If someone told me I was going to have so much fun shooting a deserted diamond mine town, I’m not sure I would have believed them. But that is exactly what happened at Kolmanskop, Namibia. The Namibian desert is quickly overtaking this ghost town, with sand filling the rooms and buildings daily. This creates an eerie scene, but makes for incredible photography.
When I visited the area last month, I wanted to do more than just shoot available light. I hadn’t seen any lighting used before, so I brought my trusty Nikon SB5000 speedlight and a set of Rogue flash gels. Since I knew most of the shooting would not be line-of-sight, I used a D500 with the WR-R10 radio transmitter. I could place my flash in any room and still trigger the flash without a hitch.
Since I was traveling light, I only had one flash. But how do you light multiple rooms with one light? Use multiple exposure. By setting my camera to 2-4 frame multiple exposure, I was able to trigger my flash in multiple rooms on the same frame. I triggered the camera while a friend moved from room to room with the flash. For the shot above the flash was used in two rooms. First, the light was triggered in blue room to the right. This room was dark without any illumination, so adding flash brought out the color and added dimension to the image. Next, and this was the fun part, I decided to put the SB5000 with a red gel in the bathtub in the foreground. Something about the eerie aspect of the scene pointed me towards the ‘toxic’ theme. I just put the speedlight in the tub and shot off another frame to give the red glow. Cool!