Mnweni Rainbow by Matt Bouch

Welcome to Incredible Photographs, a series of short interviews on South Africa’s very best nature photography. We ask the photographers a set list of questions to gain insight into the previsualization, planning, capture, editing and reflection of their best photographs.



Where was this image taken? 

Northern Drakensberg

Did you plan this image or would you consider it a stroke of luck? 

It was a bit of both – as is often the case with landscape photography. I had intentionally visited this area of the Berg during the summer months, when storms are prevalent, because I wanted to capture a scene with mood and drama. I timed the hike to arrive at the location before lunchtime so as to be ready for the afternoon weather. I set up camp, and after sitting out a storm (on the edge of a cliff, sheltering behind a small rocky outcrop), I was rewarded with a perfect rainbow that built and drifted across the valley. Of course, fleeting moments like this cannot be entirely planned for, but I did my best to be in the right place at the right time. 

Was this image inspired by another photographer’s work or a specific image?

No it was not, although John Hone’s work in the Drakensberg is continued source of inspiration.

If planned, how many times did you visit this location?

I have visited this area about 6 times, with varying levels of success.

Did you use an ephemeris or AR planning app like Photopills or TPE?

No. After repeated visits, I am familiar with where the sun rises and sets throughout the seasons.

Do you have any images of failed shoots to provide some background on what goes into an image like this?

I haven’t really photographed this waterfall before this.

Do you have any images of failed shoots to provide some background on what goes into an image like this?

I don’t have any ‘failed’ images, but I do have a good few that are less spectacular than this one. What I have learned about this location – through ‘failed’ images - is that the classic sunrise and sunset times don’t always yield the best results.  

Is the location physically challenging to access or is it a brief walk from a parking lot? Also, would you consider the location safe to go shooting on your own or should one be cautious?

The beauty of this location is that it is majorly demanding to get to. At best, it is a strenuous two-day hike into a wilderness area, where you are required to be entirely self-sufficient. 

Did you go out on a whim or was this shoot carefully planned in consideration of weather forecasts?

This trip was planned according to seasonal weather forecasts.

How did you feel when you saw the screen light up with that result?

This was one of those images that had me checking the LCD on my camera again and again for the next 4 days while I was out hiking. I was very excited indeed.

Let’s discuss the technicalities – shutterspeed, ISO, aperture, anything else?

1/60, ISO320, f11, 24mm

Body and Lens used?

Sony A7riii, Sony 24-105


Leofoto LS-248C Tripod + Leofoto LH-36 Ball head


NISI Natural CPL to add vibrancy, naturally enhance the colours, and cut of some of the haze.

Anything else you consider an essential piece of gear?

For photography in the mountains, a decent rain shell is vital – you spend a lot of time waiting in the weather and staying dry is crucial. A Sea To Summit dry bag for my camera is equally important. 

Did you edit it the moment you got home or did you leave it in the photo cellar to mature?

Editing is one of my least favourite things to do, so all my images tend to mature. This image matured for about 2 months before I began editing.

Let’s talk about enhancements made in editing 

Most of the edits were done in Lightroom, and were to enhance contrast, particularly in the sky area. I used the highlights and shadows sliders, and well as subtle curves adjustments to do this globally, and then used a selection of linear masks to focus on the sky. The final step was to use Luminosity masks in photoshop to target selected areas in the sky, and further bring out the lights and darks.  

Do you think this image is one of your all-time top 10 photos?

Yes. I feel this will be an almost impossible image to repeat, which is why it is so valuable to me.

Do you feel you’ve done the location justice and you can move on now?

The Drakensberg is not a location you can move on from, there are always more possibilities. I would like to revisit this location after a heavy snowfall.

Any advice for someone wanting to capture an image like this?

Practice patience and remember that the worst weather makes for the best images. Don’t hide in your tent when it’s raining. Alternatively, join one of our tours and I will help get you to the right place at the right time.

Is this image for sale as a print?

Yes, it is – as with all the work on my website



A big thank you to Matt Bouch for taking the time to answer our questions and his willingness to share the journey of creation behind the image. Below are the details to all his social media – please give them a like and a follow to show your appreciation. If you’d like to learn from him, check out their workshops and most of all, if you absolutely love this photograph, consider buying a print to support the artists.   

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