Marina Cano is an award winning Spanish photographer who recently spent some time in Namibia. She took several amazing shots of the Land of the Brave and its creatures. We tracked her down and got her to share some of her wisdom and a few of her favourite shots from her trip.
Tell us about your most unforgettable moment while shooting in Namibia.
There were many incredible moments in Namibia, it’s difficult to choose just one. But early one morning we were tracking a young female cheetah, Jacomina. She had been introduced to the wild for just three months. I went with the rangers who were taking care of her while she got used to her new habitat. When we arrived there, she was alone.
Then Jacomina started calling for her cubs. After a few minutes, the ranger's became anxious because the cubs did not come. She continued to call them while moving around the area. We were on foot and followed her cautiously in the distance almost without breathing. After what felt like an eternity, two adorable cubs came running towards her. I could see a big smile and relief on all faces. Everything seemed to be much more beautiful even more sunny. At sunset the same day we found them relaxing in the bush- all three of them were lit up by the last rays of the sun. The mixture of shadows and light spilling onto them was just awesome.*
*This picture appears below so keep on reading!
Every destination has its challenges and rewards; how does Namibia compare to other places you’ve photographed?
Traveling in the winter, I had many opportunities to witness and observe a diversity of animals in large numbers at the many different waterholes. Sunsets were those magical moments that all photographers dream about. Every evening was a gift (sometimes it felt like I was having a romantic date with elephants, giraffes, rhinos, birds…) Simply put, it is nature at its best.
I felt comfortable, safe and also fulfilled with the spirit of adventure in Namibia.
The challenge is to make sure that you are at the waterholes close to the lodges in Etosha when the light starts to become precious in the golden hours of the day. Everyday you need to have a very specific schedule because the distances from the lodges in the parks are far. The Namibian landscape is unique and spectacular, it does not matter where you are; you recognize an image taken in Namibia as soon as you see it.
Which 3 photos shot in Namibia are you most proud of and why?
1. Okaukuejo waterhole at Etosha.
After sunset with giraffes and rhinos drinking, the sky turned into a swirl of reds, oranges and blues... In this picture you can only see the silhouettes in the reflection. I turned the picture upside down, so the sky remained in the bottom, and the silhouettes are in the upright position. The result is ethereal and mysterious.
2. Erindi Private Game Reserve
The curious baby leopard. It was just a miracle that we discovered a leopard cub by chance. The cub was about one month old. After spending over an hour with it, the cub became inquisitive and more confident and allowed us close enough to photograph it. The cubs curious beautiful blue eyes curious looked straight into the camera resulting in this delightful image.
3. Cheetah family in the bushveld
The cold blue environment contrasted with the warm light surrounding their bodies created a magical atmosphere, almost surreal. They came across as very relaxed and at the same time very aware of us. They all looked straight into the camera. I love the baby cheetahs’ faces, looking mildly upset and curious, but feeling very safe close to their mum.
When going on a Namibian photographic expedition, what is your equipment of choice? And what do you never leave home without?
This was my first time in Namibia, I was there for one month exploring and discovering the beauty of this corner of Africa. My equipment: Canon EOS 1DX, Canon EOS MARK IV, Canon 600mm f/4, Canon 300mm 2.8, Canon 100-400mm, Canon 16-35mm, Canon 85mm. Manfrotto tripod.
For this trip, Canon Spain lent me the EOS 1DX camera and the fabulous 600mm lens. All I can say is that I felt extremely lucky because I was able to get very close to the animals when I most needed it. I recommend that you bring two camera bodies so you don't have to change lenses due to there being so much dust in the air.
A photographer friend is desperate to capture the best of Namibia. What top 3 tips would you give them?
1. Winter in Etosha offers a lot of activity at the most waterholes. The best waterholes in my experience are the ones at the lodges, so you don't have to rush up and down when it gets darker. Find a comfortable seating position and be ready to take the most exciting pictures. The weather is wonderful, not too hot in the days and evenings, but for sunrise shots wear warm clothes.
2. Erindi Game Reserve will offer you exciting and different approaches to wildlife photos. You can drive off-road and have really close encounters with the wild. The sunsets are endless, and some of the most beautiful I've ever seen.
3. Book well in advance for Etosha because during high season it gets very busy at the lodges. Spend as much time as you can in the park, every single day is to be treasured. Every minute is magic and you might not want to ever leave. Anyone who wants to join me for my photo safari is very welcome.
Marina Cano is an award winning Spanish photographer who has published two books and is regularly featured in the National Geographic. She has exhibited her work in Korea, South Africa, Cuba, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. When not taking photographs Marina lectures around the globe.
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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