Shifting Sands in Namibia

Tharp_20160730-2296Hello, everyone. I’m back from Namibia (and Italy, Germany and Switzerland), and hard at work finalizing the manuscript on my book, but it’s been so long since I posted anything, I just had to share a picture or two with you! Kolmanskop, the abandoned German mining town in Namibia that is succumbing to the shifting sand dunes, is a favorite amongst many of the photographers that do our tours. There is so much history in the rooms, and there is a mood in the air as you walk around that you can feel.  The passage of time and the elements of nature preside in my thoughts while photographing. The town continually changing. Just 2 years ago, I photographed a building that is now off limits due to parts that collapsed. So each time I visit, I am mindful of how special the place is, and challenge myself to make pictures that represent the spirit of place.




Thanks for visiting! I’ll be back with plenty more Namibia pictures soon – after I get the book off to edit…




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Switzerland Summarized


Hello, folks!

I left Italy and the Dolomites and visited a friend in Germany for a few days, then met my group for the Swiss Photo Tour (Strabo Tours) in the Bernese Oberland region, a stunning location for hiking and photography. I unfortunately caught a cold two days into the trip (who brought that with them?!) so I was not too energetic the first few days, but our local guide took on the role of charging up the mountain, so to speak, and I took a day off to rest up.

The weather was forecast to be rainy the whole tour, but it actually turned out to be too nice! Only photographers would complain about no clouds in the sky, eh?! Our first few days were rainy and cloudy, but those offered moody images of the mountains with clouds hanging low on the steep slopes; after that the sun came out and it was full-on light all day long so we were glad we got those cloudy, moody days. When you are in the mountains here, you have to be very high up to get sunrise or sunset light on the land and the mountains; sadly, the gondolas and cable cars don’t run late enough or early enough, even in summer, so in our next tour we’ll be including some overnight stays at higher altitude so we can create more than just the high mountaintops in great light.

So, we had to work around the strong light, but my Sony A7R II  ‘rocked’ in terms of managing the high contrast of snowy peaks and darker pine forests and meadows. I was very pleased that I could protect those bright highlights and later pull out the shadow detail safely. Sony kindly lent me three lenses so I could be ‘all Sony’ on this trip. All the lenses have been performing beautifully, but their new 24-70 F2.8 GM lens is oh-so-sharp!

We visited a traditional cheese ‘farm’. Young Pedra and his girlfriend Isabela are working the farm the traditional way, and making yummy cheeses for Swiss consumption. This is not cheese you’ll find in the supermarkets outside of Switzerland – the country can’t produce enough alpine cheese for much, if any, export. What we get in the grocery stores is lower-altitude cheese.

Many of the villages have shifted their activities towards tourism, my only complaint. Gone are the traditional farms side-by-side with town shops and houses. The land has been sold for holiday flats. While the villages are still very picturesque, they are not what they used to be, and the towns are a bit overcrowded with tourists during high season. At night, the high country, car-free village of Mürren was very peaceful, with most daytrippers gone.

All in all, it was a stellar location for photography of the alpine environment, made accessible by funicular, gondola, cable car and our own two feet! Thanks to all who participated in this trip.

I’ve included a small gallery here, as I am about to head to Namibia to begin that photo tour and just finally got caught up with everything Swiss! I will be posting pics from Namibia next.

The next tour I do to Switzerland will possibly be in Autumn for the fall colors. Stay tuned.

Thanks for visiting!




Posted in Brenda Tharp's Photo Blog, general photography, Landscape Photography, nature photography, travel photography, workshops & photo tours Tagged , , , , , |

High Country in the Dolomites of Italy


The terrain in the Dolomites is very interesting when you are above tree line. The meadows are filled with rocky rubble, but because they get enough rain, the grasses and plants grow over those rocks and you get incredible rock gardens of flowers and such in the Spring and Summer. It’s deadly to walk around, at first, you have to stay flexible and loose-kneed to allow for the hidden bumps, but worth it to get to streams like this one to frame up Tre Cime formation in afternoon light. We walked for an hour from our hut to get to this location, and there were many views along this stream that provided foreground interest against those dramatic peaks. Pictures abounded, I could have spent several days in just this area alone!

I used a 16mm focal length and got low and close to the stream to create a stronger perspective. Then, I just had to wait for a cloud to soften the light on the stream, but still have light striking the background rock formations.

Thanks for visiting!




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Classic Views in Canyonlands

Tharp_20160505-9370I had gone to the overlook with the hopes of capturing a great sunset over the Goosenecks area, but storms had been building up all afternoon and the sky was very cloudy. Still, I thought that I might get dramatic storm light, if not a great sunset. It was so windy when I got out of the car, but I pushed onward towards the overlook, and took a walk further along the edge to get a vantage point that I liked. The skies opened up, hail came down, and I had to hunker down inside a juniper tree to keep from getting pummeled! But after a few minutes, it passed over me, and I climbed out of the tree to see what might happen next. The light wasn’t happening. Darn! After about 20 minutes, of bracing myself against the wind roaring up the cliff face, I decided it was just not going to happen, and started to walk back to the parking lot. And guess what? Halfway back, the light broke through the clouds, very suddenly, but not over the goosenecks area. It was still beautiful light, golden, stormy, and I quickly found a foreground that I had seen earlier to include in the frame. I had to work fast, I could see the gap in the clouds closing. Other people were frantically running around making pictures, too. It was an unexpected moment – but those are the best sometimes!



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