Friday, November 18, 2011

The Living Desert

Nestled between the two towns of Walvis Bay and Swakopmund lies an expansive dune belt which is part of the Namib desert.  The dune belt stretches from the inland desert to the Atlantic Coast of Namibia. 
This dune belt area is very unique, in that it has a high level of biodiversity which is the result of the many and varied habitats in the area.
First time visitors to the Namib Desert see nothing but sand and dunes for as far as the eye can see.  But, the sand dunes here are much more than beautiful barren sweeping crests and ridges of gold and red sand.  They are home to many insect, spider, scorpion, and reptile species. 
What better way to explore and experience this area than by taking Tommy's Living Desert Tour based out of Swakopmund!  Tours are led by Tommy Collard, himself: the brainchild behind this educational and eco minded 1/2 day adventure.  Tours depart at 8 AM and return around 1PM.  In that short time frame, Tommy enthusiastically and expertly shares  his vast knowledge of the hidden gems found living in the harsh environment. 
On the day we spent our morning with Tommy, we were able to see and learn about many endemic creatures.  Thanks to Tommy's keen tracking skills, we were up close and personal with a legless lizard, a sand diving lizard, a darling little palmetto gecko, and the endangered Namaqua Chameleon! He also found many beetles and a dancing white lady spider.  Tommy takes great pride in sharing his knowledge about each desert animal and plant, with passion and humor.  His wealth of knowledge includes emphasis on special adaptations and perfect design used for survival in the desert.
At one point, after reading and analyzing some tracks in the sand on the side of a tall dune, Tommy climbed top, asking us to follow.  On the dune's crest, he pointed out an endemic venomous sidewinder snake known as  a Peringuey's Adder, burrowed in the sand with only his eyes showing.  Its camouflage ability was amazing, and made me realize just how dangerous a walk on the dunes could be if one does not know where or how to look for these venomous snakes!  Tommy carefully uncovered the snake for us in order to demonstrate to us how the snake buries itself in the sand.  It  was so fascinating to witness the snake effortlessly becoming invisible in the sand in no time at all as seen in this video footage I recorded.
Intrigued by the mysteries of desert life, I decided to post a small gallery called "The Living Desert" including photos of life in the desert I made as I traveled through the Namib Desert.  It can be seen HERE.

If you find yourself in Namibia and in the Swakopmund area, I highly recommend Tommy's Living Desert Tour as a 'must' on your itinerary.  To learn more, visit Tommy's Tours and Safaris Web Site.
Or visit him on his Facebook Page.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Many Hats of Photography

This week I have chosen images of hats that I have made over the years to represent my thoughts.
Please let me explain... 

After almost 2 months away from daily work on my photography, I am happy to be back in full swing. Sitting down to my computer, I began to prioritize what needed to be done. WOW! So much editing to do in order to get caught up. New galleries to create for the web site. Images to select and upload to my stock agency. Plans to be finalized for an upcoming photo tour. And has it REALLY already been 8 weeks since I last posted a blog entry???

All of these tasks await my action- along with the physical part of my business: printing, framing and preparing for upcoming shows and exhibitions.
I was looking at my long "to do" list when it dawned on me just how many just hats  a photographer wears....

"Wendy, the Photographer," is also:
Wendy- the editor, Wendy- the writer, Wendy- the accountant, Wendy- the printer, Wendy- the promoter, Wendy- the exhibitor, Wendy- the tour planner, Wendy- the book maker, Wendy- the web master, and Wendy- the IT specialist. (and, trust me... I use that term loosely!)
I had never really stopped to realize all the hats I wear to keep my photography alive and fresh.  It's no wonder that my days go so fast!  I can hardly believe we are already approaching the close of 2011 with the holidays right around the corner...
So, I am taking a deep breath and digging in, reminding myself  how happy I am when immersed in my creative process.  Stay tuned for more galleries and blog posts as I return to a more consistent work flow...
As a very talented and successful photographer friend of mine, Brenda Tharp, recently posted on Facebook:
"I'm still alive, really I am, just overwhelmed with photo tours, manuscript editing, and planning out next year. I need six hands right now!"
I see am not alone with what I have realized.  I am sorry I can't offer Brenda or myself more hands right now- I can only offer more hats!!   ;-)