By Beverly Houwing
Adobe Certified Instructor and wildlife photographer, Beverly Houwing, has been traveling from a very young age and became interested in photography as a teenager. She makes frequent trips to Africa to document the beauty and uniqueness of the landscape and wildlife primarily in southern and eastern Africa. She also captures the picturesque locations in California, where she lives, when not traveling internationally.
Her work has been shown at the G2 Gallery in Venice, California as well as used to promote conservation and eco-tourism by various organizations. This collection of images was taken in Los Angeles, Death Valley, Joshua Tree, Kenya & Namibia.
Dead Vlei, located in Sossusvlei, Namibia is one of the most other-worldly places to visit. A large petrified mud flat with dozens of parched, dead trees creates a bizarre landscape surrounded by towering red sand dunes. This picture was taken just as the sun rose illuminating the sand behind the trees while the ground is still in shadow.
Joshua Tree Star Trails captures the movement of the stars as the earth rotates for a couple of hours. The challenge of taking this picture was to create a good composition and focus in the dark, since new moon is the best time to take night sky and star trail photos. Getting the north star at the tip of the branches was the main focus of this composition. Light from the nearby towns of Joshua Tree and Yucca Valley creates a soft, warm glow in the distance and accentuate the other trees along the horizon.
This is another light painting photograph taken at the Rhyolite ghost town outside Death Valley National Park. It was a clear night at new moon so the stars and milky way were very visible. This was the town bank, now ruins of the three-story masonry building. I photographed it with a wide angle lens to get the height of the structure as well as lots of the sky and stars above. During the exposure I had one person light the front of the bank with a pink flashlight while myself and another person lit the side and back portion of the building with a green flashlight and headlamp. The fun thing about light painting is that no two pictures ever come out the same and when you have a group you can get far more creative with different people participating in the composition.
Namaqua Chameleon - this very pregnant chameleon was wandering the dunes in the Namib desert extremely slowly, so she was easy to follow. When she spotted some grubs on the sand I got down to ground level and switched my camera to high speed drive & fast shutter speed. I waited for both of her eyes to look forward, which is a sure sign she was ready to snag the grub with her long tongue. I was lucky that one of the frames got her tongue completely extended.
Praying Mantis was taken in the LA area in the gardens of a college. I liked the carefree pose and the "blown back" look of her antennae. This was a day when I decided on doing only macro photography. There were many insects and spiders there and great opportunities for getting very detailed images of creatures you normally don't even know are around you - but you really have to look.
Caracal at Sunset is one of my favorite photos from my Namibia trip since everything fell into place just at the right moment. I had been photographing the cat with the sunlight on him as he was climbing around on the dead tree. Just as the sun was about the set, he went to the end of the branch and stood there looking out, creating this amazing silhouette against the clear sky.
Kolmanskop - is a ghost town in the Namib desert. This place is an oddly picturesque example of the desert sands' reclaiming this once-thriving town, which was abandoned almost 60 years ago. There is building after building with sand that has blown in and poured into them. This image shows the early morning sunlight illuminating the sand which has piled up through the hallway and doors of this house.
Light Painted Car was photographed just outside Death Valley National Park. This wrecked shell of an Impala was an interesting subject to photograph, so our group came back at night which was clear and moonless to photograph it with the milky way above. Red light sticks and head lamps were used to create the "molten" interior look. During the 25 second exposure a flashlight was used to illuminate the exterior of the car.
Beverly currently has some of her photos in the Wilderness Photo Competition sponsored by B&H Photo. The images are being judged by a panel of photographers and there is also a "people's choice" vote for the most popular. Check out her submissions and vote for your favorite. Voting ends on January 14th. You can also visit her website here.