Dewald Kirsten

Monthly Archives: February 2012

Landscape Photography – Storm Chasing in the Karoo

This is a post that I have been wanting do for almost a month now. It has been one of my highlights for my photographic carreer. On the 16th of January we experianced one hectic heat wave here in the Western Cape and we had weather conditions that we are not used to down here. On the highveld and Freestate plains you get these conditiones daily and with that comes huge thunder storms. That particular day I got a call from a fellow photographer and friend, Hougaard Malan. Hougaard must be one of South Africa's best landscape photographer and I have learned a great deal from him by simply following his website and him on facebook. From about lunch time on this day I saw these HUGE clouds building over the Hexriver valley, needless, it was close but not that close. There was some big thunder storms over De Doorns but where the actual action was was quite a bit further in the Karoo, between Touwsriver and Calivinia. So we set out at about half past 5 the afternoon and we drove until we saw lightning and started to head in that direction. We later on came to the gravel road that leads from Ceres to Calvinia, well, we are here so might as well see where this monster is doing its magic. For those that do not know the Karoo, its a semi desert area with basically no foliage higher than your knees, oh and its flat! We kept going until we found two hills next to the raod that would offer us some compositions to shoot from. The smell of thunder on the wind greeted us when we got out the car and we could see the storm in the distance, looking back now we wish it was about 10km closer but hey, we cant be beggars with awesome conditions like we where having right there! The horizon towards the cape, and setting sun was open! Meaning that we where in a treat with sunset! As the sun started to appear below the line of clouds a magestic double rainbow appeared in the slight drizzle that was falling! Oh my word, the sky turned golden and there was the most amazing textures in the clouds! THIS was what every landscape photographer dreams about and we where here to witness it! We scampered up the hill and started looking for compositions and soon we where firing away with the shutters. When one are shooting these amazing scenes one often dont stop to just look at what the hell you are shooting! Just to be there and witness this was enough for me, even if I only shot one frame I would have been happy. We watched as the sun started setting and the sky turned from golden to a blaze of reds, pinks, purples and the lighting on the horizon just made it better. I climbed down the hill and decided to shoot from the ground as it would have been a true mission to get down there in the dark. Hougaard stayed longer and he got some amazing images of the lighting. I shot from the ground and I got one of my all time favorite shots ever! The following day we had very similar conditions and once agian myself and Hougaard headed out to where we shot the previous night. But now we where after something specific, we where looking for a windpump with the Karoo and thunder storm backdrop. But the only pumps we saw was way deep into the veld and it would simply have taken to long to walk to it and then back in the dark. So we pulled of the road, that was as long and straight as any road can be and simply shot right there next to the road. With it being so wide and open it was difficult to find a decent composition with a good anchor point in the foreground, and then I found this roadmarker and it worked out perfectly for the images. Allthough we did not have the same lightning as the previous night, it was still pretty damn amazing with huge cloud formations on the horizon. These images will make up a limited edition collection of prints. Only 5 of each will be printed and can be ordered from me. You will recieve a certificate with each print to state its number. So for any inquiries regarding prints of these images, please do contact me via e-mail and we can arrange the delivery and payments. Prices from R3000,00 for an A1 print. I am looking forward to reading your comments

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Dewald Kirsten Photography