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Driving Through The Skeleton Coast

The name "Skeleton Coast" doesn't exactly sound like a very welcoming place. The bushmen referred to the area as "The Land God Made in Anger" while the Portuguese sailors called it "The Gates of Hell." Perhaps it's not the most inviting place?

To ships, that is definitely the case. While whale and seal bones once littered the shores, today it's the more than a 1000 shipwrecks along the coast that keep the name alive. Some of the road definitely parallels the coast, although I took this photo once I was already leaving the coast behind me.

There's a couple cool shipwrecks that are easily accessible and make for a nice break from driving along the coast. The real attraction though, is the Cape Cross Seal Reserve and it's massive colony of seals. Still, much of the driving looks a lot like this. Endless flat desert, endless flat gravel roads, and perhaps some electric poles to line the way. There's nothing like leaving the demands of modern life behind for a couple weeks to travel around a desolate country faced with your own solitude to relax the soul.

Blogged: http://www.aisleseatplease.com/blog/2016/8/25/driving-through-the-skeleton-coast

#HDR #AuroraHDR #SkeletonCoast #Namibia #Erongo #landscape #travel #photography #canon #africa #afrika #afrique #adventure #roadtrip #HDRPhotography #landscapephotography #travelphotography #나미비아
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Cape Cross Seal Reserve

Home to what is possibly the largest Cape Fur Seal colony on Earth, Cape Cross can at times see its colony sized in the low hundreds of thousands of seals. The adult males arrive at the breeding sites in late October to early November to fight for territory before the females come ashore. I visited in late November, by which time it would appears, the pups had been born and it must be peak colony size!

Seeing such a large gathering of mammals in one place, is truly extraordinary. Well, I guess there's always the subways of Tokyo, but when it comes to non-human mammals, this is a massive number. Just look how crowded it appears!

Located 120km (75mi) north of Swakopmund on the west coast of Namibia, it was a good 1hr drive round trip out of my way, but I have to say, it was worth it. Even the thousands of Penguins I saw in Antarctica were more dispersed than this crowd of seals and their pups. As you can see, there are lots and lots of pups!

There was a ton of non-stop seal activity going on. Seals grabbing their pups in their mouths and taking them somewhere else. Aarf aarf aarf! Non-stop aarfing from every direction.

Blogged: http://www.aisleseatplease.com/blog/2016/7/18/cape-cross-seal-reserve

#CapeCrossSealReserve #CapeCross #wildlife #CapeFurSeal #BrownFurSeal #seal #landscape #travel #photography #animals #canon #africa #namibia #EaredSeal #explore #adventure #roadtrip #erongo #afrika #afrique #wildlifephotography #colony #rookery #landscapephotography #travelphotography #나미비아
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Young Himba Boy

The single braided hair plait extended towards the back of the head indicates this is a young Himba boy. A bit of a smile slipping through while going about his day. A day filled with a mix of fun and chores. Except, chores in the world of the Himba can mean things like mixing mud with manure to make adobe walls.

I enjoyed my time visiting a couple different Himba homesteads. Ever since visiting, I've felt more compelled to try to visit and photograph more tribes and ethnic groups around the world. How many tribes will fully modernize and integrate with society versus those able to retain their identity? I think it's a battle that will continue to play out for years to come, but as long as there are some unique tribes, I hope I get the opportunity to visit more of them.

Blogged: http://www.aisleseatplease.com/blog/2016/6/28/young-himba-boy

‪#‎himba‬ ‪#‎opuwa‬ ‪#‎ovahimba‬ ‪#‎portrait‬ ‪#‎boy‬ ‪#‎namibia‬ ‪#‎kunene‬ ‪#‎plait‬ ‪#‎braid‬ ‪#‎hair‬ ‪#‎africa‬ ‪#‎ochre‬ ‪#‎otjize‬ ‪#‎tribe‬ ‪#‎ethnic‬ ‪#‎african‬ ‪#‎travel‬ ‪#‎photography‬ ‪#‎canon‬ ‪#‎afrika‬ ‪#‎afrique‬ ‪#‎explore‬ ‪#‎adventure‬ ‪#‎portraitphotography‬ ‪#‎travelphotography‬ ‪#‎나미비아‬ ‪#‎아프리카‬
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Young Himba Girl

Hairstyle and jewelry are used by the OvaHimba to convey age and social status within their community. One braided hair plait extended to the back of the head indicates a young boy, while two braided hair plaits extended forward towards the face indicates a young girl, as shown here. This style will remain all the way until puberty.

The eye gaze staring back at you, is something that seems embedded in the Himba people. I am continually awed at the power of the gaze combined with the overall expression. Not just this photo either, but across all my photos, I see it over and over again. Fret not, there were also plenty of big friendly smiles to go around too, but time and again, I find myself coming back to just stare back at these photos getting lost in the gaze.

Blogged: http://www.aisleseatplease.com/blog/2016/6/23/young-himba-girl

#himba #ovahimba #girl #african #plait #braids #hair #portrait #travel #photography #canon #ethnic #tribe #kaokoland #kaokoveld #kunene #opuwo #traditional #vertical #africa #afrika #afrique #portraitphotography #travelphotography #people #나미비아 #아프리카
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Out Of This World

There's a select number of locations around the world that are used when filming movies that are supposed to take place in otherworldly places. Whether it's the rocky landscapes of Utah for John Carter, the deserts of Jordan's Wadi Rum for 'The Martian' or Hawaii's Muana Loa used by NASA in training for a manned mission to Mars, many of these locations remain undiscovered by tourists.

Floating high above the great sand sea of Namibia in a hot air balloon, the world below looks entirely different. The fairy circles on the ground below become much more pronounced while the dirt roadway is nearly camouflaged by the landscape around it. If you're lucky you can even see the occasional wildlife roaming around below.

Blogged: http://www.aisleseatplease.com/blog/2016/6/14/out-of-this-world

#NamibRandNatureReserve #namibia #sandsea #aerial #hotairballoon #landscape #travel #photography #africa #afrika #afrique #fairycircles #hardap #sonyrx1r #landscapephotography #travelphotography #나미비아
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A Germophobe's Nightmare

If you're even mildly OCD or germophobic, traveling to third world countries can be pretty challenging. Sanitation, when present, is usually not great. Hygiene standards are vastly different from what you might be accustomed to. And even when the water is clear, it's probably not clean enough.

One of the memories I have from visiting with the Ovahimba that I couldn't get out of mind if I tried, is when one of the boys (not the one in this picture) was thirsty and had a drink. The brown color of the water he was drinking from a plastic jug, with plenty of particulates floating around - brutal. It's like the kind of water you'd drink if you were in a survival situation and you were running out of options because Bear Grylls was nowhere to be found. I still shudder when thinking about it. The value of water, especially when clean, can't be underestimated. Especially when there are a number of people buying into the belief that next world war won't be over religion or ideology, but water.

Back to the germophobic nightmare. Several of these little children had running noses and Kleenex isn't exactly a thing here. It's easy to see how easily disease would spread even in small villages. These children would have their runny noses, and then want to grab and touch my camera with their fingers. I wanted the children to be able to see their photos on the camera's LCD screen, but at the same time, I wanted to avoid getting a cold or something worse. This was one of those 'sanitize it all' type situations once you leave.

Little tip - always have a travel-size hand sanitizer in your camera bag when traveling. Comes in handy so many times. Especially if you go eat somewhere where there's no soap. You don't want to be touching your gear with dirty hands if you can avoid it.

Blogged: http://www.aisleseatplease.com/blog/2016/5/6/a-germophobes-nightmare

#himba #opuwo #namibia #portrait #child #africa #runnynose #hair #braid #boy #travel #photography #canon #ovahimba #african #afrique #afrika #kaokoland #kaokoveld #vertical #plait #tribe #portraitphotography #travelphotography #나미비아
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Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

While I hope hope hope that future generations will get to enjoy seeing a Black Rhinoceros in the wild as I did, I'm increasingly pessimistic about the poor or uninformed choices of others that are wiping this magnificent creature off the Earth. I would like to think that the notion that Rhino horn can cure cancer or fix other ailments is a ridiculous notion in the West, but sadly far too many people still believe it's the cure.

Last year I backed an experiment to sequence the genome of the Black Rhinoceros. The idea being that once it's sequenced, it can be manufactured and the market will be flooded with artificial rhino horn. This in turn, would stem the tide of poaching. I don't know whether this wild idea will succeed or not, but I think it's worth a shot.

While it's a bit difficult to hide a giant Rhino, due to their dwindling numbers it's not the easiest animal to spot while on a game drive. I think I only came across rhinos three times while traversing Etosha National Park. The first time I struggled to see them even with a massive zoom, but this time, with one out in the open at a watering hole, it was a bit easier.

It's quite special to be in the presence of just a magnificent animal. You immediately know how special the moment is. I hope I get the chance to see more rhinos in the wild sooner than later.

Blogged: http://www.aisleseatplease.com/blog/2016/4/28/here-today-gone-tomorrow

#blackrhino   #rhinoceros   #EtoshaNationalPark #namibia   #wildlife   #animal   #rhino   #endangered #travel   #photography   #waterhole #criticallyendangered #africa   #canon   #kunene #kaokoveld   #redlist   #safari   #adventure   #explore #savetherhino   #wildlifephotography #travelphotography   #나미비아
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When I Was Young

Children are children, everywhere I've gone. They're instinctively happy and playful. Some are curious, some are afraid, but generally friendly like the majority of people I run into when traveling. The Himba children were no different.

Photographing them all was a joy. They were so eager to take photos and curious to see the results on the camera. Too eager at times, but manageable nonetheless. So much character for such young souls.

Blogged: http://www.aisleseatplease.com/blog/2016/4/14/when-i-was-young

#himba   #ovahimba   #boy   #child   #portrait   #travel   #photography   #opuwo   #namibia   #africa   #afrika   #afrique   #ethnic   #kaokoland   #kaokoveld   #kid #bokeh    #portraitphotography   #travelphotography   #나미비아
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Ovahimba Stare Down

I really like these captivating looks from the Ovahimba children. I can't imagine getting that from a child elsewhere. Most kids are too happy and always smiling or giggling. Occasionally perhaps slightly stunned and unsure, but generally, not looking into the camera with the fire of a 1,000 suns.

I've heard that some tribes in other parts of Africa are all about the money-for-photographs trade. While I can understand their desire to profit and elevate themselves, I'm never a big fan of paying for photos. With the Ovahimba, it's a little less direct. You bring them some rice, sauce packets or other commodity foods when you go to meet them, and then you can take photos pretty freely. I can respect that quite a bit more.

Blogged: http://www.aisleseatplease.com/blog/2016/4/6/ovahimba-stare-down

#himba #omuhimba #namibia #opuwo #portrait#travel #photography #canon #teamcaon #ethnic#african #child #indigenous #kaokoland #kaokoveld#tribe #portraitphotography #travelphotography#africa #afrika #afrique #나미비아 #아프리카
 
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Everyone Is Staring At Me And That's Alright

Your eyes do not deceive you. These gentle and majestic creatures before you are indeed giraffes. When going on safari, the game parks have watering holes set up - be they natural or aided by the park you can visit to try and see the animals getting some refreshment. It seems like a win-win to me - the animals get a reliable source of water, which can at times be hard to find, and the visitors get increased chances of seeing beautiful creatures.

When self-driving through Etosha National Park, I often found myself alone at the watering holes - especially as I traversed from west to east. The western section of the park is only open to you if you stay at one of the lodges there, so I highly recommend that if you have the time. Having a watering hole to yourself to enjoy viewing the animals is tremendous. I hope it doesn't become too popular since I wouldn't mind going back for the secluded game viewing again!
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