Harmattan Sun

Waza National Park, Cameroon.

     Sunrise over Waza National Park, in the Far North Province of Cameroon, as seen during the yearly Harmattan where dust from the Sahara is blown across the land and into the air, blocking out the sun and creating an almost fog-like landscape. It’s eery at times, and creates a mysterious looking landscape at others.

     As far as Waza is concerned, it’s a different world up there. The town of Waza sits right outside of the National Park. Stunningly beautiful and unquestionably poor, it’s an amazing corner of the world. Part desert, part grassland. Hills intertwine throughout where you can get above it all and see for miles around. This is a tough one to get too, but well worth the effort, especially considering how genuine and non-touristy it truly is. This was taken during a safari ride, looking for lion, elephant, giraffe and baboon. We did see some animals, but the greatest view that morning was definitely the landscape.




14 comments on “Harmattan Sun

  1. Eerie indeed… Also quite a spartan landscape..
    We’ve got some good Harmattan going on today in Bamako… ‘tho the view from my office is not worth trying to capture!

  2. wow, this is actually a really cool photograph. The closer tree in the bottom right hand corner certainly makes it. I’ve been meaning to ask you, what post-processing software do you use/recommend?
    Thanks, John.
    – Nate

    • Thanks Nate.
      As for post-processing software – I use PS Elements …version1, gulp. Yes, version1 circa1999. 🙂

      My recommendation – whatever you use, learn how to use it and don’t start switching back and forth. I’ve seen guys buy CS1 …and 2 …and 3 …and 4 …and never learn how to use them, asking me what I use. Whatever you get, learn it. Photo-shop Elements is 90% of what Photoshop is, at 1/10 the price. The one thing I will never use is lightroom because you can’t use layers, which are a very very powerful tool.

      So, honestly, I would recommend PSE 9, unless you have money to waste, than CS5 (I think that’s the newest version) for around ten times the price.

      …and of course, I have to say it, a big part of the reason I have pics from all these countries is because I spend money on going there, and not on photo equipment. It adds up. Drop the D3 and add-ons and that “once in a lifetime” trip becomes a “once a year” type.

      Thanks again,

      • Thanks John,
        This was actually quite helpful. I use GIMP right now because it was a free download haha, so I wouldn’t say I have money to waste. I’ve met quite a few professional photographers via my blog and theirs, and they all seem to use Lightroom, so I was planning on looking into buying that until I read your reply. The nice thing about GIMP is, although it is free, it still does have the layers tool. I must agree with you, Layers is probably right up there as one of the tools I use most right now.

        I’ll probably look into PSE 9 then. And yes, I definitely hear you about the equipment. I was going to buy a nice Canon DSLR after I graduate, but lately I’ve been thinking that I’ll stick with my Canon Powershot SX20IS a little longer, which takes perfectly fine pictures of anything within decent range, and throw the money I would have spent in the bank for another trip coming up.

        Thanks again man,
        – Nate

        • No problem. PSE9 is more then enough for anyone in my opinion, or for 95% of people. Lightroom is probably an awesome program too, and I know many people who use it mainly because it is simple and it organizes their photos for them which people love. I don’t get that. I can organize my own…

          As for SLR vs. P&S …I would highly recommend an SLR, as I wish for the days of not having to carry one. Kind of oxymoronic I know, but it’s a all compromise!

  3. Hi John, Hi Nate,
    Apologies for butting in on your conversation..but here’s my 2 cents worth.
    On http://www.adobe.com you can download a 30 day trial of most of their products. I can’t tell you how many trial versions of their software family you can access in this way – but even just being able to get a feel for one of them would possibly help you make up your mind.?? Cheers, Lu

  4. I’m going to make a comment to make all your photographic geniuses laugh. What exactly is all this “post-processing” for? I thought taking a photo was the art – now it seems as if processing it later has also become an art?

    I love this photo, John – but listening to (reading?) you three, now I’m wondering is it truly representative of what you actually saw?

    • Post processing …it is definitely one of the disadvantages of digital. …and yes, post processing has definitely be ome an “art” …but not really.

      I suck at post processing, so this is very representative of what I saw. Actually, it’s probably worst than what as I saw as I usually post process until frustration, give up and upload. :0

      Thanks for the comments Robyn,

      • I wasn’t being critical – I am just curious! Technology changes all the time in my field – yours is just a field I am not at all educated in (I dabbled a bit years ago).

        You have me thinking about book jackets now………

    • Hi – I personally think that John’s points below are spot on. If you are a true photographer, the processing won’t bring out the magic of an image – the photo should do itself justice. Also a bad photograph may indeed stay a bad photo – no matter what you try to do during processing. Seeing that John only uses PSE v1 – and claims to “suck” at processing only serves to prove that if you have the natural talent – the processing isn’t essential. – John, your photos are fantastic! (I am very envious of your natural talent – if you haven’t already figured that out!) – Lu

  5. Oh – I didn’t take it critically – digital has changed all the “rules” of photgraphy though, unless you are a photographer. Then it hasn’t. I think digital and post processing allows a really bad photographer, but good computer person, to really increase the “look” of his photography skills.

  6. Love the picture. And i understand PP as a way of enhancing a pic’s qualities. If you use the Automatic mode on you camera, it is already changing the image you see. When you shoot in Manual mode, some slight changes just help you to show more in a photo of what your memory captured. Well done, happypoppeye.

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