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Capture Namibia: Photography Tips from Marsel van Oosten

  
  

Marsel van Oosten is a nature photographer from The Netherlands. You might know him from his spellbinding timelapse video "Namibian Nights", in which he compiled 16,000 night time images shot over a two year period. A spectacular feat. And his other photographs are just as impressive. We tapped Marsel for the secret to shooting such incredible photos in Namibia and found out why he keeps coming back for more.


Tell us about your most unforgettable moment while shooting in Namibia.

I've got two unforgettable moments in Namibia. The first time I flew over the red sand dunes near Sossusvlei in a microlight airplane was spectacular. So spectacular actually, that scenic flights over the dunes have been part of our Namibia photo tour ever since. Another unforgettable moment was my first night shoot in Namibia. Never before had I seen so many stars - truly mesmerizing. Night photography is also an important part of our tour, as Namibia is simply perfect for it.

 

Namibia photography, photos Namibia, Africa photography, Marsel van Oosten, time lapse namibia

Photo by ©Marsel van Oosten | Squiver Photo Tours | squiver.com

 

How does Namibia compare to other places you’ve photographed?

Namibia is very different from all the other countries in Southern Africa. It's one of the least densely populated countries in the world, and that doesn't go unnoticed - it's usually very quiet once you're away from the cities. As a result, there is also very little light pollution, and that is good for night photography. Politically, it is one of the most stable countries in the region and the people are very friendly. Prices are very reasonable and the infrastructure is very good and well maintained. In terms of landscapes, Namibia is unrivaled. The fairytale-like quivertrees in the south, the surreal desert ghost town near the coast, the highest red sand dunes in the world near Sossusvlei, and the hauntingly beautiful valley Deadvlei. Also, the wildlife viewing at Etosha is also very good, so Namibia has a lot to offer. The challenges are similar to those in other African countries - it can be brutally hot, distances between primary locations are often big, and in some places it can be very dusty. Nothing bad enough to keep us away though.

 

"In terms of landscapes, Namibia is unrivalled"

 

Namibia photography, photos Namibia, Africa photography, Marsel van Oosten, time lapse namibia

Photo by ©Marsel van Oosten | Squiver Photo Tours | squiver.com

 

Which photos shot in Namibia are you most proud of?

My first star trail image from Deadvlei is one of my favorites because the star trails fit so well with the surreal location, and I was only the second photographer in the world to have shot star trails there. As a result it is also one of my most popular images - it has been published countless times, and it is part of a series of photographs that won me the title International Nature Photographer Of The Year at the International Photography Awards in the US. I do a lot of night photography in Namibia, and over the years many people have started to do the same. When people start copying you, you know you're doing good.

 

Namibia photography, photos Namibia, Africa photography, Marsel van Oosten, time lapse namibia

Photo by ©Marsel van Oosten | Squiver Photo Tours | squiver.com 


In an effort to create something truly unique again, my wife Daniella and I shot a night timelapse video in Namibia - the first ever made. It took us two years to shoot, it was a lot of work, but it was all worth it when we won First Prize at the Travel Photographer Of The Year awards with it. 

 

Video by ©Marsel van Oosten | Squiver Photo Tours | squiver.com 

 

The third shot that I'm still very proud of, is a photograph of a blue room filled with sand that I took in the deserted diamond mining town Kolmanskop. It's rather straightforward, but the timing is perfect and so is the light. It was published as a double page spread in National Geographic magazine and it is without a doubt my most copied shot.

 

Namibia photography, photos Namibia, Africa photography, Marsel van Oosten, time lapse namibia

Photo by ©Marsel van Oosten | Squiver Photo Tours | squiver.com 


What is your equipment of choice for your Namibian expeditions?

I always bring two or three camera bodies and four lenses, all Nikon; a 14-24/2.8, a 24-70/2.8, a 70-200/2.8 and a 200-400/4. A tripod with a good ballhead is also essential. I never leave home without my iPhone - for weather predictions, sunrise, moonrise, sunset and moonset times, and for calculating the position of the stars at any given time.

 

A photographer friend is desperate to capture the best of Namibia. What top 3 tips would you give them?

#1 First determine what you want to photograph. For wildlife, you need to go in the dry season. If you want spectacular clouds, you need to go in the rainy season. If you don't like the heat, you should not visit in summer, etc. There's a best time and place for every subject.

#2 Take your time. Namibia is a big country and it has a lot to offer. Distances are often quite big between destinations, so you won't be able to see the whole country in two weeks. From my experience it's nicer to spend more time at fewer locations than to rush from highlight to highlight.

#3 If you want your visit to be efficient and productive, just join us on our Namibia Untamed photo tour. You'll travel with a small group of like-minded enthusiasts, and we will make sure that you're standing in the perfect spot at the right time. We will also make sure you return with stunning images through location briefings, in the field tips, image reviews and night photography instructions.

 

Namibia photography, photos Namibia, Africa photography, Marsel van Oosten, time lapse namibia

Photo by ©Marsel van Oosten | Squiver Photo Tours | squiver.com

 

Namibia photography, photos Namibia, Africa photography

About Marsel van Oosten

Marsel van Oosten is a professional nature photographer from The Netherlands. His images are featured in galleries and museums, he is a regular contributor for National Geographic, and he recently won the title International Nature Photographer Of The Year for the second year in a row. Marsel and his wife Daniella run specialized wildlife and landscape photography tours and workshops for small groups of all experience levels to spectacular locations worldwide. For more information visit www.squiver.com 

 

More Photographer Tips

This part of a series of blog post interviews with professional photographers on how to Capture Namibia. Every week we'll be posting tips, tricks and amazing photographs from these impressive photographers.

Follow us to get the latest in the Capture Namibia series:

          

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Namibia photography, photos Namibia, Africa photography, photography tips, photography in africa, photographs of namibia, photographs of africa

 Featured Photographers  

   
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 Marsel van Oosten 

 Christopher Rimmer

Paul van Schalkwyk

Namibia photography, photos Namibia, Africa photography, photography tips, photography in africa, photographs of namibia, photographs of africa, Bill Gozansky  Namibia photography, photos Namibia, Africa photography, photography tips, photography in africa, photographs of namibia, photographs of africa,

Namibia photography, photos Namibia, Africa photography, photography tips, photography in africa, photographs of namibia, photographs of africa, Hougaard Malan

Bill Gozansky

 Roy van der Merwe

 Hougaard Malan

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 Matthew Hood

 Ted Alan Stedman

 Jan & Jaye Roode

 


Comments

Great photos and the time-lapse video is amazing.Have a nice day Marsel
Posted @ Monday, April 15, 2013 3:12 AM by tonygoran
Fantastic images, I hope to travel with Marsel someday.
Posted @ Thursday, May 02, 2013 7:54 AM by Mitch Russo
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