2018-08-13: Monochrome Monday

I’m a little later than normal with my Monochrome Monday post as I have been playing around with using the MacPhun (now Skylum) Tonality plugin with Luminar.  I must say, I am really enjoying using Tonality again!

Tonality was my go-to for black and white conversion when I was using Lightroom and Photoshop.  I found I could dial in the vision I was imagining much faster than using other black and white methods.  Now that I no longer have Photoshop, I am glad I have a way to integrate the plug-in back into my workflow when I want to.

I’ve started watching some Luminar videos on YouTube by Jim Nix, and one of them really resonated with me today.  It had nothing to do with the image or the edits he did, but just the concept of revisiting old work to re-edit photos, to experiment with new software, filters and combinations of tools to keep your creativity and interest peeked.  A lot of that is why I am enjoying this theme so much, as the lack of familiarity with the software has caused me to think a lot more critically about what I want to achieve, so I can figure out how to do it, but it has also allowed me to just open random filters to see what they do, sometimes to great result, sometimes awful.  If you are interested, you can find the Luminar video by Jim Nix here.

Now on to the images for today.

For this giraffe image, I did an extra step to start, and from Luminar opened Topaz Studio and then the Topaz Remask plugin.  I find Remask is excellent for complicated situations like these tree branches against the sky.  The sky was very grainy, and I wanted to apply some noise reduction, and I thought that would be the best way to go.  I shot this image with my Panasonic FZ1000, which is a very capable little camera, but I do find skies are generally quite noisy regardless of the ISO.  There was also a lot of airborne dust so it could have been that rather than a limitation of the camera.  After I created my mask in Remask, I ran the noise removal filter in Topaz Studio and sent the image back to Luminar, and then onto Tonality for black and white conversion.  If Luminar had an option to adjust luminosity masks so I could isolate the sky, I would have gone that route and saved some steps, but right now its not an option.

Giraffe in the desert.  Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp, Namibia.

Things were much simpler for the next two images.  I edited both using the Tonality plug in, though I am sure I could have arrived at similar results just using Luminar.  As with most photo editing programs, there are a lot of different paths to get to the same place.  It’s all about what works for you.

A zebra calf photographed in Etosha National Park, Namibia.
A black-faced impala spotted in Ongava Game Reserve in Namibia.  Our guide explained to us that any reserves that add impala to their property in Namibia must add the black-faced impala.  This was started as a measure to help conserve the species and allow them to thrive.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my selections for the day 🙂

2018-06-11: Monochrome Monday

A young rhino grazing peacefully in the early evening on Ongava Game Reserve in Namibia.  May it have the opportunity to live in peace, free from the harm of poaching.



2018-06-03: Monthly Project – Bird Photography

Part of the reason that I chose bird photography this month was to get out and enjoy the nice weather, as well as get familiar with a new lens I have purchased.  So at first glance it may not make any sense that today I’m posting images from my last trip.  I have gotten out a bit over the past couple of days and taken some bird images, and I have been really impressed with the lens so far.  But I’m already half way through Sunday and I haven’t had a chance to start editing, so rather than miss posting altogether or rushing my editing process, I decided to go for some bird images from my catalogue that I haven’t posted before.

I hope you enjoy my selections for this week, and next week I will be sharing some of our local birds.

Wishing you all a wonderful week ahead.

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We came across a very large sociable weavers nest while on a game drive through Etosha National Park.  There was a lot of activity in and out of the large communal nest, here one of the birds pauses in a more open spot where it is easier to see them.
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Up against the nest, the weaver is very camouflaged.
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The nest itself was so large it brought down one of the large branches of the acacia tree.
crimson breasted shrike
This crimson breasted shrike played hard to get for a photo; this was the best that I could do while driving through the Makgadikgadi Pans.
glossy starling
A beautiful glossy starling in early morning light.
My personal favourite, the lilac breasted roller.

2018-05-20: Painterly Effects Project – Namibia

I was inspired this week to explore images from Namibia with my painterly effects project for the month.  In the brief time I have spent there, I have found it to be a magical place. The light is beautiful and the landscapes are at times surreal.  From the air, the vast open spaces seem lifeless, but on the ground, it is a completely different story.

I hope you enjoy my selections for the week.

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A group of oryx walking in front of one of the impressive dunes in Sossusvlei.
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A lone elephant moves through the desert, looking to catch up to her herd that had already reached the river.
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Sunset over the desert in Hoanib.
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A group of flamingos in flight over the Skeleton Coast.
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The land of vast deserts sometimes surprises with lush greenery.  This lion was lounging in the cool grass with the rest of his pride nearby.
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Large groups of seals awaited us when we visited the Skeleton Coast from Hoanib Camp.  Inland it was a clear, blue sky day, but on the coast, fog and mist obscured the view.
A group of lions, newly evicted from their pride, roaming through Etosha National Park.
In Damaraland, you can easily feel like you are the only people for miles around.


2018-03-04: Multiple Exposure Project

This first multiple exposure image of the month is an idea that I jotted down in more than one place over several months, so I am finally glad to have a chance to explore it and create something.

I created this image utilizing photoshop, using some basic layer masks and adjusting the blend mode to suit.  It really is that simple but that are lots of step by step tutorials available if anyone is interested in researching it further.

The lion image that is a basis for the composite was shot in Etosha National Park in Namibia in April 2017.  This young male lion slunk across the road in full stalk position towards a herd of zebra, but as they had spotted him before he even started moving, it really was a wasted effort.  The orientation of the zebra pictures I had from that same time period weren’t quite right for what I was looking to do, so I found one in my catalogue taken in the Okavango Delta in 2015 that worked much better.  The positioning of the group of zebra and tsessebe give the impression that they were watching something in the distance… perhaps even a predator moving through.




2017-10-23: Monochrome Monday

My Monochrome Monday choice for this week is from a wonderful lion sighting during my time spent in Etosha National Park in Namibia.  You really can’t ask for better than this!

Lion brothers in Etosha National Park.  April, 2017. 1/1000sec, f10, ISO 450


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2017-07-16: Highlights of Little Ongava


The second stop on my recent trip to Southern Africa was at the beautiful Ongava Game Reserve adjacent to Etosha National Park.  Like at our first camp, here we also found a familiar face, as the camp manager we met on a previous trip to Namibia had moved over to this region, and was running the lodge during our stay.  We had a wonderful time catching up with Maggie; I am still amazed that we not only found familiar faces so far from home, but that people remembered us as well 🙂

Typically, we went into the national park to explore on our morning game drives, and the spent the afternoons on the private reserve. The Etosha region had also received higher than average rainfall, and was very lush and green during our stay. Right before we arrived, they had a day of heavy rain, and on our first game drive we ended up stuck in the mud on one of the roads on the Ongava Reserve.   After about 45 minutes, our awesome guide Willy managed to get the vehicle moving again.  We were all covered in splattered mud from head to toe, but laughing and smiling; its all part of the safari adventure.

We spent time with elephants and rhino, lions and wildebeest.  We saw zebra, oryx springbok and impala, and an abundance of birds.  The reserve had a lovely hide, but due to the rains in the region, water sources were abundant and the man-made dam near the lodge was not being frequently used during our stay (with the exception of the resident terrapins).  It was a beautiful region that I hope I have the opportunity to explore again in the future.

Here are a few images from my 3 nights in this beautiful area.

A bull elephant on Ongava Game Reserve.  This big guy was attracting quite a crowd, as he is one of only four elephants on the reserve.  All the elephants ended up there after breaking in from neighbouring Etosha, and then deciding to stay.
We saw many herds of zebra during our drives through Etosha.  
This young wildebeest was part of a sizeable herd, but was unfortunately injured and hobbling around on a broken leg.  This one will definitely be the animal the lions size up as a potential meal, the next time the pride and the herd cross paths.
We were fortunate to see both white and black rhino during our time in the Etosha area.  Such impressive creatures.
One of the highlights driving through Etosha was coming across this group of brothers chilling out next to a waterhole.  They were very close to the road, giving lots of people a fantastic opportunity to see lions up close.  One of the brothers went into stalk mode, and crossed the road towards a group of springbok, but they had spotted him quickly so it was a no go for some springbok for breakfast.
A rock hyrax seen near the dining area at Little Ongava.  This little one was calling out constantly and making quite a racket, but it took me a bit of time to spot it.  Apparently, this hyrax is always hanging around the camp.
A pair of ostrich seen during a drive through Etosha National Park.
A waterbuck on the Ongava Private Game Reserve.  Waterbuck are not a naturally occurring species in the area, but were introduced the the reserve around 10 years ago to see if they could cope with the terrain and climate.  The population there has been thriving.
Our last morning in Ongava, we spent time on the reserve rather than in the park, as we had a fairly early flight to our next destination.  We were having a rather relaxed drive when another guest on the vehicle spotted a lion hidden in the grass in a thicket; we were able to drive closer and find the entire pride having a rest as the day heated up.


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www.jennifersawickyphotography.com for wildlife, landscape and nature inspired artwork.


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