Namibia 2019 Trip Report

By Mike Byrne on Jun 19, 2019

A highlight of our Namibia 2019 photo tour was the several outstanding opportunities we had for astral photography. Our first stop at the Quivertree Forest produced some beautiful images of the Milky Way, shining brightly through the branches of light-painted quiver trees.  Later, at Helmeringhausen and Sossusvlei, we worked on star trails and time-lapse images of the Milky Way moving across the southern skies.
The dunes and vleis around Sossusvlei also produced some outstanding landscape images as we were gifted three days of clear weather and great morning and evening light. Many of the tour participants chose to take the optional helicopter tour. Photographing from a helicopter (with its doors removed) provided a whole new perspective on the amazing patterns and curves of the windswept dunes, especially as the sun dipped toward the horizon.
Quiver tree forestI find the ghost town of Kolmanskop to be a photographer’s compositional dreamland. There are so many ways to create images of the town’s dilapidated buildings which have sand encroaching into every nook and cranny. The way light creeps into the buildings through cracks, broken doors and slatted roofs makes for dramatic images.  Many trip participants used focal stacking and exposure bracketing to great effect.
Probably the biggest draw of our Namibia tour is the broad range of photography opportunities it offers.  From astral and landscape photography in the south, we move to wildlife photography in Etosha National Park. The park was exceptionally dry this year and every day animals flocked to the water holes. One morning we were treated to hundreds of zebra, springbok and kudu nervously drinking while a pride of well-fed lions—including seven playful cubs—watched from only a few dozen yards away.  The tension in the air was palpable.
Animals at watering hole in NamibiaThe waterhole at Okaukuejo produced nightly entertainment as elephants, giraffes and rhinos took turns slaking their thirst. It is rare enough to see rhinos anywhere in Africa, but one night at Okaukuejo I counted eight of them circling the water. At one point two large males confronted each other with loud snorts and powerful pawing of the earth. Okaukuejo never fails to produce amazing sights and sounds!
No trip to Etosha is complete without a little feline action. We were privileged to photograph a rare rhino-lion confrontation which ended with a rhino charging and chasing off a young male lion. Later we watched a second male lion with a kill (a large kudu bull).  While we were busy photographing the lion, one of the rarest sights in Etosha appeared—a large sable bull.  There are only a handful of these beautiful antelopes in the entire park and this magnificent bull graced us with a half hour view as he came to the waterhole beside us for a drink.

Milky Way

Related Tags:  etosha, kolmanskop, namibia, okaukuejo, sossusvlei