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Photographing the Namaqualand

Going to the Namaqualand I did what every photographer does packed my bag with everything, in the end I could have left it all behind and just took my 16-35mm as I took 90% 0f my photographs with it.

I found the the close focusing distance and shortness of the lens was handy, additionally small flowers are well defined. It’s not a macro by far but it works. I had a 100mm macro along and used it far less then I expected, just the length of the lens was a problem, seriously try to get under a 200mm bush with a camera that is 200mm, does not work well, take it from me. My wife however found it hilarious…

So how does one capture this splendour? I opted to try something very different, I call it the “ant view”, how would an ant see the flower? From under obviously, not all my shots are like that but very few are from the “human” view as well, in fact I tried my hardest not to do the “human” thing, it’s so snapshot  don’t you think? I also found a low aperture (f/2.8-4) advantageous, since flowers are in scattered bushes it give an illusion of depth, who said that photographers can’t be magicians? For some reason, I also found that shooting at 1/3 to a stop lower gave a far better contrast and definition to the final product, it may have to do with the blue sky.

I also shot a few panoramic composites, all prepared for HDR, only one worked as an HDR, the drama in the sky tell it all.

Scenes of Nababeep

Traveling the Namaqualand

Scenes of Nababeep

Firstly, the Namaqualand is a quasi desert, and even in this time of blooming and flowers, it is a barren forbidding place, dry and sandy. Here you will not find carpets of flowers, they do exist but few and far apart and mostly it’s an illusion. You will need to get out on foot and to your knees and elbows, lie down in the dirt to see them and appreciate them, you will need to see it as an ant sees the world. Therein lies the beauty, therein lies the miracle of nature. And suddenly the barren forbidding place becomes a place of infinite possibilities, a visual marvel, I’ll write more about that in my next post.

Some recommendations, if you want to do the Flowers of the Namaqualand, get yourself a 4×4. The roads, even the regional ones are in a really bad state, some are heavily corrugated, potholed sand roads, were as the so called tarred roads are damaged by time and lack of maintenance. The only good quality road we found was the N7, the national road. In the Namakwa District of the Northern Cape Province the rest of the roads leaves a lot to be desired.

As for camping, we used the Springbok Caravan Park and the Vrebe Caravan Park in Kamieskroon both supplied electricity and a clean environment. In my opinion the Vrebe Caravan Park is the better of the two and at just 70 km from Springbok and on the border of the Namakwa National Park it is the better choice. There is also a park adjoining Springbok, the Goegap Nature Reserve, you can go there with a car but as with the Namakwa National Park, there are many 4×4 trails and few are sand roads for sedans or the likes.

To find the flowers you will need to be a little adventurous and go deeper into the country side then you may expect. The tourist information centres at Clanwilliam (the best in my opinion) and Springbok will help you to find your way to them.

You can find good information here but I advice you to go to Clanwilliam’s Tourist Information Centre on your way to Springbok from Cape Town.

Finally, the preferred time to go to the Namaqualand is at the end of August beginning of September but all in all it depends on when the rain comes.

To see some of my photos of the Namaqualand go here.

Off to the mother city

I have not traveled, outside of my work, in a while now. Even less travel involving, well truth be told, no accommodation booking. We did not book because we will follow the flowers, we hope. Merely, we are off to the fabled flowers of the Namaqualand with a short stop in Cape Town. We decided to take our flight through Lanseria International Airport as opposed to the monstrous and complicated O.R.Tambo International Airport.

It’s a quiet start to what will turn out to be an adventure. 2 cameras, 2 photographers, 1 camper, 14 days and nowhere to go, everywhere to go. Just the way it should be.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Great photogenic places in South Africa – Part 2

Most probably, the most recognizable place in South Africa is Table Mountain in Cape Town. It is an amazing place to photograph, also a very hard one to get right and to be honest I still have to get there. But I will. I have the place to shoot from, the Milnerton beach.

Thanks to my good friend and photography enthusiast  Kevin Naicker, I have a photo to show you. This was taken at 19H45, yes that is late, from Otto Du Plessis Drive (Beach Blvd) in Blouberg.

Table_Mountainand_Cape_Town

Great photogenic places of South Africa – Part 1

Following my interview with Michelle Ashburner of South Africans You Should Meet, I got the idea of a series of posts on “South African Places You Should Go” having been around South Africa and found places that should be visited by all South Africans and tourist alike. Places of wonder,  light and inspiration that should not be missed. So for the next few weeks I will be sharing these with you. I will start with the “Great photogenic places of South Africa”, ideas and comments are welcomed. 

The one place that strikes me, the most in beauty and splendour is the Blyde Canyon in the Mpumalanga province. There is a wonder about standing on the edge of a canyon and felling the updraft from the plains below, walking along a chasm in the ground. Here you will see the 3 Roundavels, the Blydepoort Dam and beyond to the Kruger National Park. It just takes your breath away living you feel exhilarated and insignificant all at the same time.

The sight is unmistakable and beautiful. This is one place not to be missed whilst on you way to the Kruger National Park from Johannesburg.