Photographing the Dunes of Sossusvlei + The Namib Desert

Photographing Deadvlei with Wilderness Safaris – Namibia

Sossusvlei Sand Dunes Namibia PhotographyDeparting in darkness, a slight glow simmered on the horizon, a tiny trace of the magic quickly to be revealed throughout the Namib Desert. 

With Kulala Desert Lodge being the closest lodge to Sossusvlei, a brief drive led us to the Namib Naukluft Nationwide Park gate from the place the peaks of dunes grew nearer and my digicam rapidly jumped out of the bag, by no means to depart my palms for the remainder of the day.

Regardless of understanding images from a shifting automobile don’t all the time produce the most effective outcomes, I couldn’t assist myself. Because the solar rose slowly within the distance, the dunes modified color and I used to be snapping out the window at something and the whole lot that exposed one of many dunes I’d been desirous to {photograph} for years.

With me for the day I had the Olympus E-M1X and E-M1 MKII our bodies, each with impeccable climate sealing to make sure the desert mud wouldn’t be a problem. The M.Zuiko 7-14mm f2.8, 12-40mm and 40-150mm professional lenses have been additionally in my bag to make sure all bases have been lined for the scenes I imagined together with the MC-20 2x teleconverter which I used to be utilizing for the primary time to increase the focal size and attain a formidable 300mm.

The desert surroundings is such an inspiring panorama for me personally. Huge open areas of surroundings that appears to increase endlessly towards the horizon are what gas my creativity and I used to be in a cheerful place from the second I laid eyes on the primary grain of sand.

As a result of I do know as soon as I begin typing I’ll little question repetitively use the phrases wow, fairly, overwhelming magnificence and little question a number of WOW’s in captials too, I need to as an alternative share my favorite photographs from this morning journey with Wilderness Safaris.

Beneath you’ll discover six photographs together with a bit story from behind the scenes of every shot and what digicam settings and equipment have been used to seize them.

Deadvlei Namibia with Wilderness Safaris

Picture #1

Gear: Olympus E-M1X + M.Zuiko 40-150mm f2.8 lens with the MC-20 2 x teleconverter

Digital camera Settings: f.5.6 | ISO 400 | 1/1000sec | 300mm focal size

Stopping at Dune 45, probably the most widespread areas to climb Namibia’s monstrous dunes, we had a couple of minutes to take some pictures earlier than persevering with to make our manner in direction of Deadvlei, the supposed location for the morning shoot.

Rising at 170m, the dune supplies a simple to achieve alternative for folks to aim to climb and see the surroundings from above…and fill their footwear with sand, tons and plenty of sand. As a result of I like my photographs to be free of individuals, I as an alternative centered on the distant dunes, utilizing the MC-20 teleconverter to increase my 40-150mm lens to 300mm, drawing a lone tree nearer in opposition to the star dunes behind.

Whereas it could not seem like the case, I used to be really standing in a comparatively busy automotive park whereas taking this shot and because of the focal size, folks may stroll in entrance and barely trigger a problem, till in fact I didn’t see them coming after which obtained a shock once I was focusing and out of the blue bam, particular person.

One of many advantages of getting the teleconverter with me was for moments like this once I wished to place myself in a scene additional away and in a way break away from the usual setting and seize the shot with out in fact having to hike within the excessive warmth. I’d beforehand travelled with the 300mm f4 professional lens nevertheless now that I’ve had this compact little gem with me, will in all probability decide to make use of it as an alternative merely because of the dimension and ease of use.

Learn extra –The Advantages of Travelling with a Zoom Lens

Deadvlei Namibia with Wilderness Safaris 01

Picture #2

Gear: Olympus E-M1 MKII + M.Zuiko 7-14mm f2.8 lens

Digital camera Settings: f/2.8 | 1/16000 sec | ISO 800

Arriving at Deadvlei it grew to become a mission to run in direction of this stark valley of dryness earlier than the rising solar took over and the scene misplaced all shadows and depth.

Not realising how far Deadvlei was from the automotive park, inside minutes I used to be a sweaty mess (nothing to cover right here, you’ll be the identical if you happen to go to!) however so rattling desperate to take as many images and angles as I may earlier than the sunshine grew harsher and the crowds arrived.

Descending into the valley I rapidly seen the sunshine was rising quickly and took this picture  utilizing the one out there tree that wasn’t already in daylight. Typically digicam settings must take a again seat with a view to seize a fast shot. This was a kind of instances. I’m a giant believer that if you happen to get the fundamentals proper and keep away from pointless noise/blur, then composition and creativity are way more necessary in reaching stunning outcomes.

Whereas this picture isn’t precisely what I hoped for and isn’t my favorite of the day, it nonetheless supplied me with an alternate shot that gives a special view of Deadvlei. I trialled utilizing an aperture of f14 to focus on the solar sparkle however discovered f2.8 labored a bit higher in the long run.

Deadvlei Namibia with Wilderness Safaris

Picture #3

Gear: Olympus E-M1 MKII + M.Zuiko 12-40mm f2.8 lens

Digital camera Settings: f/2.8 | 1/5000 sec | ISO 250

It is a shot I hesitated taking however, have a tiny obsession with producing reflections and a desert scene works so fantastically because of the tones and minimal panorama.

Clearly, there isn’t any water in Deadvlei, it’s one of many driest areas on the planet and it was due to this that I used to be hesitant to share this picture publicly.

To take this picture I used the Olympus E-M1 MKII with the 12-40mm f2.8 lens which is good for creating a mirrored image of the sky throughout the display of a cell phone. When held as much as the lens and tilted on the proper angle, the telephone display displays any element above it and on this case, it was all blue contrasting goodness. To make sure you don’t see the sting of the telephone display, it’s important to {photograph} with a large aperture that can blur any foreground element into the picture.

Learn extra –Behind the Lens: Inventive Phases and My Present Obsession

Deadvlei Namibia with Wilderness Safaris

Picture #4

Gear: Olympus E-M1X + M.Zuiko 40-150mm f2.8 lens

Digital camera Settings: f/7.1 | 1/640 sec | ISO 200

*Please be aware this shot is unedited

Looking out to seize a basic shot of Deadvlei I made time to take a seat and easily stare in all instructions in search of bushes that will work greatest. For about 10 full minutes (lots in a location as photogenic as this!), I put my digicam on the bottom and simply gave myself time to search out the shot.

It’s a preferred location so numerous the time one can find there could also be folks within the scene however fortunately, if you happen to arrive early sufficient there’ll be loads of house to search out some bushes to compose inside your photographs.

These two stood out after a couple of minutes and I beloved the impact the shadow on the again dune was giving depth to the body. The solar was shining utterly over all the Deadvlei nevertheless this dune was nonetheless in shade, ultimate for a contrasting tone throughout the picture.

Deadvlei Namibia with Wilderness Safaris

Picture #5

Gear: Olympus E-M1X + M.Zuiko 40-150mm f2.8 lens

Digital camera Settings: f/7.1 | 1/1250 sec | ISO 200

To complete up, I’ll share my favorite picture not solely of the mornings journey however my whole time within the area. After seeing so many photographs of Deadvlei and Sossusvlei on social media, generally reasonably than being impressed I turn into a bit underwhelmed. Whereas this undoubtedly wasn’t the case with this location, I did really feel that I wanted extra time to seize a shot I used to be really proud of, possibly one other morning there and even one other ten.

Whereas strolling again to the automotive park I used to be drawn to this distant view; the colors, layers and depth all simply grew to become a imaginative and prescient of instantaneous inspiration and I obtained these giddy vibes whereas rapidly whipping out the E-M1X and 40-150mm lens I’d already packed up for the hike again to the automotive.

The fact was that I used to be completely boiling and pink confronted, had nearly drunk my water, crowds have been rolling in quicker than clouds in a summer season storm and I believed I’d captured all that I may at Deadvlei. Flawed.

These dunes aren’t in fact Deadvlei, they’re positioned behind the carpark on the japanese facet of the dunes nevertheless when taking the shot, I used to be standing on the trail to Deadvlei. It was fairly a humorous scene really as I used to be photographing in the wrong way to the place everybody else was heading so naturally, as they handed me in my snap completely satisfied state, they’d flip and attempt to see what the heck I used to be seeing.

This was the primary picture I took of the scene and naturally, like most individuals I took tonnes extra with diversified focal lengths and compositions however love that each time I view this shot I’m taken again to my time in Namibia, wowed by the overwhelming pure magnificence. I instructed you I’d use the phrases wow and overwhelming!


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