Jul 022013
 

Having a few days off, with nothing to do, has resulted in me getting the photos I have to process organized. A lot of the photos I’ve released from my last trip to the Victoria Falls were taken under tricky conditions. I was surrounded by swirling mist which soaked both me and my equipment and obscured my view of the falls, making everything blurry and flat. I got clear shots the first time I was there, but there wasn’t much water about.

This picture, is actually of the first view of the falls you see when you enter from the Zambian side, but it was the last picture I took that day. Apparently, I’d figured out how to deal with the mist by this point. I think I’d gotten more patient, waiting for the mist to clear before clicking the shutter. Looking at the shots I took just before this one, I think I’ve got some more clear images to come.

The Victoria Falls at high water framed by surrounding lush green plantlife

Feb 212013
 

As you drive from Livingstone to the Victoria Falls, there’s a moment, before you get there, where you can see the mist reaching for the sky directly ahead of you. When you enter the park, before you feel the mist, you can hear the falls roaring in the distance. Before you can see the falls, you feel the air get moist and see the mist swirl around you as you pass the gate. Then, you stop, and your jaw drops as you see the massive curtain of water tumbling into the rift stretching ahead of you. But, this is just the beginning. The gorge continues on and on as you continue to walk. Eventually you reach the end of Zambia, totally soaked to the skin, camera gear screaming for mercy, and the curtain of water disappears into a cloud of mist where it crosses the border to Zimbabwe.

It was at this point that I stopped and watched three tourists, far more prepared than me, with a guide and ponchos, gaze upon what is considered one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

Four tourists in ponchos view the Victoria Falls waterfall in the Batoka Gorge surrounded by swirling mist

 

Dec 282012
 

Ah, Victoria Falls… I may be seeing you again soon. I just hope I can get over this bloody flu before flying out in two days!!!

The Victoria Falls waterfall in Zambia in dry season

Nov 262012
 

I’ve been talking with my travel buddy a lot today about our future plans. We’re confident that we’ll be going to Livingstone and the Victoria falls. This will be my second visit and her first. As you may be aware the last time I was there I went swimming in the Devil’s Pool. As it turns out, it looks like the water levels will still be low enough when we get there for us to take a dip atop the falls. I am very much looking forward to watching the look on her face as she takes the plunge.

With that in mind, I thought I’d post a picture capturing what we’re likely to see as we make the walk to the Devil’s Pool. Last time, this beautiful double rainbow greeted me shortly before we prepared to swim across the top of that waterfall to the Devil’s Pool. When I hung my head over the edge and looked down from the Devil’s Pool I realized that rather than a double rainbow there was actually a triple rainbow in the swirling mist. Next time I’m there I hope to get down to the falls for some sunrise/sunset shots.

A double rainbow in the mist of the Victoria Falls waterfall in Zambia

 

Nov 202012
 

I’m planning on making my way back here in January. I can’t wait to see the cliff to the left, and actually the very spot where I was standing to take this picture, inundated by flowing and tumbling white water.

View into the Batoka Gorge from the cliffs, site of the Victoria Falls, during dry season.

Nov 072012
 

The Victoria Falls during the dry season was an incredible experience. The gorge ripped open by the force of the Zambezi was clearly on display. We were able to walk across the top of the falls to swim in the Devil’s Pool and hang our heads over the edge, and I was able to take this photo of the rainbow born of the spray from the torrent just around the corner.

I enjoyed my time there so much that I’m planning on going back in January. This will give me the chance to experience the full power of the falls as it will be during the wet season. I’m also hoping to coordinate my visit with the full moon in the hope that I’ll get to see the lunar rainbow.

View of the Victoria Falls, Zamabia during the dry season with a torrent of water and a rainbow between the gorge.

May 122012
 

My Tripod Search

On my gear page I mention that I’m not fully satisfied with my current tripod and mentioned one set of legs I’m considering. I’m going to be expanding this section soon because the more I look round the more options I find. I’ve got a good idea of what I want. The legs max height needs to be about 5’3″. At this height, the tripod head plus the height of my camera should get the viewfinder to eye level for me. It also needs to be able to set up with the legs spread out flat so I can shoot from ground level. With this in mind I don’t want a center column, as they reduce stability when extended and make getting the camera to ground level difficult. With setup in mind, one thing I like about my Benro Angel is the twist locks on the legs. So, that’s something I’ll definitely be looking for in my replacement. Additionally, I want to go as light as possible so will be looking at buying carbon fiber. These parameters are pretty easy to fulfill, but I also want it to fit in a carry on. This is where things get tricky. Hopefully, I’ll find something suitable soon as I want to bring it to Iceland with me in June.

Today’s Photo: Victoria Falls and Batoka Gorge

After crawling out on a ledge for the photo posted here, I set up in a much safer position on the other side of the tree. I still can’t believe how unrestricted we were at the top of the falls. This day Shannon and I had gone back to the falls without a guide and just walked right along the edge in search of photos. We did have one scary moment though. On the way back to the parking lot, I’m pretty sure we encountered the biggest baboon in the world. It was terrifying and grunting. It definitely did not sound like it was in a good mood. We backed off and hid behind a bush as it crossed the path and disappeared.

View of Victoria Falls and Batoka Gorge in Zambia with giant tree branch reaching towards waterfall cascading down to green pool of water.

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Apr 132012
 

In a previous post (Dip on a Rebel Elephant) I wrote about how Soniko and Chris’s elephant was a bit of a rebel. Here, early in the trip, you can see it stopping for an unplanned snack. I feel I should mention that Soniko and Chris didn’t plan on getting so cozy atop a munching herbivore. When the elephants were being assigned, there were three available for single riders. A man there with his two daughter’s jumped at the opportunity, quickly followed by Soniko and Chris. Unfortunately, one of the elephants decided that it didn’t feel like going for a walk so was left behind, putting Chris and Soniko on the worst behaved elephant they had. Sharing was probably a good thing, at least they could share some of the trauma they went through. This included charging through thorn bushes, swimming through crocodile infested water, and regular breaking into a trot as the handler tried to slow it down. All the while, they must have heard the sound of Shannon and I laughing off in the distance. All summed up though, they definitely had the most adventure.

Soniko had a knack for finding himself in the most exciting situations. It was interesting because, as he readily admits, he was the person in the group least interested in the more adrenaline filled aspects. Despite this, he got to sit closest to the open doors of a Huey Helicopter, in Cape Town, for a simulated combat ride. He was first to get thrown from our raft on the rapids of the Middle Zambezi. He was even the first to get involved in a staring match with an agitated silver-back gorilla in Rwanda (until he snuck behind Cameron as evidenced by this video… watch the navy blue legs move behind the khaki ones). That being said, he survived it all and definitely seemed to enjoy himself.

I’ve mentioned before that it’s not easy shooting while straddling a lumbering elephant. My three exposures for this shot weren’t even close to being lined up. As a result, this is an HDR image from a single RAW.

Three men sitting atop a large elephant as he takes a detour to eat from a tasty tree in Zambia.

Apr 022012
 

During the wet season water cascades over these cliffs. During the dry season you get to walk along them. It’s amazing how the water carves this chasm in the landscape. While down in the gorge rafting I felt like we were surrounded by mountains. As a result, when I went micro-lighting a couple of days later I was shocked to see just how flat the landscape is. It’s completely flat, all the way to the horizon, but for this fissure gouged out of the Earth’s surface. Also shocking is the zig-zag shape of the gorge as the waterfall has cut back on itself, forever retreating, the old face of the waterfall being left dry as a new face evolves.

I shot 7 exposures bracketed from -3 to +3 but decided that the two extremes were not adding any detail so I only used 5 exposures, bracketed from -2 to +2. After running the exposures through Photomatix I actually masked in a lot of the original photos to keep the shadows looking natural. I really like the details that have come out in the turbulent water below. You can get a closer look by clicking the image and selecting a larger size.

View of Batoka Gorge, Zambia with a rainbow between the gorge above the flowing river.

Feb 202012
 

Victoria Falls at low water lets you really explore the falls. They have a real untouched feel about them. On one side there’s a simple path leading you past views across the Batoka Gorge. On the other side you can leave the path to walk across the top of the cliffs. There’s nothing to stop you walking right up to the edge, as you can see in this picture.

I’ll be visiting Niagara Falls in March and wonder how it will compare. I’m expecting a lot more attention to be paid to safety, distancing you from the falls. I’m also expecting there to be buildings visible all around the falls. Maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised. It’ll certainly make for great photos either way.

Victoria Falls at low water showing Batoka Gorge in Zambia.