I was inspired this week to explore images from Namibia with my painterly effects project for the month. In the brief time I have spent there, I have found it to be a magical place. The light is beautiful and the landscapes are at times surreal. From the air, the vast open spaces seem lifeless, but on the ground, it is a completely different story.
To some, using software to make a photo look as if it were sketched or painted may seem like an abomination. Photographers often go to great lengths (sometimes at great expense) to create sharp and crisp images that show the viewer exactly what the scene looked like. But what about those times when that beautifully crisp, perfectly exposed image doesn’t convey the feeling of the moment? Or, heaven forbid, what if you goof up on the exposure, or mess up the focus a bit, but the moment was great and you still want to do something with the image? These are just some of the reasons for exploring painterly effects with photography. I’ve edited photos in the past for all those reasons and while I don’t post them too often, I do have a gallery of my favourite Artistic Impressions or Photo Art images.
This week, I was inspired by a vintage style travel poster I have had hanging up for around the last 12 years or so. I see it every time I walk towards my sitting room; this week I was struck by the interest in creating a photo series inspired by it, whereas most of the time I just look at it and think “I really want to go to the Serengeti someday”.
I decided to do a series of Big 5 animals; I can imagine these in a vintage travel brochure advertising visiting the “Dark Continent” to see the wild and ferocious Big 5. I edited all of them using the Topaz Simplify filter through the Topaz Studio program.
The photo challenge topic of the weekly is unlikely. The first thing that popped into mind for me was encountering people I’d met before while traveling in Namibia last April.
My first trip to Namibia was in 2015, with a two night stop in Sossusvlei, and then a two night stop at Damaraland Camp. At the Damaraland Camp, we had a wonderful guide named Chris. He was an incredibly thoughtful and knowledgable guide and he took great care to show us the best of the area and share his expertise with us. At DMC, we also had an amazing host in camp manager Maggie.
My second trip to Namibia, we decided we wanted to see different areas, so we chose the Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp and Ongava Reserve outside of Etosha National Park. On our arrival at Hoanib, the camp manager told us our guide would be Chris, a recent addition to their staff who had moved over from another property. At 3:00 we gathered to head out on our first game drive, and saw none other than our fabulous guide from two years previous, Chris from Caprivi. Almost as far away from home as I could get, and there was a familiar face.
During our stay in Damaraland, the one thing Chris was absolutely determined to find us was the desert adapted elephants. It took until lunchtime, but he finally found them in the the rocky hills. During our stay at Hoanib, Chris was no less determined to find the elephants, but they were much easier to locate. He often said the elephants living near Hoanib were spoiled compared to the ones living in Damaraland.
We had a great time at Hoanib but then it was time to move on. We arrived early afternoon into Etosha and were settled at the lodge with a drink, chatting with the relief manager that was looking after the property. She had introduced herself as Maggie but it took a moment to realize it was the same Maggie we had met 2 years previous at DMC, as her flaming red hair from 2015 had been replaced with a more subdued shade. For the second time in under a week, halfway around the world, I was running into familiar faces. My Mom pulled up a video on her iPad of Maggie and her staff singing a song to us as we departed camp two years earlier, a wonderful memory for all of us to share.
Thinking about these memories makes me wish I had been more inclined to take lots of photos of people during my travels; that’s definitely something I need to do better with in the future. I don’t have a photo of Maggie from this past trip, but we do keep in touch now on Facebook; an unlikely second meeting has turned into a friendship 🙂
I would say that this topic was a failure, at least for getting out and shooting more. I should have known better than to set myself a target that required getting out and shooting when winter still hadn’t released it’s grip, and being outside was of no real interest to me. There were some silver linings though, in that I finally got around to reviewing and editing video from my trip to East Africa. That was a lot of fun and I don’t know if I would have done that otherwise. I was digging deep to find anything that remotely fit with my topic.
What’s new this month
I’ve been working on some new designs in my Vida shop. Here is one of the new items I have added in the past month.
I’ve also added a few new images to my gallery pages. If you haven’t checked them out, please do and let me know what you think. Like anything, it is a work in progress.
Five favourites from this month
Despite feeling like my Wide Angles project was not a success, two of the images I shot are in my favourites for the month. I’m sure if I looked at these images yesterday, or tomorrow, the choices would be different, but these were the ones that caught m eye.
What’s coming up next?
I haven’t decided yet on my topic of the month for May, so check in Sunday and find out what I’m going to go with. Looking through my list, painterly effects caught my eye, but I almost feel like I should be saving a more computer based topic for when the weather turns cold again in the fall. We shall see 🙂