Traveling light - Olivier Lavielle
Photographer Olivier Lavielle is best known for his photography on old cars and planes, but he has another great passion: Africa, with its many different countries and cultures, and its astounding fauna and flora.
Traveling to the Namibian savannah by plane is always great. As the plane makes its final approach, it is escorted by herds of gnu and springbok running below through the tall grasses of the southern savannah as summer comes to an end. Welcome to Windhoek, the charming and peaceful capital of one of the most beautiful countries in the world: Namibia.
A smile at immigration and here we are with a chatty customs officer, ecstatic at the sight of a brand new LUMIX GH5. The customs officer wonders if I’m a professional… I smile. I point out to him that I am indeed a professional photographer, not a professional equipment carrier, and we laugh. In the past, I always used reflex cameras for my work, but I got tired of carrying those heavy tools around the world. I still wonder sometimes why I loaded myself up with so heavy gear before, without it giving me any advantages.
I’m now traveling with my two LUMIX GH5 cameras, and the full range of excellent LUMIX Leica lenses including, above all, the LEICA DG VARIO-ELMAR 100-400mm / F4.0-6.3 ASPH. / POWER O.I.S.(H-RS100400), which, for the first time, enabled me to photograph animals at an equivalent of 800mm. When leaving the main roads for the bush tracks, Namibia transforms into a real Garden of Eden for animals.
We encounter elephants, rhinoceros, giraffes, cheetahs, leopards… We have immortalised almost all of them through photography. But today this takes on another meaning. Wonderful, handsome, majestic and necessary to the survival of our own species as they are, these animals are today threatened with extinction. As a photographer I have the responsibility to capture this alarming story so that no one can ever say, ‘I had no idea they where threatened’.