Etosha Wildlife

I went to a travel expo when I was around 15, and came home with nothing but brochures about African safari tours. Twenty-odd years later, and I finally had the opportunity to go, assisting Martin Bailey to lead his Complete Namibia Tour and Workshop over the last three weeks.

The trip ended with three days in Etosha National Park, a 22,000 square kilometre game reserve, home to hundreds of species of animals, including several which are endangered, including the black rhinoceros.

I don’t do a lot of wildlife photography, so I found myself struggling a little on the first day with an interesting problem to have – there were just too many animals! At the Okaukuejo Waterhole, there was literally a rotating cast of hundreds of zebra, wildebeest, oryx, impala and springbok. It was hard to decide where to point the camera, and then once you’d composed a shot, another animal would come along and stick their head or butt into the frame. Like I said, a good problem to have.

The following days I found my groove a little more, relishing the opportunity to photograph lions, elephants, giraffes and more. The trip came to a wonderful conclusion with an afternoon spent watching and photographing a herd of around 40 elephants arrive, drink & play, and then leave a waterhole.

Click below for the full gallery.

Sleeklens Lightroom Workflow

I’ve been meaning to get out and shoot some landscapes for the last couple of weeks, after the folks at Sleeklens sent me a copy of their “Through The Woods” Lightroom Workflow for Landscapes. I finally managed to get out the door early this morning and head out to Oxley Creek Common, an area of grazing land not far from home.

Turns out it’s not a great spot for my usual wide-open landscapes, with power lines and warehouses running through the background, so I focused first on this fence running away into the early morning fog.

Here’s the straight-out-of-camera photograph. A little dull, huh?

And below is the final product after running through the Sleeklens workflow. Remember that word “workflow”. More on that later.

And of course, although it’s called a Landscape Workflow, the presets can be used on non-landscape photos too. I came across this kookaburra sitting on a low branch, no doubt waiting for some prey to stir. Again, the straight-out-of-camera versions of each shot is first, followed by the finished product.

I’ve tried a lot of Lightroom Presets, most of which are a blunt instrument – one click results in broad scale changes which, if you’re lazy, give you a final product. Or, of course, you can use them as a starting point for further refinement.

The Sleeklens presets work differently. Sure there are some “All In One” traditional-style presets, but the real power comes from the stackable workflow, which allows you to select a base tone, then make some exposure adjustments, colour corrections, tone and tint adjustments and final polishes.

But it doesn’t end there. Sleeklens also includes thirty local adjustment brush presets, which let you go in and make adjustments and corrections to specific parts of the image. The end result is a much more customisable use of presets and adjustment brushes than the one-click “instagram filter” approach of many other presets.

If you’d like to try the Through The Woods workflow yourself, it can be purchased for $39 USD from Sleeklens.

From Japan to Namibia

If you’ve known me for a while, you might remember that I took a trip to Japan in January 2015, to take part in one of Martin Bailey’s Hokkaido Winter Landscape tours. And I loved every minute of it.

Firstly, for the opportunity to meet photographers I’ve known, or known of, for a long time on line, including Martin and David DuChemin. But also it was fantastic to meet new people from all over the world, and develop friendships with a bunch of people who share a passion for photography and travel. Among others on the trip I took, we had a Scottish guy who lived in Sweden, a Romanian who lives in Dubai, an American who lives in Shanghai, and a Brit who lives in Hong Kong. It’s fair to say it was an eclectic bunch!

Add to that, the opportunity to visit locations that I never would have otherwise, and to shoot amazing minimalist winter landscapes that I’ve never experienced before, and you can see why it’s one of my favourite experiences of recent years.

So, I’m sure you can imagine how thrilled I was to chat with Martin this week and be invited to accompany him and help lead his 2017 Namibia Tour and Workshop. Taking place in June 2017, the tour is a 17-day adventure through Namibia in open-top Land Rovers, visiting National Parks and shooting wildlife, landscapes and people in some wonderful looking locations.

My participation depends on numbers – I’ll be the co-host in the second vehicle if enough people sign up for the tour before July 15 – and it looks like places are filling up pretty quickly. So, if you’ve ever thought of taking a photographic safari through Africa, or you’d like to have an experience meeting new, like-minded people from all around the world in a great location, head on over to Martin’s page and sign up now.

Weekend Wanderlust – The Great Ocean Road

Those of you who have known me for a while may remember that, back in 2010, I drove from Brisbane, through Western New South Wales and South Australia, to Adelaide. After meeting my wife in Adelaide, we then drove across the southern coast to Melbourne, via the Great Ocean Road.

I’ve been thinking about that trip recently, particularly this snake which I lay down on a boardwalk and got very close to in order to photograph. Mostly, I found myself wondering what kind of snake it was, and how much danger I placed myself in. Turns out it was a White-Lipped Snake. Slightly venomous, but mostly harmless.

While digging these photographs out of the archives, I thought I’d revisit a couple of landscapes from the Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road. You can click on the second one to download it as a desktop wallpaper.

Click the image to download a desktop wallpaper version Click the image to download a desktop wallpaper version

Hokkaido Day 8

Today we photographed boats.

Here are some boats.

And here’s a Northern Pintail.

Kinsgcliff

I’m in Kingscliff in Northern NSW for the weekend. Time for some fun with the camera.

Fun with flora
Fun with flora
Fun with fauna
Fun with fauna
Fun with clouds and rainbows
Fun with clouds and rainbows
Fun with the Lee Big Stopper
Fun with the Lee Big Stopper
Fun with camera movement
Fun with camera movement