Field update from Gustafson Photo Safari: Sossusvlei, Namibia

Field update from Gustafson Photo Safari: Sossusvlei, Namibia

Aug 12, 2015|Holbrook in the Field| by Ginny Annable

Day 3: Sossusvlei, AM. We got up early for our transfer to the balloon guide and vehicle. We took off in the predawn glow and watched the sun come up over the purple rock formations. Drifting in the gentle breeze got us great views of the desert floor, its vegetation, and wildlife. Oryx and springbok were running in small herds as the landscape gave us an ever changing panoramic subject. I tried some shots on the new cell phone panoramic setting that should look pretty. Our touchdown was an adventure with the basket dragging along for about 100 meters and tipping us into the desert sand…. just in time for a champagne breakfast! An awesome morning.

Day 3: Sossusvlei, PM. This was our chance to go out into the park and work with our favorite dunes from last evenings’ drive through. There was time to make beautiful compositions and talk about exposure. There were few people in today so we pretty much had the place to ourselves. The wind came up and swirled the red sand over the dune crest creating amazing patterns on the shade side. It looked like a sand storm on Mars. One of the coolest events I’ve photographed. On the way back to the lodge we had time to photograph some of the gemsbok grazing in the last golden light of the day. Supper and pack. Tomorrow is an early entry to Dead Vlei and off to a new adventure.

Day 4: Dead Vlei. This is one of my favorite days for photography! Dead Vlei is unlike any other place on Earth. It’s a fossilized oasis dating back just under 1,000 years. Once a water source that supported an acacia forest, Dead Vlei is now a fossilized salt pan with petrified acacia tree skeletons nestled among giant red sand dunes. We drove out early and hiked in to be in position when the light hit the dunes. The photographic chances were endless including single trees, groups of trees, the octagonal salt crystal formations, sunlit trees, shaded trees, dunes in shade and sun. Lenses from 8mm to 400mm all had their uses here. It was a great place to get beyond photo instruction and teach my favorite stuff…the Art of Seeing. It’s all about vision. Otherwise you simply have some photos of dead trees and dunes. When the crowds arrived we were done so we hiked out and had a lovely breakfast in the dunes. From there we drove to our overnight hotel in the Namib Desert on the way to Swakopmund.

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