The Waiting Game

Rarely (if ever) is the picture perfect scene of an iconic location ready for me to walk up and “click” my photo.  In fact, on the rare occasion when it does occur, I’m not ready and I miss the shot.

Hence, my photography is all about the wait. Most often, I am waiting for the light at sunset or the light at sunrise. Or I am waiting for someone to move out of my composition. Sometimes I am waiting for a cloud to move away from blocking the sun. For me this is an advantage. I have time to think about my composition and frame my shot.

Walvis Bay

Walvis Bay is known for it’s flamingos. My vision for this scene was to capture a group of flamingos all lined up on the edge of a calm tidal pool. I wanted to capture them in beautiful light with their reflections in the water.

Simple enough, or so it seemed, until you consider all the other uncontrollable factors: Would the birds line up? Would they walk on the edge of the water? Would the light be right? Would the tides be right for tidal pools? Could I get close enough?

Waiting for Sunset – Day 1

We arrived at Walvis Bay late afternoon amidst gusting winds. Any hope of a reflection shot went out the window. Large flocks of flamingos were resting on a sandbar offshore just across from our hotel. It couldn’t be more convenient!  

The Flamingos hung out on the sandbars for both sleeping and for feeding. At low tide, the sandbars were quite a bit offshore, but as the tide came in and those sandbars disappeared, the birds moved closer to shore. Closer to me, the photographer, perched on the edge of the sea.

I just had to wait for the birds and for the light.

The magical light of sunset came, but shooting across the water into the sun was harsh.  I had to adjust my vision for this outing. The only chance for a photo was a silhouette shooting into the sun. If only we could get the birds to fly into the wind, in front of the sun, above the water… was it even possible?

After waiting and waiting, with many failed shots, finally success! 

Waiting for the Golden Light – Morning on the Shore

The next morning the light was fantastic, but it was still breezy. The birds were again offshore on a distant sandbar. I sat on the shore waiting for the birds to move in closer.

Nice light, but the birds would not line up for me.

Patience paid off and this flamingo came in a little close to strut its stuff in the beautiful light.

A territorial squabble over the receding sandbar.

By the time the birds moved in with the tide, the soft morning light was gone. I’d have to wait until tomorrow.

Midday at the tidal pool

After lunch, I saw that the tide was out and the birds were close to shore. Despite the harsh light, I had to run out to the water for a quick shot.

I waited for them to line up and space themselves nicely – too bad it was in front of the mud with harsh light.

Waiting for Sunset – Day 2

Knowing the light would be harsh to shoot into, we spent the afternoon scouting out the coastline for other tidal pools along the coast…. No tidal pools fit the bill, but the tide was coming in so perhaps we would get lucky back in front of the hotel. 

Enroute to the hotel, the fog was moving in and the sun quickly disappearing

By the time we returned to the hotel, the sea was gone, the birds were gone and so was our evening shoot. Jeff is hopefully waiting. [photo by our guide Ryan Plakanouris]

Waiting for Sunrise in the Fog – Day 3 

The next morning the fog remained, although not as thick, it shrouded the early morning light. I was not daunted, waiting for the fog to burn off, the light would be fantastic. We waited.  Sunrise came and went. We waited some more. The light was still flat. We waited until we could wait no longer.

The birds were still sleeping, waiting for the sunshine to start their day.

Disappointed, it was time to head to our next destination. We had waterholes to visit in Etosha National Park.

Sometimes waiting works, and sometimes you can’t wait long enough (another day would have been nice).

Always seeking perfection, I have begun my wait for my return visit.