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Namibia Photography Safari

Post 2 – The Namib Desert, a closer look

The Namib Desert, which stretches along the coast of Angola, Namibia, and northern South Africa may be the oldest desert in the world – having endured drought conditions for 55-80 million years!

Namib Desert © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Namib Desert
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

Its sand dunes, which rise up to 300 meters, are the highest in Africa and second highest in the world!

Namib Desert © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Namib Desert
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

The Namib Desert, because of its antiquity, may host more endemic species than any other desert in the world!

Namib Desert © 2014 Bob Harvey

Namib Desert
© 2014 Bob Harvey

The beauty and expanse can best be appreciated from the air.  From our hot air balloon, the desert seemed to go on forever and many shapes, geologic features, and life forms came into play.  Photography was inspired by shapes and colors, but the magnificence of the place was breathtaking.

Namib Desert © 2014 Bob Harvey

Namib Desert
© 2014 Bob Harvey

Namib Desert © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Namib Desert
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

Namib Desert © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Namib Desert
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

At sunrise, the haze made detailed photography impossible, but the layers of haze backlit by the rising sun offered us moody and dramatic photography.  The balloon moves with the air, so you don’t have a sensation of movement. It is very stable. We used shutter speeds between 250 and 400 while flying, which enabled us to use smaller apertures – depth of field was important.

Namib Desert © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Namib Desert
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

Abstract designs were everywhere, it was just a matter of selecting your design.

Namib Desert © 2014 Bob Harvey

Namib Desert
© 2014 Bob Harvey

And sometimes we fly right over something that our eyes would never see from the ground!

Vulture in nest, Namib Desert © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Vulture in nest, Namib Desert
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

Photographing dunes takes a lot of thought, patience and the right conditions.  Sometimes we were in the right place but the light was soft.  Most of the time, dunes sing the loudest when the light is intense, and light and shadow bring out the sculpting of the dune shapes. We hiked into the zone of ghost trees, Deadvlei, but clouds covered the sky.  We studied the movement of the clouds, had our compositions lined up (we practiced while we waited) and when the beams of sunlight came out from the clouds, we worked the scene hard.

Namib Desert © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Namib Desert
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

Namib Desert © 2014 Bob Harvey

Namib Desert
© 2014 Bob Harvey

Namib Desert © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Namib Desert
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

Namib Desert © 2014 Bob Harvey

Namib Desert
© 2014 Bob Harvey

As we continued exploring the dunes, we chased light, fog, and compositions of trees and dunes.

Namib Desert © 2014 Bob Harvey

Namib Desert
© 2014 Bob Harvey

Namib Desert © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Namib Desert
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

Namib Desert © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Namib Desert
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

Namib Desert © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Namib Desert
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

We would like you to join us in 2016 when we go back to these dunes.   Click on the calendar link to the right if you would like more information.

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