May 092013

Last year I managed to keep the locations of my photos varied pretty well. I was able to switch between images taken from South Africa, Zambia, Rwanda, New York, Canada, Prague, Iceland and Italy. At the moment I’m feeling like all I’ve got are African shots and any Bermuda shots I manage to sneak out and take. So, I’ve decided to share some of my earliest photographs from my first real adventure.

I took a gap-year before heading to University, and got to head down to Bolivia and Peru. That’s where I became a bit of a travel addict and discovered I quite liked taking pictures, and wasn’t too bad at it either. I had a little Olympus point and shoot. I can’t remember the model but it was pretty robust. It survived walking a puma through the Bolivian jungle, 4-treks in Bolivia and Peru, and even sand dune boarding (also known as falling over a lot).

Driving across the Ayuni Salt Flats is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done in my life. Miles upon miles of whiteness, minimal landmarks, and no signs of civilization. When we were there, a thin film of water over the salt turned the entire place into one giant mirror. It was like driving in the clouds.

This shot is taken from on top of our jeep. In the picture, you can see one of the girls making her way on to the roof and in the one ahead, you can see the luggage rack is already loaded with people. It was an exhilarating ride, but the salt water splashing up turned all of our clothes into crusty messes.

Two red jeeps reflected with the sky and clouds on the Ayuni Desert Salt flats

Oct 112012

About Traverse Earth

I’ve added an about page. You can click the link above (just below the header) if you want to know a little bit more about me, about this site and what I’d like it to become or for info on how to license or purchase prints of my photos. I’ll also be adding some photos of me in action over the weekend.

Today’s Photo: Barge Music Beneath the Brooklyn Bridge

This is one of my older shots from New York. I was going through some old files and found this tone-mapped image that I hadn’t tweaked in Photoshop yet. I’d been having some trouble with it over a year ago and it got cast aside. I decided to give it another go and now I’m happy with the final result.

Party barge under the Brooklyn Bridge with golden lights reflecting on the river and bridges under a purple night sky in New York City.

May 192012

After taking the photo posted here I made my way back down off the rock. Once I got down on the sand, I noticed the fact that the sky was reflecting in the thin layer of water left by the retreating waves. So, I walked out to where it was about ankle deep when the waves came in and set my tripod up low to maximize the reflections. The water was causing the tripod to sink into the sand. As a result, I didn’t take my usual 7 exposures. Instead I only took 3 because if I had to mess around with the settings the tripod would have shifted between photos.

Horseshoe Bay Beach in Bermuda with the sky reflecting in thin layer of water left by retreating waves.


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Mar 062012

Waking up before sunrise is pretty easy when you’re sleeping in a mesh tent surrounded by the sounds of wild animals through the night. Light moving across the flat landscape was a welcome sign.

“You’ll hear animals through the night. They’re going to sound very close, but sound travels a long way here.”

That was the last thing our guide said to us before the group separated into their respective tents. It had been raining, a hard rain as reported in an earlier post, so our fly sheets were on. They were heavy with an almost rubbery feel. It didn’t take long until people emerged in the darkness, flashlights in hand, to remove the stifling material. The fear of another downpour led to discussions on whether to leave it on, leave them half on or take them completely off. My tent mate and I settled on taking it all the way off, but laying it down carefully so it could be pulled up rapidly if need be.

Following this we turned to the darkness. A quick waft of the flashlight revealed a disturbing number of glinting eyes – presumably hippos. Hippos that were already on land and probably only 50 meters from us – they looked back, not moving. I guess they were content to munch away on the long grass surrounding us. With this revelation we returned to our tents. Now, nothing but a thin mesh separated us from the elements, and the wild animals. To be honest, this is exactly what I was after. Why sleep in the bush if you’re just going to lock yourself away? Also, it was much cooler this way.

Just as I dozed off to sleep I was startled by the trumpeting of an elephant. It sounded like it had to be on the same island as us but I repeated the mantra “they sound closer than they are” and drifted off to sleep. I was woken regularly through the night by every noise you feel like a night in the African bush should provide. I heard hyenas, lions, more elephant trumpets, and hippos grunting. This was always punctuated by an eerie silence that you knew would be broken at any moment.

My tent-mate, however, was fortunate enough to be awake for our closest encounter. Having been on an elephant back safari just days before he was finely tuned to recognize the sound of elephant dung hitting the ground. He woke up to feel the ground moving and quickly recognized the thudding. It didn’t take long for him to conclude that an elephant was crapping right next to our tent. I asked if he’d turned on his light to take a look, but the closeness rendered him incapable of moving.

We awoke to a red sky, having survived the night, and exchanged the stories of sounds I’ve just recanted here. Then we hopped out to check the area. Sure enough, there was fresh dung right next to our tent.

Following this discovery I set about capturing the sun rise. I’ve got a lot of photos of this scene from the night before. I’m not happy with any of them. This morning, I took only one photo of this scene, and I’m thrilled by it. I find that I’m always happiest with photos I’ve had to wait to take. For this one, I identified where I thought that sun would be coming up, framed up the picture and waited. I waited for quite a while and the sky was pretty blue all the way across. I began to wonder if I’d misjudged the location of the sunrise and somehow missed it. Then the glow intensified and I knew it was about to peak over the horizon. 7 exposures later and I was packing up my gear.

Glorious star-burst sunrise peeking over the horizon on the Zambezi River in Zambia.