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Capture Namibia: Photography Tips from Matthew Hood

  
  

Matthew Hood is no stranger to Africa. Having filmed for the likes of Animal Planet, he recently embarked on his own film making adventure: "Namib Grand". Watch the trailer below and find out more about Matthew's travels to one of the world's last untouched landscapes, Namibia.


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

Watching the sunrise on the dunes around Sossusvlei was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. The light becomes very warm and the colours of the dunes begin to saturate as if glowing from within. The rising sun hits the taller dunes at their very peak, and then begins to fall down their slope as if someone is pulling back a curtain, it is quite epic. 

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Photo by Matthew Hood @ hoodvisuals.com

 

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

I had never photographed in a place with that much sand. One of the challenges is to manage the dust and sand that has away of getting into every piece of luggage one might bring.  Unfortunately the truck I hired was not properly sealed which left the back of the cab looking like a miniature version of the desert. The upside of all this sand is the endless expanse of the Namib Desert, which yields a truly cinematic landscape.

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Photo by Matthew Hood @ hoodvisuals.com 

 

“A truly cinematic landscape”

 

Which photos shot in Namibia are you most proud of?

Although I was shooting still images, the end result are time-lapse sequences. By taking hundreds (sometimes thousands) of photographs in the same position, they can be played back as a motion picture sequence. 


NAMIB GRAND Trailer by Matthew Hood @ HoodVisuals on Vimeo


I am quite happy with 3 particular sequences that I used in the "Namib Grand" trailer.  

1: The opening and closing shots of the trailer were shot at Sesriem Canyon. The shadows remained the same for the better part of the morning and afternoon, and then as the sun continued west, the light began to illuminate this narrow section of the canyon.  The highlights and shadows danced around and the proceeded up until just the very top of the canyon was lit. 

2: "The Bridge" at Spitzkoppe frames the two huge koppies that shoot out of the ground very well.  With a bit of camera movement, one can appreciate the beautiful rocks and boulders that have been shaped by water and wind over thousands of years.

3: The Deadvlei sequence turned out quite well.  The scorched camel thorn tree in the foreground helps to create depth with big shadows sweeping across the dunes and the Milky Way eventually coming into view.

 

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Photo by Matthew Hood @ hoodvisuals.com

 

What is your equipment of choice for your Namibian expeditions?

I primarily use the Canon 5DMarkII and Carl Zeiss 15mm lens. This lens has proven to be extremely sharp and produced such accurate colours and contrast that a lot less editing is required.  For many of my time-lapses I used the Kessler Cineslider which allows the camera to move across a 5ft track over the course of a whole night.  This little bit of movement really helps to animate the features of the landscapes.  I also use a lot of apps on the iPhone to track the sun, moon, constellations as well as calculate the number of photos I need for each time-lapse sequence. 

 

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Photo by Matthew Hood @ hoodvisuals.com

 

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

#1: Do your research before hand. The internet is an invaluable tool with so much information at hand.  You can read through blogs from other travellers, visit tour company websites, maps, and look at photographs of other professional and amateur photographers for inspiration.  Namibia is such a big country with so many spectacular places to visit and photograph.  One will plan their trip very differently if they are there for a week versus 6 months. For example, I was only there for 20 days so I focused on one quarter of the country, rather than trying to see everything and spend all my time driving.

#2: Spend the first hour at each destination without your camera. Walk around and look at the features of the landscape. Look at a certain rock or tree from different angles and see the way the light hits it.  Ask yourself where is the sun going to rise? Where is it going to set?  Taking a bit of time to understand the landscape and establish what sort of image you would like to produce and what needs to be included or excluded from the frame will help tremendously.

#3: Leave room for change.  If you have the ability to leave your itinerary flexible, try to do so.  It is very important to plan and be efficient with your time, but just as important to leave room for the unknown.  You might end up in a place and simply fall in love and not want to leave.  Particularly if you're a photographer, you will always feel the need to stay and shoot one more photo. 

 

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Photo by Matthew Hood @ hoodvisuals.com


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

 
About Matthew Hood

In 2006, Matthew Hood made his first trip to Africa, and, after being captivated by its beauty, has returned on a regular basis.  His projects have led him to photograph civil conflict in northern Uganda, chimpanzees in Tanzania, and Africa's highest peak - Mount Kilimanjaro.  He has recently filmed two wildlife series for Animal Planet in Zimbabwe, and is currently working on his own independent film in Namibia, titled "Namib Grand".  Using, experimenting with, and exploring an array of photographic techniques, Matthew's images are the result of his attention to detail, immersing the viewer into the moment.  Matthew's formal training is in Cinema & Communications and Photography in Canada.

You can see more of his work at www.hoodvisuals.com or find him on Facebook

 

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 

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Bill Gozansky

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 Matthew Hood

 Ted Alan Stedman

 Jan & Jaye Roode

 

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