4 unless it's a specific outing/task. Thanks for weighing in.
  6. simato73

    Istria

    Back in June I did a trip to Croatia. I am just finishing editing the photos now Almost all shot with the X-T1. I have found the X-T1 and excellent travel companion and all the lenses very good - the 14mm and 23 are exceptional. I will start with Pula (Pola), then post more on other places in following days. I am immensely indebted to Rudolph Abraham for the excellent advice he gave for this holiday. He is truly and expert of the area and his Bradt guide to Istria is a must if you want to visit.
  7. Guest

    Montenegro 2014

    ...
  8. A couple of days ago I was commissioned to take some photographs for a company who has used my services a few times in the past to produce images for their annual report to shareholders. I love these types of jobs because it involves travelling to places that I would never normally get to experience. This particular client is very involved in helping to develop entrepreneurship in rural South Africa so the places we visit, while not always particularly easy on the eye, do present some unique shooting opportunities. This was the first time I was going to be using the Olympus stuff for this kind of job, so admittedly I was a little nervous going in, because even though I’ve been using the new gear for several months, using the Olympus E-M1 is not quite second nature to me just yet especially as things have been very quiet on the work front for me this year. I haven’t been out there getting myself more in tune with my new gear as often as I should, plus there was the not so insignificant project of merging this site with Nikongear to contend with. I know, excuses, excuses… what can I say? I can’t seem to tear myself away from the computer for long spells these days and as such my vision suffers. Anyway, something I want to touch on briefly in this article is my old bugbear, travelling by air with camera equipment. I’ve gone over this aspect in many previous articles, as well as reviews I have done for various ThinkTank products I use. I’ve provided tips and tricks on how to evade the scrutiny of check-in staff when you’re toting big camera bags, plus I have spoken of strategies I use for dealing with the space issues in overhead compartments. On this trip all that air travel stress evaporated entirely and I was as light and well prepared as Manny Pacquiao heading into a title fight. I used the ThinkTank Retrospective 7 bag for this trip and inside it I packed a lot of stuff, some of which I didn’t use, but took along “just in case”. Here's what came with in the bag: Olympus E-M1 with HLD-7 grip Olympus E-M5 with HLD-6 grip Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO Olympus 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7 II Olympus 75mm f/1.8 ED Olympus 9-18mm f/4-5.6 Olympus 7-14mm f/4 (4/3rds glass) Olympus 45mm f/1.8 Olympus FL-600R flash + FL-LM2 clip on Samyang 7.5mm f/3.5 fisheye Sigma 19mm f/2.8 LEE Seven5 filter system (3xND grad, 1xND(3), 3 adapter rings) iPad Mini That’s a lot of gear, but it all fit into the ThinkTank Retro7 with probably a little space for a couple of other small lenses if I had really wanted to overkill things. It was easy to carry and because I was only flying up for the day I didn’t have to pack any chargers or other stuff. I didn’t take my tripod because you can’t bring it into the cabin and I wasn’t about to pack it into its own bag and then check it in. Turns out that IBIS is like a virtual tripod anyway and to be honest, I prefer to work without one so I didn't miss it. It was quite liberating just having that one bag and all those lens options with me. I didn’t even have to put it in the overhead because it fit perfectly under the seat in front of me. I could never have taken that many options on a job when I was shooting DSLR’s without requiring something like the ThinkTank Airport rollers. They’re great for that, but then you still have to take them with you on location. Not always possible where I go. The best part though is that nobody thinks what I have on my shoulder is a camera bag and where I often find myself taking shots that is a real blessing. South Africa still has a fair amount of opportunistic crime in certain areas, so if you don’t look particularly interesting as a potential donor to the cause of the outlaw you’re less likely to end up becoming one. I ended up using all the lenses except for the 45mm and 75-300mm. I didn’t use the flashes either. But I had them there, just in case. You never know when you might need to flash somebody. I got my best shots using the 75mm 1.8 on the E-M5 while walking around a steelworks factory, shooting the workers. That particular combo just seems to render subjects so nicely. My aim with the shots was to keep my distance while they did their jobs, but also try and get in close. The angle of view from the 75mm is great for this. Again, the tilting touch screen allowed me an even greater level of anonymity. Waist level finder, compose, touch and shoot. Click to enlarge these shots. I also used the Oly 7-14mm f/4 a lot on the E-M1. That lens is fantastic, but because of its size it’s definitely the odd man out in my kit. I will most likely get the native mount Olympus 7-14/2.8 when that comes out next year. You may be wondering why I brought this lens along as well as the 9-18mm? Well, I used the 7-14mm for some very wide shots inside this little clinic that is housed in a converted shipping container, but I brought the other lens for outdoor shots where I could use the LEE Seven5 filters. The 7-14mm doesn't have a filter ring. Also, if I could have put filters on the 7-14mm they would have needed to be a lot larger. That's a big lens! It was a very long day, because I had to be up at 4am, get to the airport by 5am, fly to JHB, then get picked up by my client and driven to three different shooting locations. I only got home at 8pm that night and while I was feeling less than invigorated by then, I can only imagine how wiped I would have been had I been lugging a backpack or roller with me all day. It seems that not only was I able to take a lot of light capturing tools with me, they were light enough to not be a bother.
  9. A couple of days ago I was commissioned to take some photographs for a company who has used my services a few times in the past to produce images for their annual report to shareholders. I love these types of jobs because it involves travelling to places that I would never normally get to experience. This particular client is very involved in helping to develop entrepreneurship in rural South Africa so the places we visit, while not always particularly easy on the eye, do present some unique shooting opportunities. This was the first time I was going to be using the Olympus stuff for this kind of job, so admittedly I was a little nervous going in, because even though I’ve been using the new gear for several months, using the Olympus E-M1 is not quite second nature to me just yet especially as things have been very quiet on the work front for me this year. I haven’t been out there getting myself more in tune with my new gear as often as I should, plus there was the not so insignificant project of merging this site with Nikongear to contend with. I know, excuses, excuses… what can I say? I can’t seem to tear myself away from the computer for long spells these days and as such my vision suffers. Anyway, something I want to touch on briefly in this article is my old bugbear, travelling by air with camera equipment. I’ve gone over this aspect in many previous articles, as well as reviews I have done for various ThinkTank products I use. I’ve provided tips and tricks on how to evade the scrutiny of check-in staff when you’re toting big camera bags, plus I have spoken of strategies I use for dealing with the space issues in overhead compartments. On this trip all that air travel stress evaporated entirely and I was as light and well prepared as Manny Pacquiao heading into a title fight. I used the ThinkTank Retrospective 7 bag for this trip and inside it I packed a lot of stuff, some of which I didn’t use, but took along “just in case”. Here's what came with in the bag: Olympus E-M1 with HLD-7 grip Olympus E-M5 with HLD-6 grip Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO Olympus 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7 II Olympus 75mm f/1.8 ED Olympus 9-18mm f/4-5.6 Olympus 7-14mm f/4 (4/3rds glass) Olympus 45mm f/1.8 Olympus FL-600R flash + FL-LM2 clip on Samyang 7.5mm f/3.5 fisheye Sigma 19mm f/2.8 LEE Seven5 filter system (3xND grad, 1xND(3), 3 adapter rings) iPad Mini That’s a lot of gear, but it all fit into the ThinkTank Retro7 with probably a little space for a couple of other small lenses if I had really wanted to overkill things. It was easy to carry and because I was only flying up for the day I didn’t have to pack any chargers or other stuff. I didn’t take my tripod because you can’t bring it into the cabin and I wasn’t about to pack it into its own bag and then check it in. Turns out that IBIS is like a virtual tripod anyway and to be honest, I prefer to work without one so I didn't miss it. It was quite liberating just having that one bag and all those lens options with me. I didn’t even have to put it in the overhead because it fit perfectly under the seat in front of me. I could never have taken that many options on a job when I was shooting DSLR’s without requiring something like the ThinkTank Airport rollers. They’re great for that, but then you still have to take them with you on location. Not always possible where I go. The best part though is that nobody thinks what I have on my shoulder is a camera bag and where I often find myself taking shots that is a real blessing. South Africa still has a fair amount of opportunistic crime in certain areas, so if you don’t look particularly interesting as a potential donor to the cause of the outlaw you’re less likely to end up becoming one. I ended up using all the lenses except for the 45mm and 75-300mm. I didn’t use the flashes either. But I had them there, just in case. You never know when you might need to flash somebody. I got my best shots using the 75mm 1.8 on the E-M5 while walking around a steelworks factory, shooting the workers. That particular combo just seems to render subjects so nicely. My aim with the shots was to keep my distance while they did their jobs, but also try and get in close. The angle of view from the 75mm is great for this. Again, the tilting touch screen allowed me an even greater level of anonymity. Waist level finder, compose, touch and shoot. Click to enlarge these shots. I also used the Oly 7-14mm f/4 a lot on the E-M1. That lens is fantastic, but because of its size it’s definitely the odd man out in my kit. I will most likely get the native mount Olympus 7-14/2.8 when that comes out next year. You may be wondering why I brought this lens along as well as the 9-18mm? Well, I used the 7-14mm for some very wide shots inside this little clinic that is housed in a converted shipping container, but I brought the other lens for outdoor shots where I could use the LEE Seven5 filters. The 7-14mm doesn't have a filter ring. Also, if I could have put filters on the 7-14mm they would have needed to be a lot larger. That's a big lens! It was a very long day, because I had to be up at 4am, get to the airport by 5am, fly to JHB, then get picked up by my client and driven to three different shooting locations. I only got home at 8pm that night and while I was feeling less than invigorated by then, I can only imagine how wiped I would have been had I been lugging a backpack or roller with me all day. It seems that not only was I able to take a lot of light capturing tools with me, they were light enough to not be a bother. View full article
  10. Dallas

    The Nothingness

    This desert seems to roll on without end. It's like one very long and undulating beach. Wherever you look there's only sand and more sand. It's nothing and everything all at once. A stark, barren reminder of just how harsh the earth's surface can be. At one time this place must have looked very different, perhaps it was full of vegetation once and slowly over millions of years it developed into this dry, sandy patch of the earth's skin. The geologists will have a theory on that, no doubt. But for me, in this moment, all I can see is nothing and nothing is more powerful than that. click to enlarge Taken handheld out of the window of the vehicle seen above (while it was moving). The images are of the dunes just outside Swakopmund on the Namibian coast. All taken with the Olympus OM-D E-M5 during an afternoon excursion to the region where we photographed chameleons, snakes and a variety of other life forms that somehow survive out there. If you'd like to join our small group (no more than 5) of photographers returning to this area in 2014 please get in touch.
  11. Dallas

    Safaris for 2014

    It is with a lot of pride and happiness that I can unveil for you today our new-look Photographers.travel website. I've worked really hard on this over the past month and a bit. The site has been completely re-designed with the main aim being to present as much useful information about the safaris we're offering in 2014 as possible. I do hope you like it and if you find any incorrect links or bugs please let me know. With that said I'd like to just give a quick overview of what we're offering in 2014, as well as what we're looking to do in 2015. The Namibia safari was very well received this year and based on feedback we've received from the Safarians who joined us on that trip we have decided to run it again next year, but with a little twist. The trip will be done in 2 segments, one dealing with the wildlife of Namibia and the other with the amazing landscapes. The two segments run back to back, so interested parties can join either segment, or both. In addition, Pepe has managed to get the ending of this trip to occur only a couple of days before the beginning of our feature trip for 2014 to Botswana. This makes it possible for Safarians who are doing the Namibia trip to fly back to Johannesburg, spend a couple of days there (or in Cape Town if they prefer) and then join us as we fly off to Botswana for that safari. The other main difference with the Namibia trip is that it will be limited to just 5 people max. Unfortunately I just can't be away from home and business for as long as I was this year, so Pepe will be the sole guide and driver on the next Namibia trip. I will however, be doing the Botswana trip, so if we get some Safarians to connect that one with the Namibia trip we will get to meet (if we haven't already done so). We are also offering the Ultimate Big 5 Safari to Sabi Sabi again in October! This is called the Ultimate Big 5 Safari because it is the ultimate wildlife safari. It just doesn't get any better for wildlife than this. Apart from that aspect, the friendship and joviality we all enjoy during this week is just fantastic. When you go onto our site please check out our testimonials from those who have already been on this one. It's a gas. Pepe is going to be working on getting dates for the same trips ready for 2015 that we will publish in February next year, plus we're also going to be adding a couple of other destinations in 2015 too. Pepe's recent trip to Uganda to photograph the silverbacks and chimpanzees was in her own words "simply mind blowing", so that trip is looking likely to be our feature safari in 2015. If you'd like to join in on any of our safaris for 2014 please just get in touch with me and I will send you the necessary forms to complete. Looking forward to more adventures with Safarians! Visit www.photographers.travel for the new look site.
  12. Dallas

    The Nothingness

    This desert seems to roll on without end. It's like one very long and undulating beach. Wherever you look there's only sand and more sand. It's nothing and everything all at once. A stark, barren reminder of just how harsh the earth's surface can be. At one time this place must have looked very different, perhaps it was full of vegetation once and slowly over millions of years it developed into this dry, sandy patch of the earth's skin. The geologists will have a theory on that, no doubt. But for me, in this moment, all I can see is nothing and nothing is more powerful than that. click to enlarge Taken handheld out of the window of the vehicle seen above (while it was moving). The images are of the dunes just outside Swakopmund on the Namibian coast. All taken with the Olympus OM-D E-M5 during an afternoon excursion to the region where we photographed chameleons, snakes and a variety of other life forms that somehow survive out there. If you'd like to join our small group (no more than 5) of photographers returning to this area in 2014 please get in touch. View full article
  13. Dallas

    Safaris for 2014

    It is with a lot of pride and happiness that I can unveil for you today our new-look Photographers.travel website. I've worked really hard on this over the past month and a bit. The site has been completely re-designed with the main aim being to present as much useful information about the safaris we're offering in 2014 as possible. I do hope you like it and if you find any incorrect links or bugs please let me know. With that said I'd like to just give a quick overview of what we're offering in 2014, as well as what we're looking to do in 2015. The Namibia safari was very well received this year and based on feedback we've received from the Safarians who joined us on that trip we have decided to run it again next year, but with a little twist. The trip will be done in 2 segments, one dealing with the wildlife of Namibia and the other with the amazing landscapes. The two segments run back to back, so interested parties can join either segment, or both. In addition, Pepe has managed to get the ending of this trip to occur only a couple of days before the beginning of our feature trip for 2014 to Botswana. This makes it possible for Safarians who are doing the Namibia trip to fly back to Johannesburg, spend a couple of days there (or in Cape Town if they prefer) and then join us as we fly off to Botswana for that safari. The other main difference with the Namibia trip is that it will be limited to just 5 people max. Unfortunately I just can't be away from home and business for as long as I was this year, so Pepe will be the sole guide and driver on the next Namibia trip. I will however, be doing the Botswana trip, so if we get some Safarians to connect that one with the Namibia trip we will get to meet (if we haven't already done so). We are also offering the Ultimate Big 5 Safari to Sabi Sabi again in October! This is called the Ultimate Big 5 Safari because it is the ultimate wildlife safari. It just doesn't get any better for wildlife than this. Apart from that aspect, the friendship and joviality we all enjoy during this week is just fantastic. When you go onto our site please check out our testimonials from those who have already been on this one. It's a gas. Pepe is going to be working on getting dates for the same trips ready for 2015 that we will publish in February next year, plus we're also going to be adding a couple of other destinations in 2015 too. Pepe's recent trip to Uganda to photograph the silverbacks and chimpanzees was in her own words "simply mind blowing", so that trip is looking likely to be our feature safari in 2015. If you'd like to join in on any of our safaris for 2014 please just get in touch with me and I will send you the necessary forms to complete. Looking forward to more adventures with Safarians! Visit www.photographers.travel for the new look site. View full article
  14. Guest

    Bamako, Mali

    I had the chance to photograph the national zoo in Bamako, Mali. I only got a few days there, prior to the zoo being open to the public but thoroughly enjoyed getting to meet the people and the zoo. Here are some impressions. Here is a link to my blog on the topic.
  15. What to do while waiting for the (last) X100 firmware update? This has been a very disjoint and busy summer that has left very little opportunity for exploring photography. Today somehow opened up and my wife and I jumped on the train to Chicago. I quickly checked if there really was a firmware update issued today; but possibly later. I grabbed the X100, a bottle of water, spare battery and headed for the train. We headed for a very special exhibit at the Chicago Art Institute: http://www.artic.edu/exhibitions/impressionism-fashion-and-modernity . To my surprise and unlike general policy there were no photographs allowed. But if you are interested in a great "course" in portraiture, lighting, tonal compression and artistic expression this would be a great exhibit to see. Many of the artworks are "borrowed" from around the world, so hopefully this will be a traveling exhibit and coming to a major gallery near you. By all photographic rules, the lighting was terrible for this trip. We were late for the morning golden hour and left before the evening golden hour and beautiful twilight in this city. The sky was cloudless. The X100 was up to the task, even with the "old" firmware. This is some of what we saw....
  16. From the album: Spain

    Sunrise at Costa del Sol

    © Rudy Van Acker 2013

  17. From the album: Spain

    Sunrise at Costa del Sol

    © Rudy Van Acker 2013

  18. From the album: Spain

    Sunrise at Costa del Sol

    © Rudy Van Acker 2013

  19. Photoworks

    Horse

    From the album: Spain

    Spanisch horse

    © Rudy Van Acker 2013

  20. Ok, here is day 4, being driven around the golden circle by a tour bus... (no, you did not miss day 3, I spent all of that day in meetings) Þingvellir, the historic site of their first parliament: Wide open landscape: Gullvoss: Crowds at Strokkur: (this is right next to the original Geysir, the one where all the others got their name from, which is no longer active) Kerið volcano crater: The above images where a quick run of the "Golden Circle" the standard tour for all tourists.... cheers afx
  21. On the second day in Iceland my plan was to drive from Reykjavik along the south cost to the east to see some waterfalls. But while the weather in Reykjavik was nice and sunny, the south cost was under a cloud cover and then rain. So we did not visit all the planned places but returned early. Still I managed to grab a few. The black and white images where planned as such even before the weather conditions intervened. Wood art or sign post next to the entrance of a camping place: Gluggavoss Seljalandsfoss: Relaxing in front of Seljalandsfoss: A very old ram, it looked like the horns are too long to permit regular grazing: Fresh air and life-support: Meditation in the sunset: Moon over Reykjavik. I was too intent on the beach in the other direction, so I totally forgot about the moon rise behind my back... cheers afx
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