Monthly Archives: October 2016

Nature Photography

46The term Nature Photography refers to a large genre of photography that deals with natural occurring elements and the great outdoors.

Some subjects of Nature Photography would be Wildlife and animals, flowers, trees or plants, spiders, snakes and insects, landscapes, seascapes and other land formations. Photographic views can range from extreme macro photography or closeups to large panoramic triptych style photographs. Unlike documentary photography and Fine Art Photography which deal with a subject matter or artist point of view, Nature Photography usually aim to be more aesthetically pleasing. Nature Photography tries to express the beauty of its subject through color, depth and perspective.

Nature Photography is a very broad term and so contains many subcategories. Some of the more popular categories and subjects are Wildlife, Landscapes, Seascapes, Plants and many more.

Wildlife photography deals with the animal kingdom, from elephants to dung beetles, Salmon to Sharks, Penguins to Pot Bellied Pigs. Wildlife photographers try to catch their subjects in their natural habitats and normal behavior.

Landscape Photography attempts to capture the grand nature of our surrounding. The subjects of landscape photographers are usually land masses, mountains and mountain ranges, sunsets and cloud formations, waterfalls and coastal vistas. The presence of humans are usually void from landscape photos in attempt to capture the raw beauty of a scene unhampered by mans hand.

Seascape Photography looks to capture the sea and its many faces. The presence of humans or animals in seascape photography is neither required nor prohibited. There are many beautiful panoramic views of the ocean with a whale or a boat present. Seascapes also are related to the beach scene category which would include beaches, water, coastline, tropical scenes and maybe a sunset.

Plant photography deals with all forms of plant life, from flowers to vegetables, from trees to moss. Plant photography usually deals with closeups, still shots and macro photography. Flowers and extreme closeups are a popular theme of plant photography.

Nature Photography is a large category unto its self as all the many sub categories could technically be termed Nature Photography as they clearly fall under the umbrella of Nature.

Some of the most famous Nature Photographers would be Ansel Adams who pioneered Landscape Photography with his amazing black and white photos of beautiful vistas around the United States. Another would be Galen Rowell who was a photojournalist and became famous for his beautiful landscape photography. Other names would include William Henry Jackson, Eliot Porter, David Muench and Philip Hyde to name a few.

Nature is still the most popular category of photography today. Whether Nature pictures are taken professionally or by the vacationing amateur, the category of Nature Photography goes on strong and is here to stay.

Physical and Spiritual Health Benefits of Nature Photography As Your New Hobby

45The primary reason you should take up adventure nature photography as your new hobby is that it promotes physical health and wellbeing. Physical health is important in all of our lives, and often it is difficult or mundane to force yourself to exercise in a repetitive routine. Many Americans suffer from obesity and a lack of physical activity is the cause for this disease. Taking up an active hobby such as adventure nature photography helps promote physical exercise in a unique and interesting manner. When I began gathering nature pictures and taking little hikes with my son in 2004, I weighed in at over 270 pounds. I was seriously out of shape, but now I weigh in at a trim 180, and have lost 90 pounds doing something fun and exciting.

Another important reason you should consider adventure nature photography is mental and spiritual health. Thousands of people suffer from anxiety and depression all over the world, and this is often caused by a lack of perspective in what really matters. If you take up adventure nature photography as your new hobby, the cares and concerns of work, school and the everyday stressful tasks of life will begin to melt away as you focus on the beauty and peaceful creation all around you. When you consider the way that God takes care of his creation, and that nature does not stress and worry about money or about what is going to happen tomorrow, we can then possibly begin to believe that he will, in his own way and time, take care of us even more than he does the animals and flowers in nature.

One of the greatest benefits of becoming an adventure nature photographer is that it will give you an interesting reason to spend more time with your friends and family. Loneliness can lead to depression and anxiety, and having a friend or a loved one to share a nature photography experience with helps to build and strengthen your relationship. Husband and wife, as well as parent and child relationships, are critical in all societies and cultures; as family is the primary building block of all our lives. I often will consider going to the mountains by myself, and when I picture doing this in my mind I think to myself, “I would be lonely going on my own”, so I will ask my wife and kids if they want to go with me.

Although you may be concerned that you will not be able to hike if you are seriously out of shape or have another physical disability. You can begin by walking and hiking just a little at a time (such as walking in your back yard or neighborhood), and this will help you to build strength and endurance. Then again, you may be concerned that nature photography will be too expensive and you simply will not be able to afford a camera or equipment. However, quality point and shoot digital cameras are fairly inexpensive in today’s market and you can obtain a high resolution digital camera that is easy to use and operate for less than a hundred dollars.

In conclusion adventure nature photography is an exciting hobby, which promotes physical health and vigorous exercise in an interesting way. When you have an interesting hobby such as nature photography, your focus will begin to see God’s provision for creation and this helps you to mentally shift from monotonous daily routines, thus relieving stress and anxiety. Quality friend and family relationships are critical in all of our lives, and often an interesting reason to spend quality time together is all that we need. So, If you suffer from physical, mental or even spiritual health issues; and would like a way to spend more time with family and friends, you should consider adventure nature photography as your new found hobby.

A Nature Photographer’s Dream!

44Dolomite Camp is the newest camp in Etosha and there seem to be many myths circulating about this camp and the western part of Etosha, also known as the ‘Wild West’. We would like to clear up the myths by describing our recent five-day photographic safari at this wonderful camp.

Landscape Photography

Dolomite camp is situated high up on a dolomite hill overlooking the plains below so if you enjoy Olifants camp in the Kruger Park you will love this camp with its magnificent panoramic views.

There are 20 en-suite chalets built on elevated wooden decks situated on the outer edge of the dolomite ridge – 12 chalets face west and 8 face east providing opportunities to photograph magnificent sunrise and sunsets from the comfort and privacy of your chalet. In addition to the sun you will have Rolling hills, open plains, saline pans, dolomite outcrops and herds of plains animals to include in your landscape photographs.

Macro Photography

At night the lights in the chalets attract thousands of insects in summer that will provide you with macro opportunities. We had praying mantids, cicadas, moths and many other insects waiting for us each morning. In addition you have various trees such as the red bushwillow and purple-pod terminalia whose pods provide ideal subjects for macro photography.

Bird Photography

The camp attracts many different birds such as bul-buls, starlings, bee-eaters, shrikes, hornbills, swallows and sunbirds. In addition we had martial eagles, bateleurs and vultures flying past and at night we had owls making their appearance.

Wildlife Photography

We were anxious about visiting Dolomite camp as we had heard that there are very few animals in western Etosha and the ones you find are scared of cars and will run away from you. Don’t believe it!

Western Etosha is a pristine wilderness area that has never been opened to the general public or tourists in the last 100 years so you should feel privileged to be able to visit it. Yes the animals are a bit skittish so when arriving at a waterhole don’t come thundering in at 60 kilometers per hour with tires crunching on gravel and clouds of dust billowing up behind you and expect the animals to stand still! If you drive in slowly the animals will watch you but they will stay put allowing you to photograph them.

We saw hundreds of animals including 2 cheetah, black rhinos, elephants, a pride of lions, herds of the rare Hartmann’s mountain zebras, giraffe, oryx, wildebeest, springbok and an African Wild Cat. Many of these animals were seen by us at Dolomietpunt, the camp waterhole!

Dolomietpunt waterhole can be seen from just two chalets and there is talk of a hide being constructed closer to the waterhole to enable all guests to view the waterhole. If you don’t get one of the waterhole-facing chalets it’s not a disaster as you can view animals coming to and from the waterhole on the plains below from all the chalets.

The waterhole is about 250 meters from the nearest chalet so photography by day is not a problem but nocturnal photography can be a challenge!.

There are about 20 waterholes in this western part of Etosha of which about 11 are worth visiting as the others are dry or have been closed. Our favorites are Klippan, Rateldraf, Dolomietpunt, Okawao, Renostervlei, Olifantsrus and Tobiroen. The beauty of this western part of Etosha is that there are hardly any other vehicles on the roads and if you visit a waterhole you could be the only car there. Many people enjoy the far northern Kruger park – areas such as Pafuri and Punda Maria, for this same reason – if you have a good sighting you may be the only one to witness it!

About Dolomite camp

You can get to Dolomite either via from Okaukuejo camp in the east or via the Galton Gate in the south-west but you must have a reservation at the camp in order to enter from either side.

When you arrive at Dolomite camp there is undercover parking and the golf carts fetch you and your luggage – everything has been well planned!

All 20 chalets have en-suite bathrooms, tea/coffee stations, but no air conditioners and no fridge. We found the chalets to be cool so we did not miss the air conditioners and if you want a cold drink or beer, just one phone call to reception will ensure that room service delivers to your room. There are also two restaurants (each seating 22 people), a bar, two fireside bomas, a lounge, a curio shop at reception and a large swimming pool.

The camp is unfenced which means you can walk between the chalets and restaurant area by day but not at night. For dinner the golf carts will fetch you or camp staff members will walk you back to your chalet.

Three of the east-facing chalets are luxury chalets which means you get a large deck with a private plunge-pool.

Final advice

Many visitors stayed for just one night – you cannot get a feel for the camp or the western part of the park in such a short time. We would recommend staying for at least 2 or 3 days, especially if you are a wildlife photographer.

Photography Specialties

43There are quite a few Americans who believe photography is all just about taking photos; however, there are so many specialties one can get into if they go to school for photography.

First, numerous schools exist for those who want to focus on just one type of photography. For example, a photographer can specialize in taking just senior pictures. Below you will find a brief list of some of the different types of photography and what kinds of jobs you can have in each field:

1. Wedding/special event photography can be a very rewarding career. Many professionals in the field revel in having the ability to capture their clients’ happy memories on camera. Most photographers in this specialty start off at a small studio, then move on and open their own studio. Owning your own studio can be a lot of work, so some people prefer to go into a partnership with one other colleague to share the costs and responsibilities of owning a studio.

2. Graduation photographs, which may or may not be separate from wedding and special events. Some photography studios are just dedicated to taking graduation photos all year-long. Taking pictures of high school seniors has become more and more popular. Many studios offer personalized service for their clients. For example, they will shoot a variety of images whether it is indoors or outdoors for each outfit the client brings to the studio. A high school student can wear jeans and a top for an outdoor picture and wear a dressy outfit for an indoor shoot.

3. Photographing nature can also be a very rewarding career. The first career choice that comes to mind is shooting photos for National Geographic, which would be a really fun thing to do all the time. A lot of travel is involved in shooting nature photos for any kind of magazine or periodical. Nature can include living animals in their natural habitat and non-living things in their natural habitat. With this track, you would usually be working for a magazine and you would travel with a journalist to whatever site is chosen for the article.

4. Finally, another popular direction for photographers is to shoot models for magazines and/or fashion shows. This is a very difficult field to get into because it is seen as the most glamorous. Many people would love to be involved in photo shoots with models and celebrities for one of the more popular magazines, but there are a limited number of jobs in that type of industry.

Contrary to popular belief, there are so many directions one can take their photography careers in once they are finished with all the schooling. Which you decide will depend on how you want to spend the rest of your career. If you want to settle down, stay in one place and have a family then maybe starting your own studio would be best for you and doing special events might be good for you. If you want to travel a lot and maybe not settle down anywhere in particular, then maybe the nature photography track would be best, since photography for any type of nature magazine usually requires a lot of travel.

Bird Photography in Peru

42Visitors to the Peruvian coast on photography tours are welcomed by a steady, salt-tinged breeze that comes off the steel-gray and golden panorama that is otherwise known as the Pacific Ocean.

The cries of thousands of seabirds and sea lions that fish the rich waters of this dramatic, desert coast carry over the waves and emanate from the mists that occasionally hang suspended over the cold Humboldt currents.

The scenery contrasts dramatically with a turn of the head as a textured, life-filled sea is replaced by silent sands of the visually stunning Peruvian coastal desert. Plants and animals are replaced by a combination of ridged dunes, rocky outcrops, and lunar-like landscapes that are perfect for Peruvian photography portraits that are mystical and starkly beautiful.

This mix of life, landscape, and good lighting makes the coast of Peru an excellent area for both nature photography in Peru and landscape photography in Peru.

Birds to photograph on the Peruvian coast

There are a number of photogenic bird species that soar above, dive into, and pose for photography near the waters of the Peruvian coast. Many occur in large flocks, the following of which are the most emblematic:

  • Humboldt Penguin: Despite being situated so close to the equator, these comical birds are right at home in the cold waters of the Peruvian coast. They also occur off the coast of Chile, but are easier to see and photograph around scenic Peruvian islands. Threatened by habitat disturbance, some of the best places to photograph them in Peru are at Paracas, the Islas Ballestas, or around the Islas Palomino.
  • Inca Tern: One of the most striking of Peruvian seabirds, the dark gray Inca Tern has a coral-red bill and feet, and what appears to be a long, white moustache! They are easy to see and photograph as they perch on the craggy rocks and islands that dot the Peruvian coast.
  • Peruvian Pelican: They look like Brown Pelicans but are larger, have a lighter colored head, and more colorful bill. Like the Humboldt Penguin and Inca Tern, they are also only found in coastal Peru and Chile.
  • Guanay Cormorant: These striking, black and white seabirds with a red eye ring often make good photography subjects in Peru because of their tendency to pose on craggy, wave-washed rocks.
  • Red-legged Cormorant: Often seen on islands off of the Peruvian coast, this beautiful cormorant species has deep red feet, a yellow and red bill, and a white patch on the side of the neck.
  • Peruvian Tern: The Paracas Peninsula is the best place to go on a Peruvian photography itinerary to get images of this small tern species. There are few photos of this endangered bird and it is found at few other accessible sites.
  • Chilean Flamingo: Looking absurdly long-legged and long-necked, with pink and white feathers, Chilean Flamingoes make good subjects for photography in Peru. This is especially the case when a flock of these gangly birds are mirrored by their reflection in the glassy waters of the coastal lagoons they frequent.

The Humboldt Current (or “Why bird photography is so good on the coast of Peru”)

In one of nature’s great ironies, the Peruvian desert can support so few living things for the same reason that the offshore waters are so incredibly rich with life. The cold waters of the Humboldt Current aren’t warm enough to produce the amount of evaporation needed to make rain clouds but they are infused with such a huge amount of upwelling nutrients that Peruvian coastal waters are considered to be the most productive marine ecosystem in the world. In photography language, this translates into a stunning desert coast bordered by a sparkling sea that hosts massive flocks of photogenic seabirds (as well as good numbers of sea lions).

The Peruvian coastal desert for photography

Peru is famous for Incan culture, photography of macaws and other jungle wildlife, Macchu Picchu, and the Nazca Lines among other highlights. Because so much of the wildlife photography in Peru and cultural photography in Peru is found in the Peruvian Amazon or high up in the incredibly scenic Peruvian Andes, many people often forget that Peru has a huge coastal desert.

The very dry conditions of coastal Peru made the Nazca Lines possible and have also preserved them for centuries. Although some Peruvian photography itineraries may include flights above these enigmatic glyphs for photography of the Nazca Lines, the stony plains, shadowy ravines, and windswept dunes that are backed by huge distant mountains make for abundant photography opportunities in the Peruvian coastal desert.

Photography at Paracas and Pisco, Peru

The Paracas Peninsula is the most prominent peninsula on the coast of Peru and has been set aside as a national reserve to protect the huge numbers of birds and marine wildlife that live in the area. Located just 120 miles south of Lima, near the seaside town of Pisco, the beautiful landscapes of seaside cliffs, sandy desert, and ocean with distant rocky islands on the horizon make Paracas a popular destination for photography in Peru.

In addition to the abundance of seabirds and occasional sightings of whales and dolphins, Paracas is also famous for a strange, huge, chandelier-shaped series of lines that were scraped onto a large, sea-facing sand dune. Known as “El Candelabro”, they are easily viewed and photographed on boat trips to the Paracas Peninsula. Such boat tours can be arranged through travel agents in Pisco but are included in most photography tour itineraries to Paracas, Peru.

Photography at the Islas Ballestas, Peru

The Islas Ballestas, Peru are a series of small islands near the Paracas Peninsula that are often called “The “Galapagos Islands of Peru” because of the large numbers of birds and sea lions that live on them. Such a huge number of cormorants, penguins, pelicans, and other seabirds of the Peruvian coast have nested on the Islas Ballestas for so many centuries that most of the “soil” is actually “guano” or accumulated bird droppings.

A visit to these rocky outposts is a must for any photography trip to Peru because not only are they one of the easiest sites for fantastic wildlife photography in Peru, but the arched rocks with the ocean as a backdrop also make for stunning background scenery.

Photography at the Islas Palomino, Peru

Situated just off the coast of Lima, Peru, the Islas Palomino provide another opportunity in coastal Peru to photograph sea lions and a wealth of seabirds in their natural habitat. One of the nicest things about making a photography trip to these Peruvian islands is that it can be easily done as a day trip from Lima. This is very convenient for photographers with one day left on their Peruvian tour, or for folks who wouldn’t mind ending a day of memorable, fantastic photography in Peru with some amazing Peruvian ceviche washed down with a pisco sour at one of the many excellent restaurants in Lima.

At Peru Photo Tours, we offer the best photography tours in Peru because your trip will be arranged and guided by someone who has years of “boots on the ground” experience and local knowledge necessary to understand the complex nature of this fantastic country. We also know the best sites for amazing yet comfortable photography, are patient and eager to help you in getting publication-worthy portraits, and perhaps most of all, we understand Peruvian cultures and the way things work in this diverse, complicated land. Come join us on one of our many tours for an experience of a lifetime.