The second largest dune in the Sossusvlei area is Big Daddy. In this shot the 380 metre high peak is on the far right of the frame. Footprints in the soft, fine sand mark the tracks of those hardy souls who like the challenge of a stiff climb.
The Sossusvlei is perhaps the highest sand dunes in the world. Situated in Namibia, these dunes are as high as 300 meters. The Sossusvlei cover a great expanse of almost 500 square kilometres of the mighty Namib Desert, which is considered to be one of the oldest deserts by many geologists. Literally meaning 'the gathering place of water', the Sossusvlei is actually a clay pan which holds rain water to form a lake. This pan retains water for a long time due to the high clay content and this attracts a large crowd from people all over since it is a rare sight.
Specifically speaking, Sossusvlei is only a circular shaped depression filled with water in the heart of the Namib Desert. Also known as the ‘Vlei’ the Afrikaans word for pan, it is the place where the dunes come together, causing the Tsauchab River to stop its course. Most often, the river does not flow this far because it is dry. But a surprise bout of rainfall could turn this dead Vlei into a spectacular lake flanked by ruddy and sparkling dunes. But now, the gigantic dunes are also considered to be a part of the Sossusvlei and the dunes as well as the Vlei come under the area of the Sossusvlei.
The dunes surrounding the pan have an impressive history of formation. It has been said that the residue or sand from the Orange River were carried all the way to the western coast of Africa and deposited into the mighty Atlantic Ocean. The strong currents of the ocean moved this material towards the north and replaced them back on to the land. By this constant re-deposition, dunes began forming on the coast and were shifted further inland by winds. The sand deposited on the windward side makes the dune flat, while the leeward side is considerably steeper. However, the patterns on the dune vary according to the direction and speed of the wind and these dunes have taken a million years to be developed. The Sossusvlei today is ever changing and evolving.
The Sossusvlei may be known for its vast expanse of giant dunes, but what makes them even more impressive is their colour composition. The presence of iron oxides in the sand coupled with innumerable particles of garnet gives the dune its brilliant hue. The shades vary according to the age of the dunes, and the older the dune the brighter the sand’s colour. These varying shades of red are the highlight of the Sossusvlei and they define the stark beauty of the Namib Desert. The dunes do not look the same at different times during the day, as the sun plays on the colour of sand.
Here is a larger version
This photograph is copyright of Rosemary Walden - © Rosemary Walden 2014. All rights reserved. Any redistribution or reproduction of the image in any form is prohibited. You may not, except with my express written permission, copy, reproduce, download, distribute or exploit the content. Nor may you transmit it or store it in any other website or other form of electronic retrieval system
Critiques | Translate
lousat (72937) 2014-07-23 2:25
Hi Rosemary,spectacular capture of a spectacular place.Remind me the moroccan dunes of Merzouga,and as i know,sceneries like this are one of the best opportunities to take succesfull pics.And this is a great example,made with bright colors and fine detail everywhere,i like it....a lot!! Have a nice day and thanks,Luciano
siudzi (32709) 2014-07-23 2:46
What a fantastic landscape post this! You have achieved an impressive palette of intensive colors which made the view so eye-catching. Perfectly taken and presented. TFS!
Noel_Byrne (21568) 2014-07-23 2:46
an amazing otherworldly place, to my eyes so exotic and so different from my world. Beautiful colors which compliment ebb other so well, and your note is really superb.
thanks as always
rasterman (309) 2014-07-23 4:06
Fantastic photo of the dunes. I love the light and the colors you have obtained here. The incorporation of the man climbing is great because it allows us to see clearly the scale that is not so clear at first. They are huge. Fantastic picture. Congratulations and thanks for sharing.
Sergiom (55477) 2014-07-23 5:39
J'aime beaucoup cette composition car c'est le genre d'images que j'aime faire. Une belle recherche de point de vue, une belle utilisation des ombres et de la lumière et un très beau jeu de formes.
Ecureuil (506) 2014-07-23 5:51
I'm back again after one year. Like you know, I'm sensible to the beauty and the contrasts in the colors.
This perfect photo is an example of good cohabitation between blue and orange.
Love the curves too and the sharpness.
williewhistler (12763) 2014-07-23 6:14
even without the lone figure trudging along the crest this is superb shot of the dunes,beautifully composed with a fine range of colours and glorious curves,but with him so nicely placed in the frame it`s simply stunning.
The so interesting sky plays it`s part in a fine piece of photography.
Kind regards Les.
photoray (10557) 2014-07-23 7:22
Impressive Sossuvlei Sand Dunes scene with contrast lighting highlighting the red hue sands, solo visitor on the ridge, and blue sky for comparison.
I enjoy tramping about sand dunes and hope to visit Big Daddy someday.
Thanks for sharing,
emka (73925) 2014-07-23 7:33
Hello, Fantastic. Have you climbed Big Daddy? I was on organized tour so it was time only for Dune 45. And it would be fun to climb this one also. amazing colour (when I show my pictures, people ask, is it really like this? Then I show a small glass with some soft red sand from Sossusvlei). And to imagine how the sun plays, one must see it by him/herself. The delicate clouds also add to the impact of this image.
WArm regrads MAlgo
Nicou (117398) 2014-07-23 8:01
quelle vue sur ce dune de sable fabuleuse compo et image avec cette partie ombrée qui fait comme un triangle le rendu tout fin sur le sable cet éclairage doux et le personnage qui donne bien l'échelle grandiose vue.
Bravo et amitié
dta (63564) 2014-07-23 8:08
Hello Rosemary ,
Wonderful lateral light on this splendid sandy dune . The man walking and his steps are a superb bonus .
holmertz (37793) 2014-07-23 8:24
This is a supreme example of the importance of inclusion of people in a lot of photos. I can see one person here, extremely small but still helping us tremendously to assess the dimensions. Furthermore, this climber helps to create a stronger general understanding of a small human's loneliness in the vast desert. The shapes of the dune, the various colours, the play of light and shadows and the gently shaped clouds are all very beautiful.
ikeharel (53183) 2014-07-23 9:21
This is impressive deset scvene, Rosemary, and scaled by the lone figure of the climbing person.
The foot-marks leading the viewer to see him/her as soon as looking at the picture.
Yet, in the FG, every grain of sand is clearly shown. Wind will eventually blow and change the shape of the dune.
I am impressed.
Cricri (101941) 2014-07-23 10:20
Magnifique, vraiment j'aime votre désert, si bien présenter par vous , j'aime les formes du sable, le jeu ombre et ce merveilleux contraste avec le bleu du ciel, fantastique
cornejo (28635) 2014-07-23 12:29
Hi Rosemary, very good photograph of this beautiful composition in this stunningly beautiful place, very well captured in this beautiful image with good sharpness, depth, light, color and quality. Excellent and interesting job well done, congratulations my friend. Thanks for sharing this beautiful work.
Good night and happy rest of the week.
Warm greetings from southern Spain.
romanaa (7934) 2014-07-23 12:43
brilliant picture. The tiny figure is is small that I have not notice at the first time, it makes me understand the scale and it must be really huge.
Wonderful colours and shapes.
npecanhuk (61688) 2014-07-23 15:41
Wonderful natural details!
Sharpness, exposure, colors, chosen pov, horizontal format and composition are all outstanding photo qualities that I truly enjoyed!
TFS - congrats,
delpeoples (52737) 2014-07-23 22:09
Jeez Rosemary, you must be one fit lady! This is impressive, both in terms of the subject and the fact that you've conquered it both physically and photographically. A magnificent photo, so minimalist, with beautiful lines and contrasts. Perfect Rule of Thirds framing. The solitude and grandeur of the place is mind-blowing. Last week I met a young Wiradjuri man who had walked from Perth to Kalgoorlie (a 1200km round trip). For our First Nations People, walking on the land is a way of connecting with it and with God. He said after the first day, his way of thinking was changed forever. The lone person walking up the track in your photo is a symbol, I think, of the path we all choose to take, the loneliness of that path and the unexpected beauty of it. And it's also a beautiful tribute to this land. That owns us.
COSTANTINO (52002) 2014-07-23 22:13
Hello my dear friend
shot with breathtaking view and originality
perfectly taken and presented
fantastic colors in a spectacular view
destinated for an exhibition
great contrast between lights
have a nice time
jjcordier (73824) 2014-07-23 23:04
Tu as réalisé une photo magnifique de cette superbe et impressionnante dune. La lumière et les couleurs sont superbes.
carlo62 (28525) 2014-07-23 23:49
la tua abitudine al paesaggio può solo farti fare delle foto fantastiche.
L'uomo è essenziale per definire le proporzioni di questa grandissima duna, a questo si aggiunge la bellissima inquadratura, con la cresta che ci indica il cammino e il gioco di luce e ombre che da tridimensionalità all'immagine.
Gran bel colpo
dekanski (2568) 2014-07-24 0:21
Although only sand and sky, the desert provide endless opportunities for a good photo. It's your proof!
dkmurphys (47052) 2014-07-24 2:49
Superb shapes of the desert. I love this POV, truly impressive.
Enjoy a good day.
rbassin (16500) 2014-07-24 3:09
C'est une superbe photo, j'aime bien les couleurs du sable et le contraste avec le ciel bleu.
Les courbes et les ombres sont d'un bon impact.
miumiu (5270) 2014-07-24 3:41
Amazing view of this dune... The man is so tiny on the top of the dune. Breathtaking!
The contrasts are wonderful.
timecapturer (45737) 2014-07-24 5:32
a shot that definitely has the WOW! factor. Irresistible lines and use of the light to make it so magical, beautiful and stunning. Imagery of the highest quality and oh so inspiring. Love it!
Regards - B.
PiotrF (5012) 2014-07-24 16:55
this is great landscape, spectacular capture of a unique place.Great perspective, excellent clarity and superb, natural colors.
CLODO (29366) 2014-07-25 1:28
Hi Rosemary(or Sevy?)
there are all the things I like in this picture: perfect framing including the rule of the third, the shadow as a big diagonal line adding some dynamism to the image and ending right in the bottom right corner, the two contrasting colors and the diaphane clouds seeming to issue from the top of the dune, the summit border snaking along the picture and the tiny but very important human presence.
There is a feeling of freedom, quietness, earth at the beginning.
serp2000 (38355) 2014-07-25 7:02
What can I say? This is one of my favorite photos on the TE. Superb! Just no words... Thanks!
ChrisJ (94842) 2014-07-25 11:45
Amazing similarities in color and mood with Australian deserts. Here is 'Big Red' in the Simpson Desert which straddles south western Qld & south eastern Northern Territory.
Good sharpness and marvellous warm cold color contrasts between the red and blue. Tfs!
annjackman (18201) 2014-07-26 22:26
This reminds me of our walk up one of the dunes where Dave made it to the top and I photographed it from half way up (it was very windy and I didn't feel stable!). I love this image with its graceful shapes that are shown so clearly by the light and shadow areas. The small figure walking along the ridge makes this for me giving scale and a sense of loneliness. The sky has some interesting wisps of cloud that almost seem to radiate from the top of the dune making for an impressive picture.
Kind Regards, Ann
adores (34738) 2014-08-02 16:19
Impressive dunes! I like the shapes, tonalities and textures. Your pov is great and our eyes really follow the footprints of that person in the distance. Very good dof! You got a very good shot!
mayjayne (3171) 2014-08-06 9:38
What a magnificent composition; so rich in earthly tones and play of light and curves. The clouds in the deep blue sky further enhances everything. Very well done !!
ourania (27344) 2014-08-12 9:54
a very elegant composition to describe this extraordinary natural scenery. It was the layout of colours that attracted me at first, you achieved such a fine balance, I love the definition and how shades fade gently into each other. A more attentive look reveals the vastness of the scenery and the scale offered by the tiny walking figure is breath taking. The high peak is higher than the tallest mountain of Leros and to think that these formations are dunes! Congratulations and thank you!
All the best, have a lovely evening,
Gigidusud (13669) 2014-08-22 13:36
Magnifique cette dune qui se dessine sur fond de ciel bleu. Splendide le contraste de couleurs et de lumière sur le sable. La présence humaine nous donne une idée de la grandeur et le cadrage est excellent. J'aime beaucoup!