Sunday, November 20, 2011

JD and Louise get hitched.....

Last week I had the privilege of photographing a wedding at the coast.  You know in this day and at my age it is way to easy to be jaded about people and institutions. But I have to tell you its been a very long time since I have been in the company of such genuinely decent folks.

This was taken between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay in a favorite spot of JD's, believe it or not we all got up very early the morning after the wedding to go out and shoot these images.

I'll post more on the main page as I get to them.

Thanks JD! Thanks Louise!

I'm back in the office and studio until the 3rd when I have another wedding near Omaruru.


Friday, October 28, 2011

Three degrees off plumb

2011 has been very good for me photographically,  The year is finishing out with a solo exhibition at the FNCC, Franco Namibian Cultural Center in Windhoek.  The work in this show is decidedly different then what has been shown elsewhere. This is what the new English language daily had to say about it.

This was my very first critical review anywhere and I am quite chuffed by it.

Apple Series

My first computer nearly 30 years ago was an Apple Macintosh, My reverence for the creative genius that has come from this company in the years since is huge. I started working on this series long before Mr. Jobs suffered his recent  fatal formatting error. The series was prompted one afternoon nearly a year ago when I was fooling around with a camelthorn pod while eating an apple.  The eyes are vintage German doll eyes from the 1920's

There are 4 images in the series,

I have started printing on Epson Cold Press Bright, it is a stunning paper.

I was also very fortunate to be accepted into Epson's Digigraphie program. Have a look here for more information Digigraphie. With this new series I am limiting prints depending on the image from 9 to 99.

If you wish to see the entire exhibition then please go to my website as there is a gallery devoted to the Three Degrees work.

This image is called 595 and remains another favorite from the current work.

I remain very greatful to those of you who watch my work and this blog, I would appreciate it a lot if you would pass the link on to any firends you have, that might also enjoy the effort.

Have a great Weekend,


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sometimes you just get lucky,,,,,

Way back in the beginning of the year there was a call for submissions for a new Namibian competition called "The Month of Photography". This Competition is affiliated with an international competition of the same title that began in Berlin a number of years ago. In view of my ongoing asswhupping in the international competitions I thought perhaps I ought to back up a bit and try to make the cut in a competition closer to home. The brief was well brief, "people and territories" up to 15 images, with an implied urban bias. Given I live in a decidedly non-urban community this made the challenge more interesting. The thought that eventually came to mind was fences and gates and how people approached the line of demarcation between where they live and the outside world. Here in Omaruru there is a clear cultural difference, one is closed fortress or jail like, the other is open and friendly. Interestingly nowhere in the whole town did I ever find a welcome sign.....

My submission was titled, "No-Entry - Come on In" it was accepted and ultimately to my great surprise awarded the Grand Prize in the competition. (scored a trip to Berlin too) So here it is, enjoy.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Jacob takes a dirt nap and other images


I have been a lazy bugger, last post was way too long ago.

In my defense I have been very busy. This bloggosphere business takes a lot of effort. But since I started it I should keep it going.

Eddy won a Gold medal in the Paris based PX3, he is also featured in a fund raising exhibition that opens on the 12th in Swakopmund....

As I drive around my little town, I remain open to things that might lend themselves to an image, I have few if any preconceptions, except that when I see it, I know that it possesses great "itness".

I had just woken from my daily lunch time nap and was on the way back to the gallery and spotted young Jacob, likewise enjoying a snooze in the warm spring sunshine.

Ahhhh to sleep like child, what a gift, a gift we lose far too soon.

I remain fascinated by babies, they are a wonderful subject for photography, when done well I think they transcend parental bias.  

This little girl is Leah, she is the child of friends, Hannah and Heiko, I generally stay clear of very young children, they have no bones so they flop around a lot, can't focus on anything, sometimes have pointy heads, that is in addition to generally being noisy pink blobs.... but this child, at 3 months has an uncanny ability to hold her head up and to FOCUS.

For a very long time I have wanted to go to the Ghost House outside Windhoek and shoot something, but until this weekend it never got very far, but as you can see Saturday evening it came together, I'll post a full set on the web page as soon as I get all the retouching done.

I've got a huge printing/framing job to get to and about a gazillion photos to run through for various projects.

Allis well in Omaruru,

Life is good.


Monday, March 21, 2011

I feel the need for speed

I heard the sound long before I saw the speck. Like many objects, the sound of a big, vintage aircraft, powered by whopping big pistons with a straight pipe exhaust is unmistakable, you just know something wicked fast is headed your way, your blood starts to race as you try to discern what is making the ground start to shake. (Ladies it's a guy thing) My memory is pretty clear on the sound of a Rolls Royce Merlin, and Pratt and Whitney Double Wasp, but Friday I was hearing something new.
It was the weekend fly-in here in Omaruru where the Namibian flying community and sometimes pilots from the rest of the SADC come for a party, any excuse for some airtime is good enough, and if there happens to be some loud music, grilled meat and cold beer attached, so much the better.  Normally, it's a collection of small single engine, civilian aircraft, Cessna's, Pipers, and a motley mix of microlights. The sound of all these are familiar to me (and to you, even if you don't know it) Drifting into town, their tiny little engines screaming like a cage full of squirrels on crack, they float into our little dirt strip, pushed up and down with the winds, unable to mount much resistance in spite of their hopped up rodents.

Look don't get me wrong they're darling little planes, you can land them in a parking lot or on a dirt track if you have to and there is nothing cheaper to take to the skies with, unless you can sprout a pair of wings. Still though in a way, its very similar to the difference between a Hyundai Getz and a 67 Shelby GT 500. They both do the same thing, which, does it better, is a matter of personal taste and if the truth be spoke, wallet.  And so, a few moments after the little green bug above landed, this beast reared its head and said "Hi", at something approaching 300 kilometers per hour, about 3 meters off the deck.

This was new.... something I had never seen in all my hours of "research" on the history channel.  Turns out its a Nanchang China CJ-6A fully aerobatic  military trainer, based on the 1945 Russian YAK18, but believe it or not improved on by the Chinese, it is powered by a 9 cylinder radial air cooled engine. which is why it sounded and went far more like the Shelby then the Getz.

This somewhat primitive looking brute is owned by Jacques Jacobs of Bataleur Aviation in Swakopmund and he was in town for the above mentioned reasons and for the price of a decent meal, let people tie a white scarf around their necks and feel what it's like, if only for a few moments to rip the sky asunder. 

I suspect though that there were thoughts like these running through the new fearless WW2 fighter jocks frontal lobes...
Dear God in heaven, what madness has overtaken me and PLEASE O PLEASE let this guy  know WTF he's doing and SweetbabyJesus what possessed me to strap my sorry ass into something sporting this on its tail ??????

The answer to this rhetorical question lies in between this:

And this:

And looked a lot like this:

Post Script: No I didn't go for a ride, it had nothing to do the label and everything to do with my stomach. The worst thing about barfing in a plane is when you do and then you stall at the top of a loop, well you get the picture, and besides I'm a photographer and my job was to take pictures.......

Omaruru Monday 5:48pm

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Life in the big sandy

Greetings from a very wet, very green Namibia. It's been a long time since my last post, lots of substantial changes in my insular little world at the deserts edge. I have also been making photographs, a lot in fact.

I'll start with today, with the rains, we get a stunning array of wildflowers and bugs (taxonomically incorrect I know, but I'm sticking with the simple nomenclature) a youngster came into the gallery and asked me if I had seen "the big worm", "no" sez I, down the street we went, wrestled him into submission and back to the new studio, (I'll get to that) here he is, end to end stretched out 10cm/5in.  According to Guy this one turns into a big yellow butterfly that lives in the citrus trees.

 [ Please note, while I was napping this afternoon he made a break for it and is MIA]

A week ago yesterday I went to Windhoek on my own dime to photograph a fashion show. (it's the first one I have ever attended in person, I think it proves all the hours doing 'research' on FTV were not wasted.)  I had one image run in The Namibia Star, one in Allgemeine Zeitung, and seven, count 'em seven in The Namibian, the national english daily!  Now if only I can start getting paid for this @#$%.

Our ephemeral Omaruru river has been running non-stop for almost 6 weeks now, varying from a trickle to a bank to bank muddy torrent, we average 25cm/10in/year, with the rain that's falling as I write, we will push through 60cm/24in with months of rainy season to come!

Here's the thing though, if you live on the other side of the river like I do, most of the year driving to town is a 60 second commute, if the river is running and you are not feeling brave, [some would say prudent], it's a whopping 12 minute commute, most of us that live on the other side, sooner or later tempt fate, last week I got a call from Jane the newspaper editor, telling me the town's health inspector had gotten the fire truck buried to the door frames and didn't I want to take a photograph for the 'PlanetOm' yes Loretta, we have a town newspaper and flush plumbing too!   Here's Lion, stuck as advertised, I am unclear as to how he managed to drill it in so deep.

Each year we have a road race sponsored by Otto and Bobby who own the local Spar, the race is an eclectic mix of the serious and not so serious, the official looking fellow on the English three speed is Jonathan Church, a loyal subject of Lizzie 2, a fellow geologist and resident eccentric. [it takes one to know one] The other guys are Team Toshiba (duh).

This is Hansen, the superintendent of the Tubussis School, in the shadow of Erongo Mountain.

Jean Pierre and his, soon to arrive baby sister.

Omaruru has an internationally ranked cyclist, Dan Craven Jr. his team provides him with the latest state of the art kit, which allows him to be competitive near the highest levels of the sport, it is however my considered opinion that it is more the man then the machine.  Here are two of Dan, first the mad racer  and second the man on my Chinese one speed with Martin my long suffering domestic landscape engineer.

And this brings me to the news, I've begun to consolidate my working spaces, I have taken over half the old bakery building on the Main Street, which I have turned into my very own first ever dedicated gallery/studio/office.  A change I am immensely pleased with.

I do hope this finds you all well, wherever on the ball you may be, we should all take a silent moment in whatever way we choose to send hope and salvation to the people of Honshu & Christchurch.


Sunday, January 30, 2011

My own private rhino

Before Eddy arrived I  received a call from Epako Guy, “We have a new baby Rhino”. That simple sentence began a misson of sorts, the quest was to take THE white rhino mother and baby picture. I was after something photographically transcendent, something epic, an image I could turn down a pile of money from the National Geographic Society for (I may be waxing lyrical here). Six afternoons, two mornings and something on the up side of 30 hours later I think I got there.

This may be hard to believe but Rhino’s are damn hard to shoot. I mean photographically,  well not really except that generally, they are about as challenging as taking a photograph of a brick building and just about as interesting.   This is a typical rhino shot. 'hold still, don't move, Okay I won't....." You could take this shot all day long and into the next.

(A momentary nomenclature digression: as descriptive terms white rhino and black rhino are meaningless. It’s more accurate to refer to them as hook-lipped and square-lipped. Hooked eat brush and are commonly psychotic (Charles Manson), aggressive (Rambo), they are instinctively man, beast and vehicle stompers. Over the years here I have seen more then a few off road rigs that got skewered by a hooked lipped, for getting too close and pissing them off, the hole is unmistakable and funny enough it always seems to be very close the driver...Hmmm not as dim as they seem.  Hooked lips are the "smaller" of the two species at a shoulder height of 5 feet and around a ton. Their gentler saner square lipped cousins, eat grass and run away from trouble rather then looking for it.  But they are taller, 6 feet at the shoulder and much, much heavier, think 1950’s Buick Special and you’ll have a good idea.)

To be generous both are ugly, trying to capture an image that is flattering is trying. Day after day I always seemed to be too close, too far, they were going away from me, mom was blocking the baby, half in and half out of the sun, deep shade, blocked by a tree or an errant clump of grass, shrubbery, baby too far from mom, mom looking the wrong way, wind shifts blowing my “clean fresh scent speed stick” up her nose, poof ghost like, gone, and on and on and on, six days and about 1000 pictures later I had some good stuff but not “the shot”.  There were lots of these:

Don't get me wrong stalking a square lipped rhino and her baby on foot trough the African bush will get your pulse rate up, it is a thrill, somehow in retrospect the 30meters between use doesn't seem to be nearly enough and sadly this as most of my images from these days are ultimately disappointing from a purely photographic perspective.

Day three I got this, it was an amazing display, the baby just started running, back and forth around mom, through the trees, across the road in front of us, forward and back perhaps, she knew that soon she would lose her speed, her lightness of being, the joy of being alive and able to defy gravity if only momentarily, replaced by life's unavoidable weight.

I got this day 4, just as the sun went below the trees.

Day 6 started well, we got down wind on a river bed as they approached, as long as we were quiet and in the vehicle they largely ignored us.

A few minutes later they passed within touching distance oblivious to us and to the truck turning up the stream bank and around behind us heading for Baugh's water hole. We followed them to the water hole but once again I was on the wrong side of the light. The water hole only has one way in through a cut bank. I saw that I couldn’t get to the right side of the light but I thought I could get positioned to capture something special as they came back out the cut bank into the river. That’s where I took this which is the shot I wanted, steady mom, scale, texture, child in motion, sunset desert dust.

Then it got interesting, I had positioned myself across the river from the water hole down, low next to a burnt out tree. I figured they would come out the cut bank and turn up stream away from the truck; instead they came right at me. I froze next to the trunk until she was about 20 feet away and then I decided I needed way more tree between her and me and moved, like a sprung tarp she charged, stopping just a few feet away, the tip of her horn almost within arm reach.  I can report the following, their horns are well polished and the tip seems exceedingly sharp. Time stopped, she spun and left at speed. My heart started again.

My friend Guy took this shot an instant after she turned to run the other way. See how smart I was with my choice of protection.....Remember when this started I was on the other side of the tree...

This last afternoon was amongst the best days of my African life, all my pipes got flushed with a massive shot of adrenaline, fear came later in equal amounts with the elation of being alive and privileged to be so close to such a beast. On our way back to the lodge our paths crossed once more. I would like to think I was already forgotten, all the while certain they would never be.