After hearing about Willem Kruger's excellent landscape photography we decided to track him down and get him to share some of his best advice to photographers who want to capture the best of Namibia. Read on for tips and anecdotes from Willem's last photo safari through the Land of the Brave...
Tell us about your most unforgettable moment while shooting in Namibia.
I went on a landscape photography safari in the southern parts of Namibia with my wife. We entered Namibia via the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and travelled straight to NamibRand Nature Reserve. Just driving through the vast landscape of Southern Namibia is a highlight on its own.
Our stay in the NamibRand Nature Reserve was the highlight of the photography safari. Many pictures of Namibia usually highlight the beauty of Namibia portraying well-known places but not many images can be found portraying the beauty of the less explored south of Namibia.
I was presently surprised when I arrived in NamibRand and I saw the many opportunities it provides when it comes to landscape photography. The thunderstorms on the horizon against red dunes were particularly spectacular. Therefore, I think my most unforgettable moments were the magnificent colours provided by the sun, clouds, sand and plants, all in perfect harmony.
Every destination has its challenges and rewards; how does Namibia compare to other places you’ve photographed?
If you are a serious nature photographer (especially wildlife and landscapes), I am sure you are familiar with the two words – patience and rewards. In Namibia, the same principle applies. As a photographer, even when it comes to landscape photography, one needs to wait for the perfect moment. Wait for the all the elements such as light, clouds, dust, thunderstorms to be in place and just start shooting.
However, the difference lies in the reward. When I first arrived in Namibia, I asked myself the following question: “What makes this place unique?” I soon realised that the colour, the light, and the storytelling elements can easily be found and matched to produce stunning images. While composition is the backbone of all great photos, in Namibia one just need to look around you to realise how many possibilities there are.
Which three photos shot in Namibia are you most proud of and why?
Red Dunes is certainly one of my favourite images of Namibia. It shows a different perspective of Namibia and it is not the usual image of some well-known spot. It shows almost all the colours what Namibia can offer as well as a perspective on what Namibia landscape is all about. Rich in diversity yet everything is in harmony.
Road to heaven is my second favourite because it is almost if the road is taking you towards heaven and isn’t that what Namibia is all about?
The Road to Heaven.
Thirdly, Quiver tree hill shows the reader the other side of Southern Namibia… Wide open plains and dunes between mountains ranges. These are not easy living conditions for humans or animals but the lines in this photograph, leading towards the clouds on the horizon, offer a glimpse of hope.
Quiver Tree Hill.
When going on a Namibian photographic expedition, what is your equipment of choice? And what do you never leave home without?
Definitely any type of camera! From a simple cell phone or a compact point-and-shoot camera, to a professional SRL camera. There are so many opportunities that even the most inexperienced photographer will come home with a great image or two. For the more serious photographer, I would recommend a prime wide-angle lens along with your digital SLR camera with a few filters in the bag. If you have one, bring a 200mm to 600mm lens if you are planning to travel in the southern parts of Namibia.
I know it is a controversial issue but I do not leave home without my tripod. An essential piece of equipment when it comes to nature photography – just to assist you the get that super-sharp image and to distinguish you from the rest.
A photographer friend is desperate to capture the best of Namibia. What top three tips would you give them?
First, put down the camera and step back from the scene. Without the camera in front of you or even without worrying about the camera settings and the anticipated photo, you can free your mind and enjoy what Namibia can offer. Only then can you see the photo opportunities from a totally different perspective.
The next piece of advice is not new to photographers but it is vital: We all want to quickly capture the moment and move on to the next scene because Namibia has some much to offer. With that approach, you definitely will miss out on some unique opportunities. Rather take a little more time with your shots. Look for something different such as a more interesting point of view to shoot from. What about finding a different angle of an already well-known spot? I would recommend that you evaluate all the possibilities before taking the shot rather than just jumping in and get that already familiar/well-known photo.
Lastly – remember a photographer is an artist and not a forensic documentarian. Enjoy what you do and let your creativity takes over. Do not try and be copycat but rather try something differently. The result might surprise you.
Practising photography as a hobby will take you places where you previously would not have been. I do love nature photography and taking photos in Namibia is in my opinion provide one of the best opportunities to see what nature can offer.
Willem Kruger, in his own words...
Nature photography for me is not only a hobby but it is a passion. I hope to capture the essential detail and show people what nature has to offer for those people who are willing to have a closer and a more creative look at it.
Visit Willem's blog for more information and images.
More Photographer Tips
This part of a series of blog post interviews with professional photographers on how to Capture Namibia. Every week we'll be posting tips, tricks and amazing photographs from these impressive photographers.
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