2019-02-24: Topic of the Month – Warm

When I woke up this morning, it was -28C; decidedly not warm here.  But the sun is shining, and bundled up, Spencer and I managed a couple of nice walks today.  It still doesn’t feel like spring is around the corner; but hopefully that will change soon.

Last week, I flagged several landscape images from my travels for editing throughout the week, and while working on them, I realized that not only do they all fit into the theme of being taken in warm places, but they were all taken on the fly.  If I asked guides to stop every time I saw something interesting, we certainly wouldn’t get very far, so I have become rather comfortable with snapping away out of a moving vehicle.  Sometimes it works, and sometimes, not so much.

I hope you enjoy my selection of images this week.

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The Hoanib riverbed off in the distance.  The shear drop off is the bank of the river, showing just how much water has been through the area at times.  When we were visiting, there were only a few small pools, and it had been an exceptionally generous wet season.  Namibia, April 2017.
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As the day heats up, the wind in the desert picks up, causing sand storms to whip through.  Hoanbia Camp, Namibia. April 017.
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One of the beautiful desert vistas near Hoanib Camp.
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Palm trees are a symbol of a warm climate to me.  I love the shape of the leaves, and how they stand out against the sky.  This was just before sunset while heading back to Leroo La Tau camp on the Boteti Rover.  Botswana, May 2017.
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The Baines Baobabs standing tall in the midday heat.  Nxai Pans National park, Botswana. 
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A beautiful sunrise in the Sabi Sands.  The chill of the early morning burnt off in short order once the sun was up.  South Africa, May 2017.

 

2019-02-17: Topic of the Month – Warm

Last week I decided that my Sunday posts for the rest of the month would focus on the topic Warm.  It seemed fitting, given how cold it has been and how much I wish it would warm up.

Today, I decided to share images that make my heart feel warm and happy.   It should be no surprise to any frequent visitor that this means elephants.  Lots and lots of elephants!

I hope you enjoy my selections, and wishing you a wonderful week ahead.

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A group of desert adapted elephants surround a calf that was having a brief nap at the edge of the riverbed.  Hoanib Camp, Namibia.
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An elephant calf imitates its mother, bring the trunk up to sniff the air and decide if our presence was a threat or not.  Since Mom wasn’t worried, the calf wasn’t either.  Machaba Camp, Okavango Delta, Botswana.
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The tiniest elephant calf I have seen; probably no more than a couple of days old.  A very relaxed family though, that was not at all concerned by the vehicle, the clicks of the cameras or the numerous times people in the vehicle said “Awwww, the baby is so tiny and cute!”.  Machaba Camp, Okavango Delta, Botswana.
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We saw numerous baby elephants while staying on the Okavango Delta; this one stuck close to Mom’s side while she dug for minerals in the dirt.
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A precocious elephant calf that spent lots of time investigating me; here it is snuggled close to Mom and trying to get a drink from an irrigation pipe.  Londolozi, South Africa.

2019-02-10: Topic of the Month – Warm

This topic came to me as it is the exact opposite of how I feel right now!  We’ve been in a deep freeze for some time now, and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight yet.  So, my Sunday posts for February are going to focus on warm places, warm interactions; anything that makes me feel a bit warmer!

Today, I have some landscape images to share from my travels.  All places where I haven’t spent time shivering!

Wishing everyone a fantastic week ahead.

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The desert near Hoanib Skeleton Coast camp in Namibia.  It’s a truly striking desert landscape, and a place I would recommend to visit.
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Another area near Hoanib, where we stopped for a sundowner.  This was a quick photo I snapped as the sun disappeared behind the hills; glass of wine in one hand and camera in the other.
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Where the desert and a lush valley meet.  These pockets of green seem to come out of nowhere when you are flying over the desert, and show that there are habitats capable of supporting lots of life, even within such a hot and dry place.
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The Okavango Delta from the air.
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A sunrise in the Sabi Sands in South Africa.
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Driving through the desert outside of Palm Springs, California.  Photographic “rules” would say that lines should be leading into the photo, not out of it.  But rules are sometimes made to be broken; I like the unexpected composition.
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One of the beautiful vistas in Joshua Tree National Park.

 

2018-12-16: Luminar’s Sky Enhancer

Last week I decided I would play around with one of the new features in Luminar, a filter called AI Sky Enhancer.  Perhaps the timing wasn’t so good though, as yesterday evening I downloaded the newly release Luminar 3, and with the added library function, I was having a bit of trouble navigating the system (since I haven’t yet looked at any resources on how to use the new software).  Despite a bit of floundering within the libraries function, the actual photo editing and filters layout remains the same, and I was able to complete my self-appointed task.

This first image wasn’t solely about the sky; it’s kind of hard to ignore the leopard in the tree!  I wanted to enhance the natural colours of the sky and bring up some of the shadow areas.  I started with the AI Sky Enhancer and added other filters as needed (which was how I approached all the images).  I’ve included a split screen showing before and after and the edited image for each one I worked on.

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Next up is a photo shot while on a boat on the Boteti River in Botswana.  Shooting into the sun left the sky quite washed out; I am impressed how well I could enhance the sky colour and the clouds with Luminar without it becoming to HDR-like.

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The Okavango Delta is an amazing place for sunsets; the colours in the sky are incredibly dramatic from my experience.  With that much colour already, it is easy to take the image a step too far and have it look radioactive.  The AI sky enhancer did a great job accentuating the detail in the clouds, without pumping the colour up to 11.

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Finally I have included a sunset from the Hoanib desert in Namibia.  There was a lot of airborne dust and sand that evening, so while I did do some noise reduction in the sky to reduce the visible grain, there is definitely still a lot of texture.  This was also shot with my Panasonic camera, which is much noisier than the Nikon I was also shooting with.  Regardless, I am please with the realistic tones, the detail in the clouds and the textures in the desert and the hills.

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I’m going to ow have to spend some time familiarizing myself with the layout of the new Luminar software, so I can work using their library function in an efficient manner.

2018-11-12: Monochrome Monday

Whilst in Namibia on my last visit, I travelled for a couple of days in the Etosha area.  Being in the park itself is quite different to being on a private reserve, since there is no off-road driving allowed, but there was still a lot of great game viewing when driving around the park.

We were fortunate to come across a group of 3 young lion brothers, likely ejected from their pride within the past few months, as they had gotten to the age where they needed to be on their own.  They still had the energy and playfulness of cubs though, chasing each other around a water hole.  We were even more fortunate to be the only vehicle to being viewing these lions for the majority of the time that we spent with them, allowing us to get in a great position to watch them going about their day.

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