Photographing Namibia's Deadvlei
Photographing Namibia's Deadvlei - Deep blue Sky
The contrast of the white floor, orange dunes, and blue sky is so photogenic I guarantee you’ve never seen. You have stepped out of the large orange sand dunes and into a new land, welcome to photographing Namibia’s Deadvlei. Deadvlei is located at the salt pan of Sossusvlei. Its name literally means dead marsh. This area, at times, will fill with water, making the most impressing reflections of the orange sand. But, more times than now, it is dried up.
Once upon a time, the land would flood often, causing Camel thorn trees to grown, however, the shifting sand dunes have blocked off the river and the area is now a vast wasteland. The trees had not enough water to survive and died, this is thought to have happened some 600-700 years ago.
Over time the trees have turned dark due to the intense sun, giving yet another amazing contrast to the colours in the areas Intense colours, that you probably have never seen in nature all in one place. The pure air and bright sun will offer shadows and lighting that are begging to be captured. The dead camel thorn trees against the gorgeous sand dunes is awe inspiring, to say the least. The majestic beauty of this area is something that many people try to capture, however, it’s so magical, it’s almost impossible to really grab the total beauty.
Despite the number of cars and tourists, there is always a sense of solitude and silence in this area. It has a sense of peace that cannot be captured or explained. But, when we arrive there, you will certainly feel it.
And, then there is this amazing sky. The clouds look as if the dunes reach out and touch them. The various patterns in the clouds with that deep blue that is so clear and rich in colour. This sky both day and night is, just wow, and trying to capture that wow factor is a fun challenge. The shadows the clouds portray on the ground can look as if they are dancing in the sand. The sheer contrast of the orange and pink dunes with majestic blue sky and white floor and clouds is, just, WOW.
And, prepare yourself, as you see the petrified trees that have been left to burn in the sun, yes, trees, there is more than one! This was a forest at one time, and this is all that remains. The lines from the dunes to a clear sky will look as if it were painted with care. This, this, is what nature can do, the beauty is something that cannot be dreamt and the experience of standing among it is humbling, to say the least.
Deadvlei is like no other place on Earth. It is its own unique spot on the planet that has definitely risen to the top of my favorites to visit, I’m sure once you have been here it will be one of your as well. To see all of nature’s glory and beauty is something that offers this sense of inner peace and joy. The great orange and pink sands against this once thriving forest tells a bit of a story. in my opinion this is one of the best photo experiences in Africa, I cannot wait to return. Photographing Namibia’s Deadvlei is Awesome, and I cannot wait for you to join me on this wonderful adventure.
Oldest Desert in the World
Namibia, with its oldest desert in the world (10 million years), shows us all the cruelty of nature. Its micro fragment, Deadvlei Valley, is a white, dry clay plate surrounded by the highest dunes in the world (Big Mom, Big Daddy 330m). Deadvlei is something unique on the planet and is located in the heart of this red desert. Also known as the “frozen forest in time” because of the dried trees that have been here for more than 1,000 years. This magical forest looks like it was painted by artists. Photographing Namibia’s Deadvlei is a dream come true for many photographers.
The name Deadvlei comes from the English “dead” and the Flemish-African “vlei” (swamps). So this is not a dead valley but a dead swamp. Thousands of years ago, a river flowed here that slowly closed the path into the sand. Due to the proximity to the cold Atlantic, there was enough moisture that the powerful acacia trees could live. The pan dried slowly, and the trees died. The desert climate drained the trees, they petrified and are still preserved to this day. Old acacia trees still stand as if they were turned to the sun. Photographing Namibia’s Deadvlei petrified tress against the night sky is truly a remarkable experience.
The Namibia’s Desert is a protected park. Unfortunately, tourist climb for their fondest memory photo. Unreal trees about 900 years old adorn the desert area rich in clay.
Deadvlei lights up in the morning and late afternoon, the sand of the oldest desert in the world, Namibia, is deposited from Kalahari and is full of iron. The dunes travel slowly to the Atlantic, but some parts remain clear of the sand and show us the history of the weather.
Deadvlei Valley is 400km from Namibia’s capital Windhoek. There is 300km of gravel. Interesting! The last 65km of the hamlet of Sesriem, have asphalt, which leads us almost to Deadvlei. Lastly, we have 5 km of dirt on the soft desert sand, and without a good all-wheel-drive, we would not go.
With us, you will be photographing Namibia’s Deadvlei fascinating starry night sky above the region, as well as the trees, which resists weather and resembles some desert monuments. At dawn, the morning sun shines upon the great red dunes strewn with sparse, white grass rising above the clay plateau, which is still in the shade. The whole area looks like it is painted blue as the sky reflects on the white background. A play of sunshine and contrast, create a breathtaking landscape that is ideal for adventure photography. Although there is no living world, the beauty of the pan provided by this valley of spirits is worth the long journey because it will remain forever etched in your memory.
Yet here too, life has found a way to succeed. There are bugs, ostriches, and some plants that are adapted to thrive in the morning haze and very rare rainfall. This wonder of nature attracts many travel photographers, as well as tourists, who are willing to take the arduous journey capture the incredible beauty.
What to Photography In Deadvlei
This is a question we get asked often. There are many things to look for when you’re photographing at Deadvlei, but the most important thing is your composition. The best compositions will have some of these elements in them — groups of trees, a tree, branches that create a particular shape. You’ll also want to watch out for patterns in the sand dunes and shadows from the trees as well. If you’re early or late enough, you can also incorporate the tree’s shadows into your photo! Just be sure not to forget about those other three ingredients — orange dunes, white clay pan, and blacken petrified trees with an electric blue sky!