03rd November 2014
After Kolmanskop we set off for Sossusvlei, home to some spectacular sand dunes and Deadvlei.

I will chat about Deadvlei in this post and the rest of Sossusvlei separately.

We spent two nights in Sossusvlei inside the Namib-Naukluft National Park, for me photographing the dunes and Deadvlei it was vitally important to stay inside the park, Deadvlei is a 60km drive from the entrance gate of the park, if you are a day visitor the external park gate opens at sunrise, you then will need to pay your entrance fee and then set off to Deadvlei , after about 55km you will arrive at a parking area 5km before Deadvlei, from here you require a 4x4 vehicle to drive the last 5km through relatively thick sand to get to the final car park before walking about 1 to 1.5km to get to Deadvlei, the National park does provide a shuttle service from the car park to the Deadvlei car park if you do not have a 4x4 vehicle, this means that as a day visitor you can only arrive at Deadvlei after the sun is up and a lot of other people will be arriving at the same time.

If you stay inside the park at Sesriem then you can leave an hour before sunrise to get to Deadvlei, there is a internal gate that gets opened a hour earlier than the external gate, this allowed us to drive and walk to Deadvlei and arrive there before the sun started to shine, it also meant that we were the only people in Deadvlei on that specific morning which was great, unrestricted movement and no people to try and dodge.

We had decided to visit Deadvlei twice during our stay, one afternoon shoot and a morning shoot, the first afternoon we went to Deadvlei, the light was good and fortunately not too many people, the afternoon was also a trial run for the morning when we knew the light would be better.

I was mainly using my Nikon D800 camera with a Tamron 16-28mm lens, I was changing my settings a bit but I was mainly shooting on ISO 100 to 200 on F8 to F16, I had the camera on a tripod and I was using a cable release, I was also shooting in Manuel mode and shooting a few different exposures on each scene. The afternoon shadows were great and I tried using them in my images, the time raced by and eventually we had to leave so that we would get back to the camp before the gate closed.

The following morning we got up at 4-45am to get ready for the morning ahead, the internal gate opened at 5-30 am and we set off towards Deadvlei , we arrived in Deadvlei as the sun was touching the horizon, there were no other people there, what a privilege to have Deadvlei to ourselves for a few hours ! With the light coming from the other direction our compositions changed from the afternoon shoot and I walked around Deadvlei trying as many different compositions and angles as I could fit in, racing the sun ! I had also brought my Nikon D4 camera with 70-200 lens, using the longer lens on some images gives a different perspective and variety to only using a wide angle lens.

After about 3 hours of frantic shooting the sun was now shining fully on Deadvlei and quite a few other visitors had arrived in Deadvlei, we felt that we had gotten the most out of our photography that morning and were happy to slowly make our way back to camp.


Photo comment By Derek Evens: Great collection Andrew
Photo comment By m hofer: Astonishingly beautiful!

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