A couple more traditional seascapes from Fiji.
Sorry if you came here looking for photographs of palm trees and coconuts.
I’ve just spent the Christmas/New Year break on Tokoriki Island in Fiji. Strolling along the beach one evening, I thought I’d get in for a closer look at the ocean meeting the sand.
In 1908, a labourer shovelling sand off the railway tracks from Luderitz discovered some interesting looking stones in the sand. Turns out they were diamonds, and pretty soon mining claims were established, and the town of Kolmanskop was born.
By 1912, the area was producing over 10 per cent of the world’s total diamonds, and Kolmanskop grew into a small, but very rich town, with its own butcher, baker, ice factory, and elaborate houses for the resident architect, engineers, doctor and mining managers. There was even a school and hospital.
Mining was interrupted by World War I, and the town started its final decline from around the 1930s, with the last family leaving in 1956. Since then, the desert has started to reclaim the town. While many buildings are still standing, they're gradually being filled with sand as the dunes continue their march across the landscape.
I first became aware of this place through some photographs shared by Andy Biggs. Since then, it seems like every photographer who travels through Namibia stops in here. For this reason, I couldn't shake the feeling on the first of our two days here that I was just going through the motions. Collecting photographs, rather than making them. But now that there's been some time between shooting and editing, I'm pretty pleased with a lot of the work I produced here.
Click below for a full gallery.
After a few days in the dunes, we travelled to Sesfontein for a couple of days visiting and photographing in two Himba villages in the area.
Himba are pastoralists with the men primarily taking care of the livestock while the women remain behind and undertake the bulk of the work in their small villages, including cooking, collecting water and firewood, looking after the children and maintaining the village.
The women wear traditional dress, and cover themselves in ochre. Different hairstyles represent varying stages of life or marital status.
Most of these portraits were made inside the small mud huts which the women are kind enough to let us into. Inside the huts is quite dark, with the only light source coming from the natural light through the small door.
You may have guessed, but posts have been a little out of order. The Quiver Tree Forest near Keetmanshoop was our first real stop after a long drive from Windhoek.
First, we arrived in the afternoon and spent an hour or two in the forest as the sun set. There were no clouds in the sky this day, but we still managed to get a lovely colour transition in the western sky as the sun set.
In disappointing news, this was the first shoot with my new 3 Legged Thing Winston tripod. Although the tripod was generally great throughout the trip, on this shoot, one of the feet came unscrewed and became lost among the grass and boulders. Similar happened to at least one other photographer durig the trip, with their much more expensive Really Right Stuff tripod. A handy reminder to regularly check your gear and make sure everything's done up secure and tight.
The next morning, my jet lag paiud off with a 4:00am rise to take advantage of the moonless sky just before the morning twilight. The darkness of the sky without the moon allowed us to capture the Milky Way, which was lying pretty much parallel to the horizon by this time of the night. We did some light painting of the trees, but I much prefer the photographs with the main subject silhouetted against the sky. For me, the subtle light on the other trees in this shot (from others light painting their own composition) kind of works. A happy accident.
As the sun rose, we took a short drive to the Giant's Playground, a vast pile of dolerite rocks, with the odd quiver tree dotted around.