SURREAL NAMIBIA

Where: Namibia, Africa – See it on a map here

Level:  All Levels

When:  May   6 – 21, 2018  (16 days) 
When:  May 31 – June 15, 2018  (16 days) 

Tour Leaders:  Christoph Fischer (photography) and Namibian guide (nature guiding and logistics)

Maximum Class Size:  6 – Small groups for full personal attention!

My “Surreal Namibia” tour was conceived, developed and has been run, and always will be run, by me, Christoph Fischer. I do not ask other photographers to run my tours for me, which seems to be a growing trend among photography tours in Namibia. Over several years I have acquired extensive experience with photographing the Namibian landscape and wildlife and I will share freely with you all the insights and knowledge I have gained. I run small, intimate groups so that you can have my full personal attention!

Cost:  7595 Canadian Dollars (~5800 US Dollars) 

(Includes intensive hands on photography instruction, nature guide, shared accommodation, all meals, tips and gratuities, transport in custom built safari vehicles, permits, excursion fees and game drives)

Deposit:  2300 Canadian Dollars – please see bottom of this workshop description for terms and conditions

Registration: To register, or for more information, please E-mail me,  Christoph, at cgfischer@hotmail.com

 

Your Destination:

A land you never imagined could exist, Namibia, like no other, combines the spectacular, the endless, the surreal. Namibia is, in one word, otherworldly. Vast, ancient and extremely sparsely populated, it contains an unimaginable variety and combination of natural landscapes. Join me on a photographic adventure of a lifetime, and wonder in awe at the world’s second largest canyon, islands of ancient mountains surrounded by an infinite sea of golden grasses, the expanse of the world’s tallest, and surely most beautiful, ochre colored dunes, the plains of an earth churned and folded by infinite geological forces, the jaw dropping vista of gigantic dune fields extending to the very edge of the Atlantic ocean, and the unparalleled wildlife viewing opportunities in the North. Namibia is nothing other than a photographer’s dream. 

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What previous participants had to say: 

• I want to thank you, without any reservation, as to the way you organized every part of the Namibia trip. It exceeded my every expectation and the memories (and images) will last a lifetime. As I have reflected on the time together, and the information/approach you imparted on us, what comes to the forefront, from a photographic perspective, is how I am so much more aware of light…the quality; how it plays on surfaces; and the importance, along with composition, to make it an essential part of the image….oh, and to use a polarizing filter! It is my sincere hope that we see each other, in person, again, I simply cannot overemphasize how spectacular my experience was with you and how flawlessly you organized this Namibia trip so that we got the most possible out of the experience. – Jeffrey Bleaman

• Thanks for an awesome trip. Visiting Africa and photographing a safari was very high on my list of life goals, and you made the trip absolutely awesome, spectacular, educational, and fun! I can’t really say how memorable and enjoyable it was. – Jim Sinkovic

• Thanks very much for this mind blowing adventure – a true explosion of sights. We want to thank you for making our photography trip a great success from A to Z. Everything was perfect; great company, wonderful accommodations but most we appreciate your professionalism. Thank you again for the unforgettable adventure in Namibia. – Simon Dadouche and Marie Lamarche

• Thank you for the most memorable photographic trip to Namibia. Every aspect of the trip exceeded my expectations (as you’ll remember I’m a hard man to please!); accommodation, food, locations, travel, company, tuition, advice and guidance and much more were all excellent.

Your photographic enthusiasm was inspirational and infectious – I even found myself (and the others) using your terminology towards the end e.g. glow, patterns, texture and “are you using your polariser?”; you certainly made me look at subjects in a different manner, something that I will always treasure.

The only downside was that it had to end! I can’t thank you enough for the experience and have recommended you to some of my friends and I hope to join you on at least another trip. – David Hucker

• Thank you for an absolutely fabulous photo workshop in deepest Namibia, it was just fantastic. I’m going to apologise right now for all my grumbling about the early mornings, it was just what I needed to start me on sunrise shots that I have been too lazy to do on my own. I cannot fault the care with which you have prepared each part of the tour, from meeting us at the airport to the best accommodation nearest to the stops on our adventure. The food was better than I expected at every spot we landed in plus the choices and portions were generous. I definitely put on weight.

I admired your persistence in working with me to extract a better outcome from my previous thinking of what was important before I pressed the button to take the shot. The in-house workshop on the computer was a great step forward for me to understand the features of my model camera like DOF and relevant ISO. Thank’s so much for this help.

I commend you on your attention to detail, from the timing at the start of the day (cringe), to the pickup and packing of the baggage, the traveling, food stops, unpacking at the other end, getting our rooms, feeding us, and planning the next photo shoot, it was just amazing. I loved it. – Denis Pennington

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Not only will you experience and photograph the most beautiful landscapes Namibia has to offer, but you will also be able to rest in full comfort and luxury at your hotel while you enjoy 3 course dinners, delectable lunches and delicious breakfasts. I will take you to all the locations I have identified as the most promising for rewarding photography and, at the same time, you will benefit from an intense two week learning experience which is certain to transform your photography. Several photography workshops/tours are offered in Namibia, but none of them offer the three spectacular locations I will be taking you to. These locations will remain nameless here, to prevent imitation.

Although Namibia is a big country, and we will have to cover large distances to reach our destinations, we will spend as little time as possible on the road. In addition, this workshop runs during the early Namibian winter, so that temperatures during the day are comfortably warm and not too hot. This will allow us to explore by foot our surroundings for photographic opportunities we may want to take advantage of when the light is more conducive to creating compelling images.

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Your Learning Experience:

My goal is for you to come away with great images which portray the beauty and unique nature of this incredible country. I will take you to all the locations I have identified as the most promising for rewarding photography and we will visit these only when the quality of light is most conducive for compelling images. As you photograph I will give you dedicated in the field instruction on all aspects of photography, ranging from the technical to the creative.  Although we will be spending as much time as possible in the field, it is important to  balance this with review sessions, lectures and processing sessions so that, as our tour progresses, you have the opportunity to appraise the photographic progress you are making, and identify those areas which need more work. I will be putting much emphasis on the creative aspects of photography such as composition and developing a vision. Another area we will be focusing on is processing and developing a workflow, which forms an extremely important part of photography, especially in the digital age.

I fully expect that you will leave this workshop as a photographer with a new vision and greatly augmented technical skills, both camera and processing wise.

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Schedule:

Day 1: The first evening of our two week adventure! Rest and relax in our comfortable, highly rated hotel in Windhoek, and enjoy the scenic views of Windhoek and surroundings! We meet for our welcome dinner, where we have the chance to get to know one another, and where I will give you an overview of your upcoming two week long adventure! 

Day 2: After an early breakfast we are off on our first journey, to a forest of Namibia’s national plant, the unique and beautiful quiver tree! It is actually a very large succulent and its distinctive shape and highly textured bark make for a beautiful photographic subject. We will photograph these trees, strewn among giant boulders, in the warm afternoon light, and we stay on to capture them under the incredible Namibian night sky. We return to our hotel for a hearty, home cooked meal!

Day 3: It is our second morning in Namibia, and already we have the opportunity to photograph Cheetahs in the early morning light! This is a unique opportunity to capture Cheetahs up close – they are quite elusive animals, even in world famous nature reserves, such as Etosha National Park, which we visit during the last two days of our photography adventure. After breakfast, we are off to the world’s second largest canyon, the majestic Fish River. It features a gigantic ravine, which is as much as 160 km long, 27 km wide and in some places it is almost 550 meters deep. After settling in to our spectacularly located accommodation, right on the edge of the canyon, we embark to our sunset location on the Fish River’s rim, and after having taken in the grand views, we set up to photograph the sun as it sets over this vast canyon. Following our shoot we return to our hotel for a well deserved three course dinner and rest in preparation for the following day.

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Day 4: We rise well before dawn and depart to capture sunrise at the Fish River. There are many different compositional opportunities, ranging from panoramas to telephoto abstracts of the light interacting with the canyon’s multifaceted rock formations, and we will be sure to take advantage of them! Later in the afternoon we return for our last sunset shoot at the Fish River, followed by another opportunity to capture the spectacular Namibian night sky!

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Day 5: Our last morning at the beautiful Fish River and, after an early breakfast, we are back on the road to one of my favorite locations, the surreal and majestic Namib Rand, a land of endless golden grasses surrounding islands of mountains, aptly described by their German name, “Inselberge”. Originally a collection of sheep farms, the Namib Rand now is a private nature reserve, protecting this uniquely beautiful and unusual part of the world. We will have the entire lodge to ourselves and after having settled in, we are off to our first guided drive. Not only will you have the opportunity to photograph the Namib Rand’s strikingly beautiful landscape, but also the many animals that inhabit it, such as Ostrich and several species of buck such as the beautiful Oryx and Springbok, to name a few. Here there are excellent opportunities for wildscapes, where you can capture wildlife in the context of their beautiful surroundings. We stay on to photograph the night sky before we return to a lovely dinner prepared especially for us by our hosts.

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Day 6: Up early, and bright eyed and bushy tailed, we capture the sublime beauty of the rising sun painting the Namib Rand’s mountains and grass lands in warm morning light. This is also where many of the animals will be out, grazing and enjoying the cooler morning temperatures. Later in the afternoon we are off for our last sunset shoot and we will have the opportunity to capture the glorious night sky over these unique lands. 

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Day 7: After our last morning shoot, and a delicious breakfast, we are back on the road, this time to the world famous Sossusvlei Dune fields, home to the largest, and certainly some of the most beautiful, dunes in the world. You will be staying at a beautiful eco lodge, built right within the park, with a front seat view of the dune fields. We are able to drive to the dunes well before sunrise and leave after sunset – a privilege reserved for guests at our hotel! After having settled in, we are off to explore the amazing dunes, and capture shapes, textures and patterns as they evolve with the movement of the late afternoon sun. You also have the option of going on a sunset helicopter flight over these vast dune fields, and you can fly all the way to the ocean. It is highly recommended and it has counted as a highlight of the tour for most of my participants! 

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Day 8: Our first morning in Sossuvlei, and we are off well before sunrise to capture the intriguing textures shapes and patterns drawn by these giant, red dunes. The opportunities for photography are endless and are significantly different from those afforded by the afternoon sun. In the afternoon we have the option of climbing a nearby dune to capture the spectacular interplay of the last light of the day with the majestic Namib Mountain range, while other members of the group will go on their helicopter flight, if they elected to do so.

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Day 9: Up well before sunrise, we drive to the world famous Deadvlei, a clay pan filled with beautifully and intricately shaped dead trees, surrounded by giant red dunes. The combination of these stark trees against a backdrop of towering dunes painted in the warm light of the rising sun makes for wonderfully painterly and abstract photographic opportunities. No wonder this area is so famous! After a special breakfast in a beautiful location, we return to our lodge and get ready to go back on the road, towards our first secret location! An amazingly contorted and folded landscape, I call it the land of layers, due to the many compelling opportunities for layered compositions. Our lodge is remotely located, but it offers some of the best food you will enjoy during our Namibian adventure!  

 

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Martha, one of last year’s participants, runs down the side of a dune she climbed to photograph the surrounding dune fields as they  were clothed in the warm light of the rising sun. Martha reached the dead trees at the bottom as the sun began to creep down the dune face. This gave her enough time to set up for her compositions of the trees silhouetted against the illuminated dune face.

 

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Day 10: After our morning shoot from the best vantage point in this amazing location, we enjoy our packed breakfast before we are off to our second secret location, just as otherworldly and beautiful as our first. In fact, its name is even out of this world! But first we check into our hotel at Walvisbaai, right on the main esplanade bordering the cool Atlantic ocean. Upon return we enjoy some delectable seafood at the most famous eatery in the town.

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Day 11:  Prepare for an exciting, adrenaline filled 4×4 tour to our third secret location, which will definitely count as one of the highlights of our Namibian adventure! Our guides pick us up outside our hotel and take us to some of the most unusual and breathtaking combination of elements you likely ever have witnessed. But I will say no more – you need to see and experience it yourself! Be sure to start out the day with empty memory cards since you very well may have filled them by the time we return! After our return to our hotel we are back out on the pier to enjoy finger licking good seafood!

Day 12: This morning we spend close by our hotel as we take advantage of some of the best opportunities to photograph scores of flamingos, white pelicans and other wading birds, which feed in nearby lagoons. Following breakfast, we follow the vast Namibian coast line on our way to the amazing Spitzkoppe mountains, a world of gorgeous bolders, arches and cliff faces, which rise, like a mirage, out of the endlessly flat desert plains. Here you will have the opportunity of capturing the most intense twilight I have witnessed, sweeping across the desert plain and painting the entire mountain range in the incredibly warm afterglow of the setting sun.

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Day 13: Today we are off to world famous Etosha National Park which boasts some of Africa’s best wildlife viewing opportunities. Here you have the chance to photograph all of Africa’s wildlife, including elephants, rhinos, lions, giraffes, cheetah, zebra, ostrich, plentiful buck and, if we are lucky, leopards. This is the beginning of the dry season, when the thirsty wildlife congregates at the waterholes, and you may witness predator and prey sharing the same space, putting aside their difference while they quench their thirst! Shortly after arrival we are off on our first private guided game drive, and perhaps we will be lucky enough to see lions or rhinos on our first day!

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Day 14: After an early breakfast we go on a full day, private guided game drive, in the hope of capturing some lions, elephants or other members of Africa’s big five, as they emerge from the long night to quench their thirst, bathed in the warm morning light. A full day game drive affords us many more game viewing opportunities, at locations which are further from our lodge. After a buffet lunch inside the park we depart on the second part of our drive, exploring more of the park’s waterholes as we make our way back to our lodge. We cap off an exciting day with a delicious dinner and many stories to tell!  

Day 15: Our last morning in Etosha and this is our opportunity to complete our already extensive portfolio of wildlife images from Etosha. Upon return from our morning game drive, we enjoy our last delicious breakfas before we embark on our journey back to Windhoek. Our long day ends with a celebratory dinner, where, in the company of newly found friends, we look back at our two week long adventure which is over much to soon!

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Day 16: Our last day in Namibia. Participants will be leaving the hotel at different times of the day in order to catch their flights home or to their next African destination. I will be available for our last one on one review sessions, to answer any remaining questions you may have or simply to enjoy a last drink together on our hotel’s terrace. The workshop ends at 12 pm. All good things have to come to an end!

 

What is included:

Intensive hands on photography instruction, nature guide, shared accommodation, all meals, tips and gratuities, transport in custom built safari vehicles, permits, excursion fees and game drives.

What is not included:

Flights to and from Windhoek, Namibia; alcoholic beverages; snacks outside of meal times; helicopter flight at Sossusvlei.

How do I get there?:

We meet in Windhoek, Namibia. This is best reached by flying to Johannesburg, South Africa and then taking a connecting flight to Windhoek. Upon your arrival in Windhoek, all transport is taken care of for you.

What about Visas and other logistics?:

Upon request, I will be happy to supply you with detailed information regarding travel arrangements and preparations, including Visas. Please feel free to contact me at cgfischer@hotmail.com

Terms and Conditions:

In order to reserve your spot, a deposit of 2300 Canadian Dollars is kindly requested. Full payment of the remaining balance is due by 90 days before tour begin.

Cancellation more than 150 days before tour begin: Full refund.

Cancellation less than 150 but more than 90 days before tour begin: No deposit refund, unless I am able to find someone to fill your spot, but I reserve the right to fill the remaining spots on my Namibia workshops before I mention that there has been a cancellation.

Cancellation less than 90 days before tour begin: No refund of deposit and final payment, unless I am able to find someone to fill your spot, but I reserve the right to fill the remaining spots on my Namibia workshops, before I mention that there has been a cancellation.