Travel Diaries: Last of South Africa
Dec03

Travel Diaries: Last of South Africa

Southern Africa has been good to me. I think it brought me back to myself. I mentioned in a vlog a while ago that I felt like I somehow managed to get off-center, and wasn’t exactly happy with the person I was being. Just a couple days into Africa, and I felt like myself once again. There’s just something about this continent that not only makes me feel wild and free, but empowered. This place makes me feel like I could carry the entire weight of the world on my shoulders.  There was a lot going on in my life and my mind before arriving in Africa. But, the continent made me feel light again. And, it gave me the air I needed to deal with a couple emotional battles I was soon to face. Blyde River Canyon Area One of the places I didn’t go the last time I was in South Africa was Blyde River Canyon. So, a visit to the canyon, and surrounding areas was a priority for my trip. After the long drive from Chobe, I arrived at Blyde River Canyon excited to shoot. But, the canyon, I learned, has a lot of gates and it’s actually almost impossible to photograph at or around sunset. Still, I managed to get some cool shoots of the canyon from a view point just before the sunset hit and the gates closed. In fact, the security guard was great and basically offered to let me stay 30 minutes later so I could catch slightly better light. The next day, I headed into the southern section of the Blyde River Canyon area. I stayed in the town of Graskop and used it as a base to explore view points with dramatic names like “God’s Window” and “Wonder View”. I also checked out a couple of the waterfalls. And while the view points have dramatic names, I guess all the waterfalls are named after towns in Europe. Berlin and Lisbon falls were both very cool, although maybe a bit tough to photograph. Chasing Cats in Kruger I had 5 full days in Kruger National Park. And, after extremely successful safaris in both Kgalagadi and Etosha National Park, I was really excited to see what Kruger would bring. And, at first, things started out really well. I based myself for the first couple days at Satara Camp, which is the second biggest rest camp in Kruger National Park. Satara is in the heart of big cat country, and it didn’t disappoint. There were loads of cats around. In the 2 days I spent up there, I probably saw about a dozen...

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Travel Diaries: Zambia & Botswana
Dec02

Travel Diaries: Zambia & Botswana

I’m struggling to get these blogs updated (as usual), so sorry for stacking multiple stories into one post. I guess that’s just how it has to be when you get really far behind like I have. If you really want to stay on top of my travels, head over to my YouTube channel. There, I do a daily vlog. These installments come from really short visits to both Zambia and Botswana from last month’s trip to Southern Africa. Is Zambia Getting Worse? Or is it All About Perspective? I think perspectives are a funny thing. The last time I entered Zambia, I came in from the DRC. I had been slogging through the challenges of Central Africa for about 6 months and my arrival to Zambia was a relief. I remember being at the border and thinking about how nice it was to have things organized a bit. Of course, I do remember the bureaucracy taking forever, but there were offices and computers, as opposed to just some guy at the side of the road with a ledger which was so often the case in many West and Central African countries. This time, coming from the calm and organization of Namibia, the Zambian border crossing felt like a disaster. There were dozens of people chasing me around looking to “help”, and then the offices of the border were so slow, painful, and completely inefficient. I ended up spending quite a bit of money to get my rental car into the country, and to be honest, it was probably a mistake to go into Zambia on this trip. Of course, as if a couple hours dealing with bureaucracy at the border wasn’t enough, on the drive to Livingstone – which is littered with potholes – I got myself another flat tire. My 3rd in just 3 weeks in Africa. Back in Livingstone I basically lived in Livingstone for 3 weeks on my scooter trip down Africa. It was a bit of a refuge for me, and it was a great hub to meet people. I made a lot of friends there, including the owner of Jollyboys Backpackers and her husband who is a local videographer. So, part of the reason I went through the effort to get to Livingstone was to see them. I also wanted to check out a couple things like The Devil’s Pool over Victoria Falls which wasn’t available to me last time because it was the rainy season and the water was too high. This time, I ran into other problems at the falls. Assuming that since I had a big camera I was shooting commercial...

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Travel Diaries: Namibia
Dec01

Travel Diaries: Namibia

I’m sorry for the rushed nature of this blog post. But, as usual, I find myself behind on updating this site.  My daily travel vlog has really taken precedent, and for good reason.  While this blog has kind of stagnated in it’s growth – and to be honest, I think all blogs around the world have – my vlog is starting to thrive. So, I have to put my energy there first. Still, I think it’s important to have this thought outlet. This place that I can smash down my words on paper.  On video, you can only only capture so much, but written words just seem to have so much more emotional meaning. So, these are my quick travel diaries from my week in Namibia last month. The Most Beautiful Landscapes in the World Without a doubt, Namibia is a landscape photographer’s dream.  It’s just full of places that are beyond photogenic.  Locations that scream to be shot, and light that always seems to leave them looking stunning. My trip to Namibia started with a visit to one of my favourite places on the planet: Sossusvlei.  This is the home of those famous red dunes you see on all the marketing for Namibia.  The dunes here are just phenomenal, and some of the easiest dunes in the world to photograph.  Also, you have Deadvlei in the same park.  This is another iconic photo location, although shooting it was one of the biggest challenges of the trip, due to the logistics of it all.  Watch the video below to see what I’m talking about. I was a total of 3 days in Sossusvlei, which was the perfect amount of time to capture some cool imagery as well as not feel rushed.  These are some of my favourite photos from the trip. Hitting Jackpots in Etosha Based on my last visit to Etosha National Park, I decided to only spend pretty limited time in the park on this visit to Namibia.  In general, Etosha can be a bit hit or miss.  Because of the vasts expanses of land, quite often the wildlife is a really far away.  Moreover, there’s a lot of brush in the park, so it can be hard to spot the animals even if they’re close to the roads. However, even though I spent less that 24 hours in the park, I absolutely hit the wildlife jackpot.  I saw lions, rhinos, and all the other usual suspects. And, just before sunset I managed to see a very young leopard very close to my camera lens.  Then, at night by the waterhole there were just incredible scenes as...

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This winter get your family through airport security quickly
Dec01

This winter get your family through airport security quickly

Travelling with the family can be challenging, especially when you get to airport security. Following these tips from the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) will not only help bring the stress level down, but also get you through the checkpoint faster and easier. Download CATSA’s App Go to CATSA’s website (catsa.gc.ca) and download their “Breeze through security” mobile app. In addition to wait times, you’ll find information on what you can and can’t bring through security and helpful tips about the screening process. Remember the 100ml Rule Put large containers of liquids, aerosols and gels in your checked baggage. Only amounts less than 100 ml, placed in a 1 L clear, re-sealable plastic bag, are permitted in your carry-on baggage. This includes beverages and non-solid food (e.g. yogurt, pudding and peanut butter). However, beverages and food for children under the age of two are exempt from these restrictions (e.g. breast milk, formula, juice and purees). Keep these items within reach as they need to be inspected separately. Leave Gifts Unwrapped If you’re bringing gifts, leave them unwrapped in case their contents may need to be inspected. Some airports have gift-wrapping services located past security during the holiday season. How to Pack Your Electronics for Airport Security Bringing your children’s electronic games is a good way to keep them busy at the airport. To save time leave small electronic devices like tablets, e-books, cameras and handheld video games in their cases or in your carry-on baggage for screening, then simply place the case or baggage in the bin. If you travel with large electronic items like laptops, DVD players, netbooks, notebooks or game consoles (Xbox, PlayStation, etc.) you need to remove them from your carry-on baggage and place them separately in a bin. Make sure there are no other items on top or underneath. Choose easy-to-remove outerwear Make sure the little ones can easily remove winter jackets, boots and hats. These items must be placed in bins for screening. Look for the Family/Special Needs lane If you need help at the checkpoint, look for the Family/Special Needs lane. It features screening equipment that can accommodate larger items, like car seats and strollers, and screening officers who offer additional assistance. Have your boarding passes ready Remember to have all family members’ boarding passes ready for inspection. If you have more questions about the screening process, you can find answers online at catsa.gc.ca, on the go with CATSA’s mobile app or on social media (Twitter: @catsa_gc, Pinterest: CATSAGC). You can also watch short info video on CATSA’s YouTube channel. Bon...

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I’m Taking on a Travel Photographer/Writer Intern!
Nov08

I’m Taking on a Travel Photographer/Writer Intern!

This year has been busy, maybe a bit too busy. I’m very very grateful for all the work, but sometimes it feels like there just aren’t enough hours in the day.  In reality, to keep living this life, I need some help. And, I thought, well, maybe we could help each other. I get emailed on a daily basis asking about the potential to learn from me, or from people looking for insight into the industry.  I’ve had a number of people ask if they could intern or assist me at some point.  And for a while now I’ve wanted to make that happen.  Well, it’s happening.  I’m bringing on an intern travel photographer. Please, read the info below. And, once you have, download the application here. When? The plan right now is for the intern to join me on the road for 4 weeks starting in mid-March. I know it’s early, then, to be posting this. But, I’m so busy that I’m going to need time to read applications and chat with potential candidates.  My time frame is looking like this: Applications Open (and will remain open until the day I select someone) Today. I’ll be chatting with about 20 people on a long list starting around November 23rd. I’ll be chatting more in depth with 5 people on a short list starting mid-December. I should have an intern selected by January 10th. January and February will be spent planning the project. Where? The where is still to be determined.  Even though I’m freelance and open to go where I want, I have a set of clients who I confer with on a regular basis. I need to know their needs and if they have a preference on where I shoot.  I also need to pitch new clients ideas for potential projects. As of now, it’s looking like it will be either the Philippines or Indonesia.  But, it could end up being Brazil. You never know. Who? Before I get into who my ideal candidate is, I should first let you know who is not. Looking for a holiday:  If you’re just looking for a holiday well doing some work. I want people who are serious about trying to make a career out of travel photography or writing. Married with Children: I don’t mind if you’re married and you’re SO is OK with your being gone. But, I know the strain being away so long can put on a family.  So, I’d rather avoid that. I can be swayed for the right person. But, I have my fears. Tough Visa Country: Citizens of some countries have a hard...

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The Best Place in Africa to See Lions: Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
Nov08

The Best Place in Africa to See Lions: Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

I didn’t have Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park on my list of things to do on this trip through Southern Africa.  Then, a friend of mine mentioned that it might be the best place in Africa to see lions.  He said that on his trip to the park, he saw over 20 lions, in various prides, before breakfast one day.  So, when I looked it up on the map, and realized that it really wasn’t all that far out of my way, I decided to add it to my schedule. Now, since I’m a bit behind on my blog here, I thought I’d just mash both of my videos from my trip to Kgalagadi into one blog post. The first is a 4k video I shot in the park.  Day 1 in Kgalagadi was unreal. It started off pretty slow, but then just as the sun was about to set I came across 2 young male lions.  Not only were they active, but they just seemed to constantly be walking through beautiful light for photography.  It was amazing.  These lions, too, are the famous black mane Kalahari Lions.  So, it was incredibly special to see.  Of course, there was more to the day than just lions. Check it out. Then, my second day spending Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park I again went on a game drive. I again learned why this is the best place in Africa to see lions.  Not only do you see a lot of lions in the park, but you have really special moments with them.  Rarely are there other vehicles around when you see them, and most of the time the lions are really close. I should say, too, that this park isn’t just know for lions, but a great place to see big cats of all kinds.  There are also lots of Cheetahs, and Leopards in the park.  On my two drives, I saw 2 leopards as well, though I wasn’t lucky enough to see Cheetahs.  There are also some more rare cats like Caracal an African Wildcats within the boundaries. Some Photos from Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park I think I had some pretty good luck with the photography side of things in the park.  I got some great wildlife hanging around some beautiful light.  On a couple occasions it just all came together.  I’m pretty happy with things considering these were all shot on just 2 game drives. What’s Next? From here, I head into Namibia and some of my favourite places on the planet. I love Namibia, and am excited to be going back to places like Sossusvlei and...

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