10th November 2014
Sossusvlei has to be one of the most beautiful places in Namibia, this was my second visit here and I had a clearer picture in my mind as to what I wanted to achieve photographically this time round, my planning was better and I knew where I needed to be at what time of day.

The first afternoon and the next morning we spent at Deadvlei which was spectacular but in this post I will deal more with the sand dunes of Sossusvlei.

For me the best time to photograph the dunes is early morning and late afternoon, this is when the dunes cast shadows and images do not look flat as they do in the middle of the day with less shadows, the color of the sand is richer and the heat haze reflecting off the earths surface do not affect your images.

There are a number of places where you can get out of your vehicle and walk to the more spectacular dunes and you can also climb “dune 45” situated 45km from the gate and “big daddy” that is next to deadvlei if you are feeling energetic ! The best time to climb the dunes is early morning before it gets too hot.

I did a combination of getting close to the dunes and shooting with a wide angle lens and then I also shot the dunes with a longer lens from further away, I was using my D800 with a Tamron 16-28mm lens and then the D4 with the 70-200 lens, I also shot a number of composite images that I stitched together in Photoshop.

The afternoon of our second day at Sossusvlei I spent shooting composites with the 200mm lens, the contrast of the light and shadows on the dunes was brilliant, I also photographed the usual suspects from the front in the classic dune photo, it is almost impossible to resist !

There is also a fair amount of Wildlife at Sossusvlei and I also managed to capture some Springbok and Gemsbok as they were feeding on the sparse grasses on the side of the road.

On the way back to camp I climbed one of the dunes close to the road that overlook the Mountains in the distance just to get a different perspective on things.

That night I did some star images and star trails close to the camp as well as a couple of double exposure images of our campsite with the amazingly clear skies above.

The following morning we got up early to drive to “dune 45” that we wanted to climb before the sun came up, we arrived at dune 45 with a number of overland trucks hot on our heels, we set off and started our climb to the top, the first incline seemed to be the worst ! the soft sand made the walking tough and pretty soon I was huffing and puffing my way up the dune, there were quite a few people climbing the dune which made going up a slower process but eventually after about 30 minutes I reached the top of the dune, what a spectacular view !

I spent the next hour on the dune photographing as the sun came up and trying every conceivable composition and angle I could think of, I did a lot of bracketing on my exposures to try and capture the scene accurately.

I can highly recommend climbing one of the dunes at Sossusvlei as the views are spectacular and I don’t think a visit to Sossusvlei would be complete without climbing one.Eventually it was time to climb down and head back to camp to pack up and start out journey to Walvis bay and the Living Desert.


Photo comment By m hofer: Andrew, your perception is truly remarkable, unique!
Photo comment By Ilse Botes: Your pics made my heart sing on a dreary Auckland morning.Once one has been here, a piece of your heart stays behind forever.
Photo comment By mincu livia delia: Thank you for this magical fotos :) i love the desert and your fotos are a precious gift for my eyes and for my soul.Amazing fotos...thank you :)
Photo comment By RC Johnson: Andrew, great images! I really enjoyed the seventh image in the sequence with the contrasting shadow of the dune and shifting sands. Wish I could have been there. Take care.
Photo comment By Dr H Ramakrishnaiah: Hi Andrew Hats off to your work I feel like packing my gear and go all the say to Sossusvlei. Well please let me know how to go about this trip. Merry Christmas and Happy new Year Regards Rama
Photo comment By jacques: I'm just back from Sossusvlei... I find inyour pictures all my eyes have seen in this beautiful desert. I'have some but yours give the real light of this site. Thank you

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