At the end of November I will be hosting a landscape photography workshop / trip in the Tankwa Karoo.

The Karoo has always fascinated people and there have been many people that went to live and farm in the Karoo, but this place is not for the feint hearted. It’s a place of extremes, it’s either so hot that it feels like the only thing separating the Karoo from the fires of Hell is a broken old barbed wire fence, and in the winter it feels like that same hell has frozen over. So it’s either scorching hot or freezing cold.

Yet, people have always wanted to live here, the solitude is almost frightening and you can literally hear yourself think. If not for the far off bleet of a sheep or the rustling of an afternoon breeze, it is dead quiet. At night the stars are so close you can almost touch them, it is actually mind boggling.

There are many old ruins close to the road from the early farmers that could not make the harsh life that the Karoo offers and they have simply abandoned their farms. Now lots of the Karoo belongs to people who either use it as a weekend get away or as guest farms. It is on one of these farms that we are planning to host the workshop.

Hammelhoek Private Game Reserve is about 80km south of Calvinia, now that is as the crow flies and that is pretty much how straight those open roads are.

The one thing when you arrive in the Karoo is that your first instinct is, “what the hell are we going to photograph?” Well actually once you are out there between the shrubs you start seeing a new world. There is LOTS to photograph and on Hammelhoek there is even more. They have a healthy population of some game that can also be hunted. Springbok, Eland, Zebra, Wildebeest and Impala are some of them. In the evenings they come up right close to the cottages to drink and it’s amazing to listen to them and their friendly chatter.

On our trip it was full moon, so we did not have the pleasure of shooting the super bright Milky way, well not yet anyway. Our workshop is scheduled to be over a new moon weekend so it will be pitch black dark when we are there!

Well, that is enough from me now, go and have a look at the images from our trip and check out the short video clip we made. It should give you a good idea about the Karoo.


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