The Karoo has always fascinated people and there has been many people that went to live and farm in the Karoo, but this place is not for the feint hearted. Its a place of extremes, its either so hot that it feels like the only thing separating the Karoo from the fires of Hell is a broken old barbed wire, and in the winter it feels like that same hell has frozen over. So its 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 it is not for the far of bleet of a sheep or the rustling of an afternoon breeze, it is dead quiet. At night the stars is so close you can almost touch them, it is actually mind boggling.
There are many old ruins close to the road of the early farmers that simply could not make the harse 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 one 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 are 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 its amazing to listen to them and their friendly chatter.
Program for the Workshop:
We would meet at a venue and drive together from there. As there is no cell reception this is just for safety sake incase someone has car trouble.
I would like to arrive at Hammelhoek no later than 5pm. We could unpack and then we can shoot sunset from the cottages. We will have dinner and then we will start to set up for the first Astrophotography session.
Depending on how late we went to bed after our Astrophotography session we need to be up at 5am at the latest to catch the magic of a Tankwa dawn.
We will be back for breakfast at about 8am at the latest and from then on we can just relax or indulge in some wildlife photography as there is plenty of game on the farm as well as birdlife, so pack the super zoom lenses 😉
Lunch would be ready around 1-2pm and then those who feel like catching up on some sleep is welcome to. We will be heading out from about 5pm again for sunset, the Tankwa Sunsets is even more magical than the sunrises. We will decide during the day where we would shoot stars that night and after sunset we will head out and start setting up. We will shoot till we feel we have achieved enough for one night.
Those who are keen will be up at 5am again for dawn and we will be back at about 8am for breakfast. After this we will all pack up at leisure and head home.