(© Ian Plant) Over the past few weeks I've shared a number of my favorite images from my trip to Namibia (in several posts including Photography, Copyright, and the Internet; Dynamic Spacing; Kolmanskop Ghost Town; and Quiver Tree Forest). For this post, I've decided to present my final five unshared photos. If you are interested in seeing more photos from Namibia, you can download a free copy of Namibia: Two Photographers, One Vision, a 60-page ebook I put together with my colleague Richard Bernabe.
"The Red Planet"—Namib-Naukluft National Park
Namibia's Namib-Naukluft National Park contains some of the largest sand dunes in the world. I climbed several hundred feet up a massive dune in order to get this dizzying perspective. Using an ultra-wide angle lens, I pointed my camera down and excluded the featureless sky. As the sun set, the deeply rippled sand formed shadows, which created lines powerfully leading from foreground to background. Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital Camera, Nikon AF-S Zoom Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED AF Lens, Novoflex EOS/NIK-NT Lens Adapter for Nikon G Type Lenses to Canon EOS DSLR Cameras, ISO 100, f/16, 1/10 second.
"Mirror Image"—Etosha National Park
I was immediately attracted to the symmetry formed by these two zebras drinking from a water hole. They were very skittish; I only managed to get off a few frames before this brief moment of symmetry ended. Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital Camera, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS Lens, Canon 1.4x EF Extender III (Teleconverter), ISO 400, f/11, 1/320 second.
"Home Sweet Home"—Cape Cross Seal Colony
The Cape fur seal colony at Cape Cross is one of the most incredible—and smelliest—places I've ever been to. There were thousands upon thousands of seals at this location; the noise, the smells, and the sights I will not soon forget. For this image, I used a telephoto perspective on a distant portion of the colony in order to achieve a "compressed" look. I stopped down quite a bit to ensure focus from near to far in the scene. Now if I can only get the seal stink off my equipment! Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital Camera, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS Lens, ISO 800, f/14, 1/100 second.
"Mud Wrap"—Etosha National Park
Several interesting stories emerge from this picture of an old bull elephant at a water hole. The elephant had covered itself with mud, telling the story of an animal trying to beat the heat. It’s missing right tusk adds an element of mystery to the photo: How did it lose the tusk? Was it in a fight with another elephant? These mysterious tidbits are what I like to call “story cues”—they’re the elements of a photo that get viewers interested in the subject’s story. Just as a good composition visually entices the viewer, story cues can encourage the viewer to linger and study an image. Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital Camera, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS Lens, ISO 200, f/8, 1/1250 second.
"The Spirit of Africa"—Etosha National Park
The whole time I was in Namibia, I was on the search for an image which screamed "AFRICA" in big capital letters. The two elephants greeting each other at this water hole (near my fenced-in camp) during twilight seemed perfect, but to add a sense of place, I zoomed out to include the tree in the background. The lone bird flying by (you can see its shadow on the left-side elephant) was the icing on the cake. Even though the water hole was lit by floodlights, I was working in extremely low light, so I shot wide open at a high ISO. Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital Camera, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 SP Di VC USD Zoom Lens for Canon, ISO 6400, f/2.8, 1/60 second.
Well, that's pretty much it for my Namibia images! I'll be returning in 2014 to lead my Wild Namibia Photo Tour (which is sold out). I can't wait to go back!