better travel photography•COM

Newsletter 27 - sent on the 7 June 2019



Photograph Sunrise at Dead Vlei


Dear [Name,fallback=],

Following on from our succesful first tour of Namibia last year, we have organised two dates for a return trip at the end of next year. One of these trips already has six people booked on it, and we expect the remaining places to be booked up really quickly. We are only holding the first wave of bookings open for a week, then we will allocate places on the trip.

We are also in the process of organising another couple of dates for our most popular London courses, so keep a look out for future newsletters for more details.

Impressions of Namibia

Namibia is an amazingly photogenic country. The landscapes, wildlife, and colonial architecture combine with a small but welcoming population to make it an entrancing country to travel in, and a particularly rewarding place to photograph. We have made a few tweaks to our previous itinerary, and have taken the decision to organise two dates from the very start, as we expect this trip to sell out very quickly.


There are two places that you just have to stay on any visit to Namiba, and unfortunately these don't come cheap. Staying at the Sossus Dune Lodge inside the park at Sossusvlei gives you special access to the park before anyone else, which means that you can get to the hauntingly beautiful dry pan of Dead Vlei in order to witness the sunset, and before the crowds of course.


Staying at Okakuejo, in Etosha National Park, means that you can spend the night at their floodlit waterhole: in my opinion the best in Africa, and your best chance of seeing the critically endangered Black Rhino anywhere on the continent. We spend two nights at each of these places, to give us the best access for photography.

In the North of the country, we head into Damaraland, to seek out the rare Desert Elephant sub species, and also to photograph the vibrant Himba people, many of whom still lead traditional, nomadic lives.



We also head out to the Kolmanskop Ghost Town, where we will aim to be there as the site opens, again to beat the crowds! Kolmanskop was a rich mining town, that was established in the middle of a diamond boom, before being deserted and reclaimed by the shifting sands of the desert. Fantastically atmospheric, this site changes as the sun moves around, sometimes casting striking shadows.


Another incredible place that we visit is the Cape Cross Seal Colony. This is a sprawling mass of thousands of garralous and squabbling Cape Fur Seals. It is possible to get exceptionally close to these animals, as they are often lounging alongside the wooden walkway. There is a good chance of seeing jackals here, scavanging amongst the seals, and occasional even a hunting hyena.

Impressions of Namibia is being organised in a significantly different way to most of our trips. We have two dates organised: 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. 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. We are holding the first wave of bookings open until the 14 June, then will allocate places.


Impressions of Jordan

We still have a few places left on our return to Jordan in October. One of the advantages of running our third trip to Jordan is that I have a lot of local knowledge, including a good way to be able to shoot star trails above some of the atmospheric tombs at Petra - even though the site is closed at night! The best thing is that you won't even have to break the rules!


Petra is a fantastic site, and we have plenty of time to explore and get to some of the more far-flung areas and photograph some of the more unusual angles. The chance of photographing star trails will be a highlight, and something that anyone with a DSLR or good mirrorless camera will be able to join in. We will even have the chance to practice a few days earlier when we spend a night in the desert of Wadi Rum!

Impressions of Jordan departs from Amman on the 22 October 2019 for 11 days, and costs from 1795 per person based on twinshare. A single supplement option is also available. To see the rest of the places we visit on this trip, you can see the full itinerary here, or you can find the booking form here.


Impressions of Laos

Of all the places we visit on our Impressions of Laos trip at the end of the year, the area around Vang Vieng is arguably to most visually stunning. A vast series of eroded limestone rocks, alongside the Nam Song River. The rocks look at theior most atmospheric at sunrise and sunset, and if you are keen, there is even the chance of floating above them on a hot air balloon.



There are a number of caves in the rocks, and you can explore some of these, walk out into the countryside to see the rural life of the people, or simply sit with a cold Beer Lao and photograph the boats that make their way down the river.

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. You can see the full itinerary here, or you can find the booking form here.


Lightroom tip 02 - Sharpening edge masking

If you apply too much sharpening in Lightroom, then you can get artifacts on areas of continous tone, and even on any high ISO noise. This results in the speckled over-sharpened look. There is an easy way to avoid this though, using edge masking.


Generally digital images need some level of input sharpening, to get around the inherent softening of the digital process. The simplest thing to do is to leave the sharpening slider on the Adobe default of 40. (On earlier versions of Lightroom this was set to 25). If you want to increase the sharpening though, you run the risk that areas of continuous tone will be oversharpened. To avoid this hold down the Alt key, and slide the Masking slider.


Thee image will turn from colour to a black and white relief, and the more you use the slider, the more of the image will be masked out in black, leaving only the edge detail in white. Once you are happy with the mask, then you can use the sharpening Amount slider and it will only affect the non-masked, white edges. It goes without saying that you need to view the effect of the sharpening at 100%, and still take care to avoid sharpening too much, but you will be able to sharpen the non-masked areasd to a much greater degree.


Better Travel Photography


If you have any questions at all about anything on this email or would just like to say hello, then please do get in touch. The simplest way is to reply to this email.

Best wishes,

Steve Davey



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