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Newsletter 31 - sent on the 5 September 2019
Dance with Lemurs in Madagascar!
The Summer is over, my kids are back at school, and so I have finally had the time to get back to organising tours for the next year. I am planning something special for the end of 2020, but am really pleased to announce a return to the fascinating island of Madagascar for next June.
We currently have three other destinations available:to Jordan and Laos in 2019, and two departures to Namibia in Autumn 2020. Although our photography tour of Jordan isn't included on the newsletter, as places are officially on request now that the booking date has closed, we still have places left. If you would like to come along, please fill out the booking form here as soon as possible and we will see what we can do!
I would also like to draw your attention to the information on Intrepid Travel at the foot of this newsletter. All of the land arrangements for my tours are sub-contracted to Intrepid, but not many people realise that the company is carbon neutral, and have just been awarded the highest level of social and environmental accreditation.
If you come along on any of my tours, then not only will you learn more about travel photography and come home with more great photographs than you ever thought possible; you will also enjoy engaging with the country and have a fantastically enjoyable time! As someone has said about my tours in the past:
"Your love of photography and travel is infectious and I can honestly say I have never laughed or learnt so much on a holiday before!"
Impressions of Madagascar
Madagascar is a fascinating and incomparable place. Our return to the country doesn't just give you more chances to photograph the iconic lemurs, which are endemic to the island, we also take in stunning landscapes - such as the sprawling rock formations of the Tsingy of Bemahara.
Predictably we have made a few tweaks to our last trip: most notably heading down to Ifaty in the South of the country, where we will be able to photograph baobabs in a spiny forest, as well as the famous dancing lemurs as they bounce along the ground between trees. We will also visit a reserve that has the highest concentration of Ring-tailed Lemurs in the country.
One of the cultural highlights of this trip is a visit to the Soantanana village, where members of a Protestant Christian sect process to church dressed in white. We will be invited to join them at the service and also for a lunch afterwards. It is a humbling experience and incredibly photogenic.
Travel in Madagascar is not cheap, so we have opted to stay at some incredible places, to further enhance this trip. These properties are detailed on the itinerary, so you will not only be able to see all of the amazing places that we visit, but also the hotels we will stay in along the way.
Impressions of Madagascar departs from Antananarivo on the 5 June 2020 for 15 days, and costs from £3650 per person based on twinshare. To see all of the fantastic places we visit on this trip, check out the full itinerary here, or you can find the booking form here.
Impressions of Laos
The city of Luang Prabang is one of the undisputed highlights in any traveller's Asia itinerary. A charming city of beautiful monasteries (Wats), the long lines of Buddhist monks that head out at dawn to collect alms from the faithful, are one of the must-see sights of the country.
We visit many other parts of the country, that other tours simply don't reach, including the incredible Plain of Jars in the remote North East, and the sprawling collection of islands in the South of the country known as Si Phan Don.
The best thing about Laos though are the people that you will encounter, from the hilltribes in the North, down to ethnic Khmers in the South: Lao people are warm and welcoming, calm and friendly, and will make you long to return to this hidden gem of Asia.
Impressions of Laos departs from Luang Prabang on the 27 November 2019 for 14 days, and costs from £1995 per person based on twinshare. A single supplement option is also available. At the moment, we have only four places left on this trip. You can see all of the other fantastic places that we visit on the full itinerary here, or you can find the booking form here.
The pdf for this trip can be downloaded on this link.
Impressions of Namibia
Although the undoubted highlights of any trip to Namibia are the soaring sand dunes of Sosussvlei which ring the harsh white pan of Dead Vlei, in the Namib Desert, and the incredible wildlife in the Etosha National Park, we also visit more stunning and lesser visited places in the country.
This includes the deserted ghost town of Kolmanskop, the atmospheric Quiver Tree Forest and the massive Cape Cross Seal Colony on the Skeleton Coast. We also get to photograph the Himba people in the North of the country, and search for the rare Desert Elephants.
We have two dates organised for Impressions of Namibia: departing Windhoek on the 23 September and 14 October, each for 15 days. The first trip is led by Steve Davey; the second trip by photographer Jamie Marshall. The cost is from £3995 per person based on twinshare. Already well over half of the places on these trips have already been booked.
To see more of the amazing places that we visit on this exciting photography tour, you can see the full itinerary here, or if you want to book up a place on the trip, you can find the booking form here.
The pdf for this trip can be downloaded on this link.
Why Intrepid Travel
All of the land arrangements for my tours are sub-contracted to Intrepid Travel, and I am often asked why? There are a number of reasons. I have known the founders of the company and many of their senior staff for many years, and I like their product: their style of travel and even many of the properties they select. I also have great respect for their local leaders and some of them have become good friends. Crucially though, I also like the ethos of the company. Intrepid believed in responsible travel long before it became a marketing buzzword, and they set up the Intrepid Foundation. Intrepid have been working hard at their sustainability, and have just been awarded Certified B Corporation certification which means it meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.
This aspect of Intrepid Travel has recently been featured in the London Evening Standard, and you can see the article on this link.
Lightroom tip 04 - Profile your Lens
Not everyone can afford expensive lenses, and cheaper gear can show pronounced distortion and vignetting (darkening at the edges). Even expensive professional lenses can display this effect slightly - especially very wide and super-telephoto lenses.
The good news is that the Lens Correction tab in the Develop module will give you the tools to automatically correct this. Click Enable Profile Corrections, and Lightroom should read the name of the lens directly from the Metadata and apply the correct profile. If this doesn't happen, then you can use the pop-up menus and select the manufacturer and then the lens.
If your lens is not shown, then it is possible to manually download profiles from the internet.
You can also click Remove Chromatic Aberration to get rid of any coloured fringing on your image.
If you are planning on using lens profiles, then don't crop your picture too tightly: you can loose a little at the edge of the frame when any distortion is created. You can include this setting on a develop preset so that it is automatically applied on future images.
Better Travel Photography
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