Martini Madness Strikes Wilderness Safari Camps in Namibia

While leading a landscape photography workshop in Namibia, professional photographer Randy Hanna, stepped behind the bar to share his mixology knowledge with the staff. After a quick survey of the cold room in the kitchen, Randy began to assemble his components for the next evening’s class. With all of the ingredients and note pads in hand, plus special herbs from the local garden, the class began.Together, the team whipped up an entire suite of wonderful martinis including, ‘Apple Tini’, ‘Strawberry-Kiwi Tini’, ‘Orange – Cranberry Splash’, ‘Kalulu Cosmo’, and the most popular ‘Basil and Cucumber Martini.’ Before we knew it, a line had formed in front of the bar as  word spread among the staff and guests, with everyone having the benefit of trying some new concoctions. The last drink from the class was the ‘Midnight Kiss Matini’ (Kailua, Chocolate Liquor, and vodka), guaranteed to cross your eyes. The final exam was the bar staff replicating all of the drinks to Randy’s satisfaction and as Randy said, “Man, did they knock them out of the park!” You can follow Randy’s adventures and safaris at www.randyhannaphotography.com.

Randy Hanna Behind the Bar at Little Kulala

Cheers and Happy Photo’ing

Back Home from Namibia

Well, it has been about 15 days since I have returned from a killer landscape workshop that I led in Namibia. While I was gone, lots of things changed in my photo world. While it is always fun to return to Seattle and discover what little things changed, but man, change was everywhere around me upon my return. The big changes included:

1.  Nik Software is now available for $149.00 for the entire suite. Normally HDR or Viveza would cost this much alone. I use Nik products in just about every image that I process. I would suggest that you get it now, as we have no idea what Google will do with the product line.  You can get this software here.

2.  Nikon released a new, and much needed, 80-400mm Zoom. Still at an f-stop of 4.5-5.6, it sports a much faster focusing system, and Nano-crystal lens coating, making this a great safari lens for those that can’t justify the much more expensive 200-400mm.

3.  Nikon released the D7100, which returns another full stop or two more sensitive than the D7000.  Built as a pro-consumer body, this is a great camera for those interested in a 1.5 crop sensor.

4.  Posterious died with short notice. Posterious, the posting service that I used to post to my blog from the bush, was absorbed by Twitter about a year ago.  With 5 days notice, they folded their doors and left me searching for alternatives to support live blogging from the bush while I’m out on safari.

5.  The Hasselblad H5D series is now shipping to the US. After tons of trouble with the H4D series, this new release is the one that I have been waiting for. Better lens / body connections, new menu systems and weather-proofing make this a solid medium format camera that will last well into the future. I cant wait to get my hands on one.

6.  Last and certainly the least, is the big Adobe announcement for LR5. If the past trend of releases continues to be true, we might see a LR5 release by the end of June or July.  Looking at the LR5 Beta, the big improvements include:

  • Very powerful advance healing bush that allows for non-circular click and drag corrections
  • New Radial Filter for off-center vignetting and elliptical local adjustments
  • Upright in the Lens Corrections to automatically straighten photos and fix perspective
  • Smart Previews supporting off-line editing of photos
  • Grid and guide overlays for library, develop, and tethered captured
  • PNG file support
  • True fullscreen mode
  • Page numbering and layout saving in the Book Module
  • Videos can be included in slideshows
  • Windows HiDPI support
  • New smart collections criteria

I hope to release the final details on the Mountain Gorilla and Massai Mara safari (scheduled for early March), a June trip to Botswana, and Iceland in August, just as soon as I possibly can. If you are on my mailing list, you will receive advance notice of these safaris before they are posted on the web. As usual, space will be limited across all safaris, so start thinking about your desires.

I’ll post a few notes from Namibia before I depart for Tanzania again on the 12th of May, including Martini Madness. Meanwhile, I’m on the road heading to Atlanta to see my youngest daughter graduate with her second Masters. Rumor has it that she will soon be employed with a top notch consulting company in Washington DC.

Cheers and happy photo’ing

Photo of the Week – Namibia

Well I did miss a couple of weeks without posting my weekly images, so here is a nice treat from Namibia – a place that I long to return to.  This image was take during our flight from Sera Cafema to Sossuvlia.  Sossusvlei lies in the Namib Naukluft Park in the heart of the Namib desert and is home to the the highest sand dunes in the world.  Considered by many to be one of the ‘must see’ places in the world, I am looking forward to returning as soon as I can.

Cheers and happy photoing

2014 Photo Safari Schedule

Safaris for 2014:
1. Rwanda – Gorillas in the Mist 1 Jan thru 8 Jan  DETAILS ARE POSTED HERE. Trip completed, full trip report in draft.
2. Tanzania – The Great Migration – Feb 15-25, 2014   TRIP IS FULL
3. Chile – Torres del Paine – March 2014,  Adventure Series Only*
4. Tanzania – The Great Rut – May 31 – June 10, 2014. Some openings remain.
5. Iceland – The Land of Fire and Ice – 10-19 Aug 2014 – DETAILS ARE POSTED HERE  Strictly limited to 8 participants, 4 openings.
6. Tanzania – Fall Migration – Sept 16-25, 2014 – DETAILS ARE POSTED HERE
7. Botswana – November 13-22, 2014 – DETAILS ARE POSTED HERE.

Looking forward to 2015:
Namibia – Landscapes of a Lifetime – April or May 2015- Details will be released in March of 2014.
Tanzania – The Great Rut
Tanzania – Fall Migration
Botswana – Adventure on the River
Lots More to Come So Stay Tuned.

*Adventure Series – Open only to previous clients and those who are willing to travel in conditions that require maximum flexibility as we explore new areas.

Remote Namibia

The sand dunes of Northern Namibia, while inhospitable, can produce some very spectacular imagery.  As a photographer, I had to work very hard to capture in digits, what my eyes could seen.  While the advances of modern digital cameras have been nothing short of spectacular, they are still a long way from the dynamic range of the human eye.  The image below was taken in Northern Namibia, deep in the dunes, looking north directly toward Angola.

Sunrise in the Dunes of Namibia

Nikon D300, 17-55mm VR at 38mm, ISO 200, f/10 at 1/100 sec

Cheers and happy photo’ing

 

Skeleton Coast Dunes

I am in the process of getting ready to head off to Africa again.  In doing so, I am taking some time to rearrange my image storage and management scheme.  Just finishing up with my images from my May 09 Namibia trip in hopes of releasing the Namibia gallery before I leave – we shall see.  So here is the shot, deep from the dunes inland from our Skeleton Coast base camp.  Looking at this image, I was instantly transported back to the dunes; a place that I found very difficult to photograph, yet a place that I must return to.

'Morning Glow' over the inland dunes of the Skeleton Coast, Namibia

Photo of the Week

Namibia Sunrise

May 2009, Nikon D300, 17-55mm f2.8@ 55, ISO 500, f11 at 1/50 sec, -1/2 EV

Metered slightly below the horizon in spot metering mode

 

As sunlight started across the distance mountain range, I hiked up a nearby rock outcroping some 500 feet above the valley floor to get this image.  The clouds were simply spectactular as the moved across the desert sky.  After shooting about 6 frames (I don’t recall even checking the histogram), I put the camera down and just took in the view of the entire valley.  As I watch the rising sunlight dance across the valley floor, I realized just how lucky I was travel to places like this – to see and photograph things  and places that others seldom get a chance to see or even hear about.

Cheers and happy photo’ing

Randy