Oct 152012

Travel Planning: Namibia

I’ve started putting some thought into my next adventure and Namibia will definitely play a part. A desert full of dead trees that can’t decay due to the total lack of moisture, sand-dune boarding, a hot air balloon ride across the shifting sands, the morning mist rolling onto the shore where the desert meets the Atlantic and desert wildlife including elephants, lions, and ostriches.

Yup, I’ll have some of that, please.

How can we afford this, you may ask? I’m still working on that. One thing’s for sure, I can’t pay for one of the packaged multi-day tours that cost a fortune. Instead, we’ll be hopping on buses to find our way around the country. I think our two bases will be the capital Windhoek (a hub for buses into and out of Namibia as well as around the country) and Swakopmund (the Namibian holiday town and activity center on the coast).

Whatever happens, it’ll be an adventure.

Today’s Photo: The last of the boathouse

This is the last of my shots of the peaceful marina on Lake Ontario in Niagara-on-the-Lake. The sunset lingered for a long time and after rushing around trying to find a nice view that didn’t involve scaling a fence I decided on this one. Unfortunately, there was still a fence in the way. I tried every single gate to see if one was unlocked but didn’t have any luck. Eventually, I hoisted my camera, tripod and all, above my head and wedged it into the chain links of the fence. I let it stop shaking about and used my cable release to fire off 3 bracketed images.


White boathouse and lighthouse showing reflections on calm water in marina on Lake Ontario in Niagara-on-the-Lake


Aug 312012

I saw this scene and really liked the way that the tree separated the bench and the sun drenched Old Fort Niagara across the water, in the US.  It makes the bench feel nicely isolated but gives you an idea of the expansive view. The lines, framing the scene the way they do, were what drew me into the scene. I’ve tried to process this numerous times, employing my usual HDR process and was never happy with the results. Whatever I did it always felt too busy.

Tonight, I had a bit of an epiphany. I’ve often thought to myself that I should be careful about only photographing scenes that strike me as good for HDR and make sure that I recognize when I’d be better off not using those techniques. This photo, was a prime example. The lines are very nice and the branches in the trees make for wonderful patterns. there’s enough going on that by bringing in the detail of the bench and tree the whole image gets far too busy.

I’m glad I’ve realized this and will try to stay sensitive to when I should just look to capture a silhouette. I am very fond of this technique. My first successes in photography involved snapping silhouettes, in Bolivia and Peru, with a little Olympus point-and-shoot ten years ago.

Bench and tree in silhouette with the sun drenched Old Fort Niagara across the water in the USA from Niagara-on-the-Lake in Ontario, Canada


Jul 022012

A beautiful, sunset in a quaint Canadian town, provided the perfect backdrop for this calm scene on the shores of Lake Ontario. This was taken just as winter was turning to Spring. It was an early Spring, hence the boats are on the dock rather than in the water chomping at the bit. The serene surface of the lake provided a perfect mirror to help show off the sky.

Only a chain-linked fence threatened to ruin the shot. In a panic, as the light looked ready to fade, I figure out how to use the fence in concert with my tripod to get the shot. You can read more about how I did that here.

Beautiful sunset on the shores of Lake Ontario, Niagara-on-the-Lake with a boat house and sail boats are on the dock with the lake reflecting the sky.

Jun 122012

Niagara-on-the-lake is a really pretty little town with a great location on the banks of Lake Ontario. That being said, I found it really difficult to photograph. Granted I didn’t give myself a lot of time there, but I found a lot of potentially good shots on the main street that were, unfortunately, ruined by cars parked along the road. If I were in charge there I’d ban parking of any motorized vehicle on that street to maintain the old small town feel. Unfortunately, I’m not in charge.

As it got closer to sunset I started getting a bit concerned about failing to get any photos for the evening, particularly as the sunset was getting interesting. I went down to the lake, but felt like every spot that looked like it would offer up a good vantage point was behind a fence. I feel like this a lot here in Bermuda. All the best viewpoints are on private property. It makes sense that people want these spots for their homes, but it’s really frustrating!

Eventually I found this spot. Initially, I got irritated trying to find somewhere to get a view over the fence surrounding the marina. Then, I had an epiphany. I attached my camera to my tripod and used it in a somewhat unorthodox way. The fence was chain-link so I opened up one of the legs and inserted it into the fence. It was a pretty flimsy support and made it pretty difficult to frame my shot. I had to wait until I was sure the camera had stopped bouncing around and then use my cable release to fire off three shots.

Sunset over a marina with sail boats on ground and masts reflecting at Niagara-on-the Lake in Ontario, Canada


Apr 142012

I was driving westward from the center of Nigara-on-the-Lake, chasing the sunset. The sky had lit up just above the horizon and I was trying to find somewhere to take a few photos of the last light. I came across a small park nestled in amongst a few houses and parked the car. I hurried across the park to find stairs down to the edge of the lake where there happened to be a beach. I fired off a few shots and then finished up with this one.

It was dark enough that setting a small aperture allowed me to smooth out the small waves on the lake and capture some of the underwater details. This is a composite of 7 photos bracketed from -3 to +3.

Last pink tinged light seen reflecting on calm Lake Ontario at Niagara-on-the-lake with rocky shoreline.

Apr 122012

It’s amazing what you can find when you leave the road and set off on foot. I pulled over because I saw a lone tree standing at the end of a dirt lane surrounded by dried up grape vines. The sun was setting behind it. I kept walking closer, trying to find a picture. I fired off a couple and then decided to continue on past the tree. It looked like it was at the precipice of a hill and I thought there my be a view out over the landscape from there. As it turned out, the elevation wasn’t as great as I’d expected. Despite that though, I’d stumbled upon this scene and quickly set about trying to capture it.


A pink and yellow sunset just before night falls with a serene lake and a row of tall fir trees reflecting in the water in Ontario.

Mar 312012

I got up early to photograph two specific locations at sunrise. One involved setting up in the middle of a small road. A small road that was surprisingly busy so early in the morning! So, that wasn’t an option. My second location was obscured by fog. So, I started driving around trying to find some shots. I actually got quite a few so it all worked out.

I spotted this barn from the road and began taking photos. Suddenly I realized I was no longer on the roadside and probably trespassing. I set up for this last shot before scampering. I don’t think anyone saw me, fortunately.

Inside of dilapidated wooden barn with hole in roof where cat perches with sunshine pouring in through all the holes in Niagara, Ontario.