This is a picture of the much-photographed Dead Vlei, a clay pan in the Namib Desert. The best time to photograph Dead Vlei is dawn and dusk, although it's actually quite difficult to be there at those times due to the gate closing hours. We spent three nights on Sesriem campsite, the nearest accommodation, from where it is a 60 km drive along a tar road, followed by a 5 km drive along a difficult sandy track (4WD obligatory) and a 1.1 km walk through the dunes.
This was taken at sunset, after which it was quite a rush to get back for the 6.30 gate closing time.
General info from Wikipedia:
Dead Vlei is a clay pan located near the more famous salt pan of Sossusvlei, inside the Namib-Naukluft Park in Namibia.
Dead Vlei is surrounded by the highest sand dunes in the world, some reaching up to 300 meters, which rest on a sandstone terrace. The clay pan was formed after rainfall, when the Tsauchab river flooded, creating temporary shallow pools where the abundance of water allowed camel thorn trees to grow. When the climate changed, drought hit the area, and sand dunes encroached on the pan, which blocked the river from the area.
The trees died, as there no longer was enough water to survive. There are some species of plants remaining, such as salsola and clumps of !nara, adapted to surviving off of the morning mist and very rare rainfall. The remaining skeletons of the trees, which are believed to be about 900 years old, are now black because the intense sun has scorched them. The wood does not decompose because it is so dry.
Thanks for looking!
Critiques | Translate
Elaine_Blath (8509) 2009-05-29 5:19
this is amazingly clear and smooth, it looks like painted...fantastic POV, well done!
Take care, Ivana
Jeppo (17645) 2009-05-29 5:23
I don't know where my comment should start....
the pov on the burned ground...with a sharpness that lets us feel the dry geometries....or the dead trees...and their contrast with the pastel blue and warm orange of the dunes...
a lovely compo from a magic place
sevy (15367) 2009-05-29 5:25
I noticed some days ago the link on your TE overview and I had a look on your photos of Namibias. Now, I do not find my own photos interesting :-) If I go back there for sure I will manage differently.
Due to the gate closure, I was there only at the morning but a bit too late. I like a lot how you managed the lightning, especially with the rendering of the ground. As well, very good composition with the 2 trees as a gate to enter Namib.
Fun to notice you change the Nikon to the 5D mk2, I would have think you will better go to the D700. Welcome to the user club!
fallan (1860) 2009-05-29 5:25
Very well composed. The stark beauty of the area is captured very well.
aadilj (18102) 2009-05-29 5:29
Hi john, I know you never reply but nevertheless...this is an extremely lovely and superbly controlled shot with vibrant hues and lovely composition
Adrique (609) 2009-05-29 5:34
I read about this place just few hours ago, it´s amazing, very surreal. I like your point of view. The "steel plated" ground in contrast with the orange dunes. The ground seems to be so clean that one could eat from it.
Btw, what would happed if you don´t make it to the closing gates in time?
Greg1949 (9011) 2009-05-29 5:40
Fine capture John, the light line at the far end of the pan and the crisp silhouettes in the fg make for a powerful image. I like best how you used a large f-stop to get a wonderfully deep dof. Great work.
rikko77 (10861) 2009-05-29 5:41
stunning view of Dead Vlei. Your POV was great and I like alot portrait framing with the two trees in the foreground.
Have a nice day,
emilbo (22616) 2009-05-29 5:49
Magnifique photo et bel effet artistique. Le bel éclairage et la qualité d'image mettent bien en valeur cette scène. Excellente perspective et beau contraste de couleurs.
Félicitations pour ta merveilleuse galerie,
smarcell (19963) 2009-05-29 5:52
You have been to Namibia !
I hope this picture wil get a million of points. If it doesn't it means there is something very wrong with TE ! Recently I am against the average shots whichh get 200 points from th eusual friends.
It looks so unreal. I should go there sooner or later. I wait for other picture from Namibia !
Fransx (1457) 2009-05-29 6:02
An original composition with trees growing from the dry clay!
Beautiful texture all over with magnificent lighting and sharpness!
A nice composition with the splendor of eye-catching colors!
A clean presentation.
sagar (2410) 2009-05-29 6:28
Superb capture! This is spot on in terms of colors and clarity!
chiaretta (2414) 2009-05-29 6:30
incredible landscape, almost unreal!
I'm astonished by the sharpness of this colors... by this pure lines made of light and shadows!
sebinho342 (19317) 2009-05-29 7:18
Impressive ... really impressive ... i'm speachless toward so much beauty of mother nature.
I've seen some other pictures of that place but i think it's one of first time i see it in vertical format.
JanD (0) 2009-05-29 7:49
Dangerous desert. Excellent colours. Good sharp and texture. Very good picture.
besnard (55067) 2009-05-29 7:53
Un joli cliché aux belles couleurs net et bien cadré. Un petit aperçu de ce qui m'attend en septembre prochain.
Merci pour cette belle image et bonne journée.
brandstaetter (15915) 2009-05-29 8:10
you´ve been in the paradise for photographers.. a surreal landscape, very strange and in a very beautiful light.
ddupre2 (893) 2009-05-29 8:18
I'll go in Namibia this winter... in july... I'll think of your pictures,
dawekato (2269) 2009-05-29 10:10
Like a minimalist painting. Strong lines, colours and simplified textures. Good depth with smaller trees receding into the background. I don't know how you did it, (probably a lot of post processing), but I don't care. It's beautiful
aristo (3214) 2009-05-29 11:19
Excellent photo!Fantastic compocition and great light and colors.Really amazing place in Namibia.
lespicaros (5542) 2009-05-29 12:43
Ce desert est connu mais grace à ton talent tu as su nous presenter une vue originale
ajayrawat (644) 2009-05-29 12:44
This can not be true... I mean how can a photograph can be so perfect this looks like a painting or a result of computer wizardry.
I am speechless to see this picture so perfect that it can score 120 out of 100 marks.
grigand (19719) 2009-05-29 13:07
Fantastico questo paesaggio, quai surreale, ottima la composizione e la luce, gran foto !
JudyR (1671) 2009-05-29 13:31
Surreal artpiece. Shapes and positive and negative spaces, light and shadow make for a harmonious composition. Very interesting. Thanks, Judy
Floydian (30970) 2009-05-29 15:26
What an entry from your latest trip..!!
The note, very interesting, i never knew there was a gate that they closed, so time is limited? Were you by your self, or in an organised tour? Is it easy to get around when doing things on your self in this area?
Those textures on the earth, man it looks really good...f**k, i see you got a Canon....you finally woke up...LOLLLLL.
It's truly a great one John, not that i expected anything less from you, but if this is the start of your new series than you put the bar very high....so impressive me even more than this one...because this is already very good..!!!
Have a nice weekend,
dkeus31 (27735) 2009-05-29 17:13
sery strange these trees and the ground where they are!
mariandrea (973) 2009-05-29 17:38
Hi John, amazing place and marvellous work. The composition is really good, a simple and complex picture at the same time. Congrats! chau chau,
SteveH (6247) 2009-05-29 17:42
Hi John, which planet did you take this one - surely not earth! It looks like it should be an illustration on the cover of a sci fi novel. A remarkable image of a remarkable place. Well composed and executed and good timing too, with the late sun on the hills. great shot. Cheers, Steve
judesta (1006) 2009-05-29 18:51
Wow what a photo, the texture and patterns of the clay earth, the black silhouette of the dead trees and that golden glow falling on the background sand dunes leading up to the several shades of blue in the sky. Its all fantastic. I like the long framing and low POV you present here. One of my favourites.
Dyerco (10185) 2009-05-30 10:28
A wonderfully composed shot with a beautiful simplicity about it. Well worth the trek I would say.
crhieatt (5347) 2009-05-31 4:57
You're right, this is a much photogrphed location an, rather like Antelope Canyon, one can easily become a little bored of carelessly taken shots at such locations - "oh, another one of those" moans the mind! On the other hand - this hand, as it happens - there's always room to take a step or two beyond the standard, and produce something truly great - blimey I even saw a great shot of the Sidney Harbour Bridge and opera house uploaded this morning. Who'd have thought! And this one too - we've seen it all before - but not quite as nice as this: Terrifically well balanced - poised - shot. Enjoying the 5D then?!!!
borax (1732) 2009-05-31 17:38
Very graphical picture. I like deep colors of this amazing place, even if vignetting is present. But darker corners help focusing on the center of the picture, the trees, the dune...
luisafonso (862) 2009-06-01 1:25
An amazing site, no doubt about it. I would love to go there myself. Great picture you have here. That cracked foreground is amazing. I also like your composition very much. The gate made by the standing giant trees in the foreground is perfectly framing the group of those other in the back. Colors are great as well... Interesting is how clear the sky is always in these pictures. I don't remember to saw a picture from this place with clouds. Guess that's why they called the desert. :) Anyway, the clear blue sky works well with your compo. Great one!
paololg (31448) 2009-06-01 6:39
Ciao dear John,
questa è veramente una opera d'arte, una fotografia in stile metafisico giocata stupendamente sui dettagli ed i contrasti cromatici. Una immagine di rara bellezza ed eleganza che fa di te uno dei più bravi fotografi di TE. Sinceri complimenti!
Ciao, buona settimana!
danydan (312) 2009-06-02 14:28
Sublime image !
Que dire, j'adore, tout a fait le style que j'apprécie, ce côté minimaliste..
Cela mérite un grand tirage !
ku-fotak-chtik (1142) 2009-06-03 5:35
Great timing to get on the place in the right time and the nice sunlight against the shadow is superb.
Nice composition and leading lines in foreground make it very nice for watching.
Kind Regards Jiri
deud (1920) 2009-06-04 0:31
amazing shot! the colors are so distinctive and reach!
nice light and shadow play.
chawax (19810) 2009-06-05 14:29
It looks like an incredible place ! It looks hard to go there but it really worths it. I love the simplicity of your composition, its great depth of field and the good sharpness.
akm (1216) 2009-06-05 17:13
The combination of natural conditions and changes, the effort that went into being there at the right time and your skill produced an extraordinary accomplishment.
I'm so glad I found the time to catch up on some days of postings when I was busy. I might have missed this and not have been aware of your gallery.
Clementi (52514) 2009-06-06 12:31
raramente ti si vede ma quando lo fai con questi capolavori ci lasci tutti a bocca aperta, bellissimi i dettagli perfetta la luce e meravigliosi colori.
Waylim (25368) 2009-06-08 17:41
Perhaps one of the most artistic POV and compositions I have seen in a little while. Love the simplicity of the landscape, yet so much for the eyes to discover, the details of the dry lake bed, The silhouette of the dead trees, contrast so well against the multi color backgrounds of golden orange and blue. Supper sharpness and clarity. and perfectlly manage light. Excellent! I love it.
fadingstar78 (420) 2009-11-22 10:21
just... wow! good job with capturing this beautiful image.
gut31 (103) 2010-05-02 9:21
I like very much the differents colors and the composition of your picture
LyLong (1890) 2011-02-21 22:50
Excellent compo and toning, is there any HDR process John?
BrunoCH (2) 2011-03-09 15:08
Such a lovely picture. The composition and the colors are well mastered but the floor gives the additional touch (the cherry on the cake) which transformes this photo from good to great. Congratulations!
cmac66 (406) 2011-03-11 4:17
Chihiro79 (40) 2011-06-07 12:29
a spectacular landscape and an original, geometric and symetrical composition. Nature doesn't seem to be real on your picture. Incredible!
All the best,
kaZ (690) 2011-06-08 12:12
Wow ! That's just such an amazing shot ! Colours, dof, sharpness, composition, light... What an impressive picture.
svefay (808) 2011-06-30 11:02
it's a great shot, TFS...
seb1lopez (187) 2013-12-07 0:10
a classic, but wonderfull!
- Copyright: John Freeman (johnfreeman) (2274)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2009-05-12
- Categories: Nature
- Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mk II, Canon 17-40 mm f/4.0L EF USM
- Exposure: f/20.0, 1/6 seconds
- Details: Tripod: Yes
- More Photo Info: view
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Theme(s): Namibian Landscape [view contributor(s)]
- Date Submitted: 2009-05-29 5:16
- Favorites: 19 [view]