Namibia – Portraits

25 11 2011

Note: Please click on theses images to view them full-size… they go a bit fuzzy when reduced down.

On my trip to Namibia there were three genres that I wanted to photograph;

  1. Ruinscapes (Kolmanskop etc.)
  2. Landscapes (Deadvlei, Wolverdens etc.)
  3. Portraits

I was particularly excited at the prospect of spending five days living with and photographing the Himba tribes of NorthWest Namibia.  While I had seen plenty of natural light photography, I really wanted to try to make different types of portraits of these photogenic people.

Inspired by the incredible personal work of Joey Lawrence, I packed my trusty Paul Buff Einstein light and my two favorite modifiers (Paul Buff 64″ Silver PLM and Westcott Apollo softbox) and decided to really try and make some stylistic environmental portraits using off camera flash techniques.

I had a ball making these images and I’m pretty happy with the way they turned out.  The beauty of the Einstein is that it throws out plenty of light and I can easily overpower the sun.  When I combine it with the ultra-efficient Parabolic Light Modifier (PLM), then I can easily get well over f64 of light out of the light setup which allows you to do some interesting environmental portraits during bright daylight.

Here's our rig in action. Jimmy (our translator) is holding the monopod.

Sometimes we used the sock over the PLM, and other times we shot with the straight silver bounce.   Most of the time we had our light on a light stand, but occasionally we put it on a monopod (as in the photo above).  While this is a 240v light, I use the Paul Buff mini vagabond to provide 240v on location… It’s incredibly small and light.

I also used my neutral density filter with some of the shots to open up my aperture and reduce the depth of field…. again to create more of a stylistic image.   I hope you enjoy the images.

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I’m Off On The Best Photo Trip In The World!

2 11 2011

Photo courtesy of Paul Bruins

OK, Maybe the title is a bit subjective, but thats how I feel.  On Friday I depart for a 2.5 week trip to Namibia.  I’ve been planning this trip for over a year and now it’s finally here.

I am travelling with one other photographer (Analia), and her husband Rob.  Together we are spending two weeks in a

Photo courtesy of Paul Bruins

Landcruiser photographing one of the most beautiful countries in the world.

We collect our 4WD in Windhoek (the capital).  It will be all decked out for camping with 2 fold out tents on the roof, fridge, BBQ, tables, chairs, camping gear etc.  We then head down to the Quiver Tree Forest near Keetmanskop,  then off to Luderitz which is on the coast.  The reason we are going here is to photograph two incredible ghost towns – Kolmanskop and Elizabeth Bay.  Both are ex diamond mining towns, and when the diamonds ran out, the people moved out.  What makes Kolmanskop especially interesting is that the desert has started reclaiming some of the buildings, so you get these incredible scenes of abandoned houses with sand dunes in them.   For me this is going to be a fun exercise in light, composition and colour.

Photo courtesy of Paul Bruins

Then we start heading up North to Wolwedans which has some absolutely gorgeous big landscapes.  We are staying in a private camp site all to ourselves with 4wd access roads into the park, so we can photograph at our leisure.

Photo courtesy of Paul Bruins

From there it’s a short hop up to Sesriem.  Our only luxurious accomodation for the trip. Here we are staying at the Sossus Dune Lodge which is inside the gates of the park.  The reason for this extravagence is so that we can photograph the incredible Dead Vlei at night…. I’m just dying to do some light painting here,  I think that it is the perfect subject for it and I have only ever seen two images that were shot at night in this location.

Then we drive for 3 days right up the North of the country to a town called Opuwo.  We pick up our local guide who is going to take us out for 5 days with various Himba tribes.  There I want to really focus on some environmental portraits using off camera flash.  We will go and visit the Epupa falls and the desert country of the North West.

Then back to Windhoek via Etosha National Park for one night of Wildlife viewing.

And then as if that wasn’t enough… when we get back to Windhoek again, a super talented local photographer called Sigi is going to line up a model for a shoot in a great looking ghost house.

This is going to be a photo trip of a lifetime as far as I am concerned.  2 weeks in country… chasing the light… eating, sleeping and breathing photography.  Life doesn’t get much better than that in my book.

Stay tuned, I’m not sure if I’ll be posting from the road, but I’ll sure as hell be posting when I get back.

Brent