• Chasing the light with Dany Eid 

    August 4, 2021

    Dany is a professional photographer specializing in corporate, architecture, landscape & travel photography. He was born and raised in Lebanon, studied interior design and painting. Years ago he left his home country and became an expat, moving to different countries in the Middle East. Dany won a couple of awards and was chosen to be a judge for different photography competitions taking place in the Middle East. He conducts different workshops sharing his experience with those who like him started out as hobby photographers, might remain hobby photographers or follow their dream and take it to the next level.

    I visited Namibia a couple of years ago, and I started dreaming about going back as soon as I returned! I wanted to spend more time and visit more locations in the vast and beautiful country. I had just two weeks to cover as many locations as possible, which presented a real challenge because the area I wanted to cover is vast. So, logistics planning was very important to make sure we had food, water, and fuel. Another reason I chose Namibia is this trip gave me an opportunity to explore the medium format camera as a Fuji ambassador. Additionally, I am beginning to prepare for a series of landscape photography workshops in Namibia.

    We set out as a team of three on this adventure. Along with me came my friend Ayed Tadros, a corporate lawyer and a skilled hobby photographer who had never been on a long camping trip, so we thought he might enjoy this adventure. The third member of the team was Lena Oberhofer from f-stop who and documented the adventure.

    Dany Eid 

    With more than 4000 km, early mornings to catch the first light and also late nights (the sky is breath taking for Astro photography) we were always chasing after the best light. You don't want to miss any rare opportunity but at the same time you need to think about how long you'll be needing to drive to your next spot, when to prepare food, when and how to enter nationalparks, what logistical rules there are and much more.

    One of the biggest challenges also came before the trip. In today’s world, international travel can be quite challenging. I live in Dubai. I’m a Lebanese passport holder, and Namibia required a visa. The nearest Namibian mission where I could apply for a visa is in Cairo, Egypt. I was lucky my wife was traveling to Cairo, and she took care of the visa process. The Namibian Embassy supported and guided us through the whole process. With the visa in hand, I had to look for the best flight connection from Dubai to Namibia. There are no direct flights, which wasn’t a surprise. In the end, we managed to book air travel with a few interesting connections, and then I had to turn my attention to travel within Namibia. I rented a Toyota 79 Series double cab that was fully equipped for an extensive overland trip, and that turned out to be a great find. The next challenge covering all the locations I wanted to photograph in the time we had for the adventure!

    Aside from this a trip like this requires planning ahead and comes with plenty of unforseen challenges along with it. Working as a team is crucial to overcome thes and with three creatives in one car you can be sure these will be somehow solved. Often you find yourself racing to the spot you would like to get your photo of and position yourself before so when the light is right. Sometimes you just sit with your morning coffee and enjoy the moment and the amazing light and mood and just leave your camera aside for a little. What we all loved throughout the trip was our hot chocolate around the campfire at night and chat about life.

    Dany Eid 

    I enjoy being in remote areas, and what is better than an overlander / photographer driving through the beautiful nature of Namibia? Not much. Living in nature, off the beaten path, offered many subjects to photograph. And as, an added bonus, we escaped Dubai’s brutal summer heat and got to enjoy lovely winter in Namibia

    Dany Eid 

    Our first stop was Quiver Tree Forest which was an 850 km drive south from Windhoek, Namibia. The forest is a perfect place for night and Astro photography. The quiver trees covering the area are beautiful subjects, too. Some visitors call the area a big playground of trees. We spent our first camping night at the park of Quiver Tree Forest, and it was lovely. 
    We eat quite late since and stayed up long since the sky was amazing for Astro photography but our itinerary for the following day called for a 400 km drive to Lüderitz. The next morning the alarm went off very early to not miss the light and it was worth it with wonderfull morning light again! After some photoshooting we started packing up the car, had a quick coffee and we started of our journey.

    Spending almost all day in the car we decided to take a break and get tickets to the Ghost Village at Kolmanskop, another 400 km drive from Lüderitz. We managed to arrived early while it was still dark and caught some very exciting morning light! 
    Scouting in darkeness is not to underestimate and with so many different possibilities for a great composition this place offered we ended up in another amazing photography playground. 

    After getting some very good images and wonderful light conditions, we hit the road again to Sossusvlei at the Namib-Naukluft National Park - another 500 km drive from the Ghost Village at Kolmanskop.

    Due to a late start we decided to take the Road D707 to save some time which turned out to be a great choice! The road offered some of the most beautiful landscape sceneries I have ever seen. 
    Aside from seeing more from the country these long trips in the car also had another big advantage that is quite important for a photographer or filmmaker. 
    With two weeks mostly camping without electricity we used the car rides (and an inverter) to recharge our Batteries and equipment as much as possible. We ended up spending the night camping on the road with some amazing sunset. On the next morning we continued the drive to Sossusvlei.

    Sossusvlei is a huge area to cover with an amazing perfect photo subject wherever you turn. 
    We started making a joke afterwards to head back to "Sossus" and spend the rest of our Trip there since it was truly amazing, but we wanted to stick to our route as best as we could to experience the full beauty of Namibia. 

    After we spend four days at the Namib Naukluft National Park we drove 550 km to Spitzkoppe where we decided to stay for 2 nights. With making a lot of distance throughout our journey we got to see a lot of different aspects of the Country. Camping right next to the mountain or out in the wide plaints is really special. From Desert to Mountains and coast lines you have almost everything and a lot of changes of landscape throughout your journey! We tried to cover as much area as we can but you need to spend at least 2-3 months to understand how massive this Country is. 

    We continued our adventure at Walvis Bay. Once we arrived, we took a day excursion to Sandwish Harbor, where the Atlantic Ocean meets the desert. On the next drive to Etosha via Windhoek, we had some tire issues and had to change our itinerary, and we decided to travel to the Namibs Valley of 1000 Hills.

    Dany Eid 

    Looking back I think the open door helicopter shots was one of the most challenging photoshoots for me. Ayed was sitting on one side and I was on the other side so I often could not capture what he's seeing and the other way around. It was extremly windy and on top also we had low light contidions in many images. 
    To photograph the sunset was very difficult since you have to expose properly and get sharp images while your moving. You have to be careful for your shutter speed and then you have to compensate by increasing your ISO but you don't want to increase to much. I was confident though to achieve the rusults I was looking for since I was shooting with the Fuji GFX medium format. 

    While shooting on the ground you often you can not take your car and drive offroad so you have to do this additional effort to walk and to be able to get closer to your composition in time. Sometimes you leave the car and even walk for two or three miles and you have to be able to reach your composition before the light will change again. If the golden hour is at 5:00 PM and you want to get the shot - that's your only chance! 
    This was one of the pictures where I wanted to get those different layers and different colors of the dunes at sunset and you have different shape of and layers and the tree is isolated somewhere under the dune.

    Adventure Wrap Up

    Preparation and planning is everything - Especially for landscape photography you want to know about the light conditons on your location you have to think of many things other than taking photos. The Country is huge and you need to know and adapt to the speedlimits (Often are not able to go faster than 80 km/h )

    As with many adventures, the kindness of the people we met was amazing! When we had a tirebrake and there is no car to be seen. One lonley car went by and send us help from the village close by. 
    Also Benjamin Brynard, who we met in Walvies Bay, recommended us accomodations and gave us tips. The camp proved to be very good stop and we were met with the great hospitality of the camp manager Elise. Another f-stop Ambassador, Jandre Germishuizen, managed to surprise us with an upgrade for our stay at the camp. After our unforgettable stay at the Nambis Valley of 1000 Hills, we continued to Etosha National Park. We camped for 3 nights at the park, and here we finally had our first direct and close encounters with wildlife. 

    The challenges with international travel made our return more difficult that we expected. We made multiple trips to the airport but could not board. After changing flights multiple times, we finally managed to return home only a few days late. The adventure, car trouble and travel challenges, did not detract from the quality of what we accomplished.
    The images we brought back are outstanding. We experienced the beauty of a vast and interesting country, and it was a very personal experience. The team was great and each one of us contributed to this adventure in many ways.
    I’m looking forward to my next trip to Namibia, which I’m planning now and also looking forward to some exciting additions to my next trip!

    The Gear I used:
    Bodies: Fuji GFX 100 & Fuji GFX 100S
    Lenses: GF 23mm & GF 32-64mm & GF 45-100mm
    Sukha 70L Adventure and Outdoor Camera Backpack as well as various pouches
    A big THANK YOU goes to:
    My 2 companions during the trip: Ayed Tadros & Lena Oberhofer

    · TechPro Safari for the very well equipped Car
    · Namibs Valley of 1000 Hills 
    · Sossusvlei Lodge for organizing our helicopter trip
    · Mola Mola for organizing our excursion at Sandwish Harbor, 

    and last but not least the 2 brands I represent:
    f-stop  & Fujifilm
    Photocredits: Dany Eid
    Behind the scenes photos & video: Lena Oberhofer

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