Feb 162012

After yesterday’s difficulty getting inspired to process any photos I came home over my lunch-break and decided to work on a photo that I’ve attempted and failed at a few times in the past. Finally, I think I’ve cracked it. Incidentally, does anyone know what the flowers in this photo are called?

This is another photo from the Paradis Malihide. Rising early, in the hopes of capturing the sun as it peeked over the horizon, I discovered that it was, once again, completely overcast. I never figured out where the sun rose and where it set while there because the cloud cover was so thick. Nonetheless, it was still a beautiful spot and I wasn’t going to let the clouds stop me. So, I went in search of photos where the sky didn’t have to be a prominent feature. I came across this scene and thought it was a great subject for HDR. It’s almost like two images, allowing your eye to wander over the flowers in the foreground before moving on to look at the boat and the hills in the distance.

People would arrive on package tours and pile into this little boat to cruise off down the lake. It was amazing how many people they stuffed into this thing. It was an interesting contrast watching the tourists in their bright orange life-jackets motoring back in for a nice dinner while the fishermen in dark rain jackets, t-shirts or shirtless plied their oars and sang their songs on their way for another chilly, wet night out on the lake.

I’m not a package tour person, probably because I don’t like being herded around. We spend enough time in our working lives getting told what to do. Why go off on holiday and do the same? I met a couple of Californian guys while in Prague who had embraced this concept. They’d decided they needed a break and managed to negotiate three weeks off – supposedly no easy feat in the US – to head for Europe. When I ran into them all they had planned was their flight home from Amsterdam. I spent about an hour eating lunch with them as they tried to figure out their next destination. They’d narrowed it down to Germany when I arrived, and hadn’t gotten much further when I eventually left. Once I ran into them later, at about 9pm, it was sorted. They were leaving at 6am on their way to Hanover.  It’s a great way to travel, waking up in one place, not knowing where you’ll be the next day.

View from Paradis Malihide, Rwanda with flowers (umuko tree-a.k.a. flame tree) in the foreground, tour boat on the lake, and the green terraced hills in the distance.



Feb 082012

I’ve said before that everywhere you look in Rwanda seems to present a photo opportunity. Here’s more evidence. This was taken on the way up to the national park to visit the mountain gorillas. It was our first water break. I extended it by taking my time setting up for this photo. It was a tough walk.

Countryside in Rwanda, green fields and mountains under a beautiful sky.

Jan 272012

We didn’t have much of an issue with insects while in Africa, except for one member of our group with an odd fear of moths, and the men’s bathroom in Lusaka airport. It was like a horror movie. Lights flickering, bugs flying around and making the floor squirm along with the shuffling of an individual sweeping live bugs to the corners. Horrifying, but an experience none the less.

The reason I’m going on about bugs is that the flowers in this photo are farmed in Rwanda and used to make a natural insect repellent. I took this photo on our way up to see the mountain gorillas in the volcanoes national park. I’ve mentioned before that it was a tough walk. Pausing to set up for a photo is a great way of taking a rest without admitting that you need one. This is made easier by the fact that wherever you look in the Rwandan countryside you’re confronted with a beautiful view.

I’m pretty sure this is also the hillside where I left my Black Rapid camera strap. If you haven’t heard of these camera straps you should check them out. They let the camera hang comfortably at your hip or lower back and the connection system prevents the strap from twisting and getting in the way when you raise the camera to your eye. Going without it in Prague made life a little more difficult for me, I’ll be ordering a new one this weekend.

This photo is comprised of 7 images ranging from -3 to +3. I had to open up the aperture to get the flowers sharp enough. Unfortunately, I’ve traded off depth of field and the background gets a bit blurry. I’ve started experimenting with blending photos at different apertures to capture moving subjects while maintaining the depth of field only achievable with a smaller aperture. As soon as I find some success with this I’ll post an example.

View of mountains, clouds, green landscape, and white flowers farmed in Rwanda and used to make a natural insect repellent.