Reviving the Sheer Joy of Photography
Not too long ago, we successfully concluded the final TWR safari in Botswana and Zimbabwe. A great trip with eager and capable participants signaled the end of our TWR activities. What to do next?
Hopping a plane to Windhoek, we collected our rental truck and set the compass for a seven-week sojourn throughout Namibia and South Africa.
Now that might seem odd to begin another safari just after concluding my TWR photo safari. Truth be told, I needed the spark of shooting without time constraints in order to re-fresh my creative energies and ponder the next chapter.
The result was reward in itself: lessons learned, creativity re-kindled, images captured.
Sossusvlei in the Namib-Naukluft National Park offers the rich, deep orange hues of towering sand dunes that strongly contrast with the harsh grey-white of the surrounding salt and clay pans. Visual overload is the norm here!
The shifting sands create the stunning geometric forms that criss-cross the dunes, while the angle and movement of the sun at sunrise and sunset influences the colors cast upon the dunes — characteristic of the highest dunes in the world.
Dining at Sossusviel Lodge was a culinary adventure. The evening buffet of perfectly grilled wildebeest, zebra, springbok, orek, kudu and warthog proved a hearty change from our routine diet of beef and pork.
The Dunes in Sossusvlei bobbiegoodrich©2013
Deadvlei is a large ghostly expanse of dried white clay where you see the skeletons of ancient camel thorn trees between 500-600 years old.
Swakopmund is the Bavarian-influenced town on the notorious Skeleton Coast and a delightful hodge-podge of the eclectic – think German architecture populated with an exotic mix of inhabitants. Herero women in Victorian dress, fisherman, artists and straight-laced German settlers all walk the streets.
Damaraland, located north along the Atlantic coast on the rim of the Grootberg Plateau offers dramatic vistas for photographing the landscape akin to a grand canyon. Also sighted were desert-adapted black rhinos that inhabit this surreal landscape, desert elephants, and the two resident lions.
Resident Lion in Grootberg bobbiegoodrich©2013
Epupa Falls on the banks of the Kunene River in Kaokoland, is a remote and isolated region of Namibia bordering Angola where the Himba tribal people reside.
The Himba Village: Isolated and clinging to their traditions, the Himba breed cattle and goats. Traditionally both men and women are topless and wear skirts or loincloths made of animal skins. The hairstyle of the Himba girls indicates age and social status. Children have two plaits of braided hair. From the onset of puberty, the girls’ plaits are moved to the face, over their eyes. Married women wear headdresses with many streams of braided hair, colored and put in shape with otjize, a mixture of butter, ash, and ochre used for protection from the harsh desert climate.
Himba Girls bobbiegoodrich©2013
Etosha National Park, known as “the great white place or place of emptiness,” this park teams with wildlife of over 100 species of mammals and over 400 species of birds; a daunting place even for just brief visit. This is wildlife at its truest definition.
The Okaukuejo floodlit water hole provides ample opportunities for night photography. The most populated water hole in the park, it attracts large groups of zebras, warthogs, and kudus frolicking in the water until well after midnight.
A major stroke of luck: we spotted the somewhat elusive “white elephants,” so named because of their white skins that result from prevailing winds that raise clouds of white earthen dust devils. At times the dust is so thick, it reduces visibility to a mere hundred meters. We captured great images of these ghostly creatures.
Okaukuejo Water Hole bobbiegoodrich©2013 White Elephant bobbiegoodrich©2013
Africat Foundation: A non-profit committed to long-term conservation and protection of threatened cheetah, leopard and other wild cats of Namibia. The organization aims to teach abused or abandoned cats self-sustaining behaviors, enabling them to return to their natural environment.
Our stay was both enlightening and uplifting – we learned that the human-wildlife conflicts along the borders of the Etosha National Park usually end in the destruction of large numbers of livestock as well as lions. As one park ranger put it: “In the Africa of 2050, most cat species will survive only where people choose to tolerate them.”
Franschoek is a place of outstanding natural beauty where one is challenged to find an inferior glass of wine or a disappointing meal. Over five indulgent days we sampled South Africa’s most exquisite wines, luxury accommodations, and fabulous dining in the picturesque countryside.
Our last stop – a 130,000-acre private reserve, amongst the most beautiful in the world. Photos galore of the big five – lions, buffalo, leopards, elephants, rhino – as well as zebra, kudu, springbok and mini-antelope.
Also home to the only free-roaming, self-sustaining prides of white and tawny lions. White lions are neither a sub-species nor albino but rather, normal lions blessed with a mutant color inhibitor gene giving them white fur coats and striking light blue eyes. They’re elusive by nature and of course, quite rare.
Good fortune struck on our last outing. We were rewarded with full hard drives and an even deeper respect for a Nature that creates such magnificent creatures.
Home – Renewed and Ready
The investment in this long but rewarding trip is undeniable. Being back amongst the creatures of this magnificent land for the sheer delight of practicing my craft proved to be my much needed tonic .
Refreshed and re-charged, I’m happily at work on the next phase of my photo journey. My new Santa Fe workshop studio – complete with stunning views and conveniently located three miles from downtown – will be where my first 2013 workshop will take place: “HOW TO WOW: Mastering the Creative Flow” – scheduled for August 8-12.
Also in the planning are exciting collaborative workshops in Santa Fe with Tony Sweet and Guy Tal and other outstanding photographic artists.
I am confirming dates and details for my upcoming 2014 Workshop Tours: Primate Safari to Rwanda scheduled for September 2014; Kenya for the annual Great Migration in August 2014; as well as Argentina, and Camargue. Email me if you would like to be added to my Interest List: firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit my website for more information regarding workshops and tours: http://www.bobbiegoodrich.com
Wishing everyone a creative and inspired 2013!