"Karoo Journey" was selected in the final round of the 2013 Travel Photographer of the Year awards in the "HD Video" section.


After spending a lot of time in building and developing the Shukuma timelapse dollies, we desperately needed to get into nature. I was longing to shoot some timelapse and it was time for something new.

So we decided to take a road trip to the Karoo which has one of the most iconic landscapes in South Africa. Our time was limited and we knew that we had to maximize every opportunity as this trip was solely dedicated to timelapse photography.

We came across some amazing bushmen engravings and incredible rock formations, scattered in a vast landscape with breathtaking vistas. The night sky of the Karoo is arguably one of the best places to appreciate the majestic heavens and spectacular Milky Way! And don’t forget those iconic wind pumps...

The warmhearted and hospitable people of the Karoo made it a pleasure to visit this area and we’ll certainly be back again for more than just timelapse.

Arriving in the Victoria West area on our first day of our timelapse trip to the Karoo, we were anxious to scout some locations to get shooting as soon as possible. It was now evident that there was indeed a heatwave passing through the country...

As soon as we decided where to shoot first, we didn’t waste any time to unpack our equipment. I don’t think we realized just how much gear we had until we started hiking up these rocky hills, solar panel and all! It took several hikes to get everything up to the spot where we wanted to shoot. And once the shooting started, it didn’t stop.

We had two cameras firing away, mostly one on a Shukuma DOLLY and one on a Shukuma MINI. Much planning is required for any timelapse shots, keeping various factors in consideration and this was no different. I always try to set up at least one dolly for nighttime shooting while there is still sufficient light. It can be quite challenging to set up in the dark, especially when working in uneven terrain and with one camera already exposing. And now try to make your way back to camp...

On day four we made our way towards De Aar, almost failing to reach our next stop. There were so many spots next to the road to set up a shot, so we did just that. People were so concerned that they would stop to check if everything was okay. Perhaps they thought we had vehicle problems or perhaps they thought we were just plain crazy for being out in the sun like this!!

The days were hot and nights were windy, often stormy. Irregular cloud activities and sudden wind direction changes sure kept things interesting and unpredictable. It was sometimes difficult to know in which direction a storm was moving so I would take the risk to set up my camera to shoot throughout the night, not knowing if I’ll be forced to stop the shot.

During one night the wind was blowing like crazy and I was concerned about the camera and lens being so close to the ground. When I got out of the tent there was dust everywhere! As I got back to put all the equipment away, I was barley in the tent when the first raindrops started to fall!

We then slowly made our way to the Strydenburg area and came across an abandoned house. On top of that, there was some serious storms brewing all around us. If we had five cameras here they would all be shooting simultaneously in a different direction. The scenes were incredible!!

At one point there was an 18 hour period passing by and my camera didn’t stop shooting for more than 30min.

After seven nights in the Karoo we came back with a total of about 25 minutes of timelapse footage. Trying to compile this into a song which is less than 4 minutes is simply impossible...


My wife:
For helping me carry all the heavy equipment!
For helping me planning shots and setting up.
And for always making me laugh!
Also for documenting the trip via Instagram - instagram.com/jonellelouw

Journey - by Michael Montes - itunes.apple.com/us/album/filmscores/id378986556

Shukuma DOLLY
Shukuma MINI
Merlin telescope head

Adobe Lightroom
LRTimelapse - lrtimelapse.com

My Saviour:
Glory to God for blessing me with a talent to share His almighty creations with others!
Keeping us safe on the roads and blessing us with the beautiful landscapes.

And thank you to everyone out there enjoying this short timelapse film and sharing it with others ;-)