Clouds and sand in the Hoanib River Valley, Namibia
It’s April and spring is in the air. That often means rain and cloudy skies. As a photographer, I much prefer a little dramatic cloud action to bright blue skies. Here are some of my favorite recent images to show why clouds can be a good thing. Namibia has the best clouds I’ve ever met. They add drama and softness to the often beautifully desolate landscape.
Cloud reflections on the River Derwent
I recently visited Tasmania for the first time. The landscape reminded me a bit of Scotland, only the Southern Hemisphere’s version.
#shotoniPhone6 unset panorama of the River Derwent
The island had some gorgeous wispy clouds. This made it fun photograph landscape on the River Derwent at sunset. I liked framing the scene both vertically and shooting in panorama mode on my iPhone 6.
Dramatic sunrise in Sydney
Clouds make all the difference when photographing sunrise and sunset. They are nature’s own filter, changing the color and mood of the magic hour. I liked the way their texture complemented Sydney Harbour when I took this shot of the Sydney Opera House at sunrise.
Blue hour clouds over the Olympics in Seattle
Seattle has too many gray days for my taste. But when the cloud cover is just right it can make for some fantastic colors during blue hour after sunset. I thought the Olympics looked particularly stunning bathed in pastel light this week.
Looking down at the produce at Eataly Milan Smeraldo
I recently spent a few days in Milan, Italy. One of the highlights of my trip to the Italian fashion capital was stumbling upon a huge and gleaming Eataly.
Artichokes at Eataly Milan
The gourmet grocery store and community concept was created by Italian entrepreneur Oscar Farinetti and is backed by some of my foodie heroes– Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich and Lidia Matticchio Bastianich.
Scenes from the produce aisle at Eataly
Part of Eataly’s manifesto is “providing the best possible products at a reasonable price point.” While I did not comparison shop for produce while in Italy, I can say that produce at Eataly is crazy beautiful.
Smile in the produce aisle
I am a big fan of Eataly NY and Eataly Milan Smeraldo’s huge 3 story space was even more impressive than the NYC Eataly.
Salumi, spec, and other assorted meats
I’m not sure what Los Angeles and Seattle are both still devoid of an Eataly…
Up in the salumi case at Eataly
In addition to the gorgeous food, Eataly offers classes so you can learn more about food you love, too (assuming you speak Italian).
The insalata aisle at Eataly
There is fresh pasta section, gorgeous steak cases, a fabulous wine edit and loads of beautiful meat and salumi.
The salumi guy
Batali’s rock and roll taste is not far from my own, and the music section of Eataly has a nice edit of cds and books.
Left: The music edit at Eataly reflects Batali’s Seattle roots
Batali’s Seattle roots are evident in the books section, with titles about local musicians Duff McKagen of Guns N’ Roses and Kurt Cobain.
A stylish shopper at Eataly
There is even a performance space and schedule of live music which shows how serious Eataly is about their community. If you’re in the area and haven’t had the Eataly experience, it’s well worth popping in for a browse or a meal right on premises.
Eataly Milan Smaraldo Exterior
Eataly Milano Smeraldo
LUN – DOM: dalle 10.00 alle 24.00
Piazza XXV Aprile, 10 – 20121 Milano
+39 02 49497301
My husband enjoying the morning clouds in the main pavillion Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp
One of the things that makes Namibia’s landscape so beautiful is it’s star-filled skies and shape shifting clouds. When you’re on safari, you wake up early to grab a bite to eat and a cup of coffee before you head out on your morning game drive. That’s when I set up my iPhone to capture the morning clouds just as the sun was beginning to peek beyond the horizon.
Morning clouds and sky time lapse at Hoanib
The moon was still clearly visible in the December morning sky.
The moon still visible in the morning skies of Namibia
Morning cloud reflections
This elephant mock charged so close I got this shot with my iPhone 6
While I enjoyed all the wildlife sightings I had on safari at Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp, I have a soft spot for the elephants. Other than dogs, elephants are my favorite animals. They have very distinct and often charming personalities. One male in the local herd, Papa G, is so much of ham he even wound up on the December 2014 cover of Conde Nast Traveler. He’s the Derek Zoolander of the Hoanib River Valley.
The local elephants are all named after guides and staffers at Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp
African elephants are HUGE– which means I could easily photograph them with my iPhones. All the images in this post are mobile photography images.
This video of a juvenile elephant mock charging
I could have watched this herd of elephants all day long, especially against the stunning desert backdrop and ever-changing Namibian clouds. Here’s some video of the action at the watering hole:
Elephants at the watering hole in the Hoanib River Valley, Namibia
Elephants at the watering hole in the Hoanib River Valley
I loved how playful the juveniles are, and how they only get serious about drinking the water (instead of playing in it) when the older ones tell them it’s time to get going. They also take dirt baths to cool off from the desert sun.
I hope you enjoy this time lapse video I shot on my iPhone 5s of the elephants at the watering hole:
Elephants at the watering hole time lapse video (shot on my iPhone 5s)
Elephants leaving the watering hole in the Hoanib River Valley
Enjoying the sunset with a gin & tonic in the Hoanib River Valley
Interaction with wildlife and stunning scenery are two given highlights of any safari. But the safari tradition of having a sundowner is one of my favorite moments of any given day on safari.
During my trip last month to Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp in Namibia my guide, Emms, parked up on a ridge above the Hoanib River Valley and set up a table of cocktails and local snacks like nuts, chips, and biltong (dried game meat). Then he poured us a round of gin & tonics and we watched the sunset.
Check out this time lapse video I made on my iPhone:
Sunset in mirror in the Hoanib River Valley (look at those clouds!)
I don’t know why, but gin & tonic just tastes better when you’re on safari.
Gordon’s gin bottles lined up to meet their sundowner destiny
Added excuse to enjoy a sundowner– the quinine in tonic water helps keep mosquitos away (not that there were any in the Hoanib River valley). You’d also have to drink a lot of tonic water… but hey… you just go with it!
Land Cruiser at sunset in the Hoanib River Valley
Sunset as seen through the Land Cruiser seats
One day I was back at camp to watch the sunset. You can have an enjoyable sundowner experience there too.
Sunset at Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp
The colors at camp change and get vivid at sunset. You can enjoy the view and kick back and enjoy your sundowner near the camp fire.
Enjoying a sundowner back at camp
Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp
Hoanib River | Kaokoveld,
Skeleton Coast Park, Namibia
+27 11 807 1800
+27 21 702 7500