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Over the Dunes

Over the Dunes
Photo Information
Copyright: James Parker (Jamesp) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
Genre: Landscapes
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-10-16
Categories: Desert
Camera: Canon EOS 1Ds MkII, Canon 24-70 mm f 2,8 L-USM
Exposure: f/7.1, 1/400 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Travelogue: Namibia
Theme(s): Earth from Above, TN Favourites [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-10-24 8:09
Viewed: 5193
Favorites: 2 [view]
Points: 58
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Hello everyone. This is not the picture I had planned to post today. Yesterday, Peter van Zoest (PeterZ) asked if I had flown over the dunes - the answer was yes - and this is one of the results - showing the area near Sossusvlei. The whiteish areas are pans. I will include some notes on the dunes later - they are rather special as sand dunes go.

By the way - I took this shot on my bithday!
The Namib Desert is a desert in Namibia and southwest Angola which forms part of the Namib-Naukluft National Park. The desert is Africa's second largest. The name "Namib" is of Nama origin.

The desert occupies an area of around 80 900 km˛ (31 200 square miles, stretching about 1000 miles (1,600 km) along the Atlantic Ocean coast of Namibia. Its east-west width varies from 30 to 100 miles (50-160 km). The Namib Desert also reaches into southwest Angola. It is one of the 500 distinct physiographic provinces of the South African Platform physiographic division.

The area is considered to be one of the oldest deserts in the world, having endured arid or semi-arid conditions for at least 55 million years after the Atacama Desert. Its aridity is caused by the descent of dry air of the Hadley Cell, cooled by the cold Benguela current along the coast. It has less than 10 mm (0.4 inches) of rain annually and is almost completely barren.

A number of unusual species of plants and animals are found only in this desert. One of these is Welwitschia mirabilis, one of the most unusual species. Welwitschia is a shrub-like plant, but grows just two long strap-shaped leaves continuously throughout its lifetime. These leaves may be several meters long, gnarled and twisted from the desert winds. The taproot of the plant develops into a flat, concave disc in age. Welwitschia is notable for its survival in the extremely arid conditions in the Namib, sometimes deriving moisture from the coastal sea fogs.

Although the desert is largely unpopulated and inaccessible, there are year-round settlements at Sesriem, close to the famous Sossusvlei and a huge group of sand dunes, which at more than 300 meters high are among the tallest sand dunes in the world. The complexity and regularity of dune patterns in its dune sea have attracted the attention of geologists for decades. They still remain poorly understood.

The interaction between the water-laden air coming from the sea via southerly winds, some of the strongest of any coastal desert, and the dry air of the desert causes immense fogs and strong currents, causing sailors to lose their way. Along with the Skeleton Coast further north, it is notorious as the site of many shipwrecks. Some of these wrecked ships can be found as much as 50 metres inland, as the desert slowly moves westwards into the sea, reclaiming land over a period of many years.

The Namib desert is an important location for the mining of tungsten, salt and diamonds.

techranger, eqshannon, SunToucher, cataclysta, matatur, Argus, Evelynn, NinaM, nglen, boreocypriensis, aes_thor, jaycee, Luis52, Gert-Paassen, inked, anel, cicindela, SelenE, ramthakur, Aramok, loot has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To Wolfpower: Secret ServiceJamesp 1 10-24 20:06
To aes_thor: ThanksJamesp 1 10-24 19:38
To vanderschelden: Second LargestJamesp 2 10-24 12:22
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Critiques [Translate]

Gorgeous shot of the desert... vibrant color with enticing shadows and curves. TFS James... :)


Heaven, aka Markus will LOVE this one as I do..it is a unique style of 'sand painting', almost a wide angle notion of what the Tibetan Monks do macro in city sidewalks, only to brush them away at the end of a day...of course theirs have definable lines which depict this or that, whilst yours has the true dynamic of Wu-Li or patterns of Organic Nature! Superior James...

nice dune view, greetings Ori

Hello James,
Impressive shot. Congrats! Cingrats on your birthday as well.
Very beautiful abstract work with that play of light and shadow. Amazing colors.
It isn't taken from a hot air balloon, I suppose. So, the loss of sharpness through the airplane glass is quite okay.
I read in your note that the Namib is Africa's second largest; I'm surprised to hear that.
Very beautiful and technical well done...

Hi James,
I've already seen many photos of the wonderful area, but never a birdseye view. It does give a much better idea of what the entire area looks like. It is most intersting to see such clear lines between the red and white sand. As if somebody dropped the red sand on top of the white. The emptyness is also something that impresses me.

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5084 W: 166 N: 13009] (48434)
  • [2008-10-24 8:47]

Wonderful James, and I recognize it very well. I made a lot of photos from a small airoplane through the window of that plane in the pre-digital periode and in slides. So, the quality of my photos are badly in comparison with this photo.
The sharp edges of the dunes and the shadows are very impressive. And I know how steep they are.
The warm colours and composition in this photo are gorgeous.
Have a great weekend,

Hello James
Another beautiful landscape from another world ;-) Fantastic POV, beautiful colors. Great birthday present ;-)

A fine transient image James, today it is there, tomorrow maybe not! The allways changing, dynamic dunescape is for me one of the non-living nature's wonders somehow mimicking the living word. TFS this fine image my friend.

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5077 W: 260 N: 15590] (50614)
  • [2008-10-24 9:50]

Hello James,
Many happy returns of the 16th, the day you took this fine Namibian dune shot!
The lighting and colours are great, creating the impression that the dunes are in motion over the salt pans as one views this image.
TFS this fine aerial view.

Well shoot! You get to fly over Namibia on your birthday and I get to go out to lunch. hmmmm. I LOVE these dunes. The size, the wonderful abstract patterns and that incredible color is so special. I love seeing the birdseye view. What a fun place to look for compositions. I'm jealous. Nice work.


  • Great 
  • NinaM Gold Star Critiquer [C: 773 W: 3 N: 1157] (4077)
  • [2008-10-24 10:05]

Wow, James, what a fantastic sight of these dunes, they almost look like ripples in the sand on a beach. Beautiful!


  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-10-24 11:01]

Hi James. Happy birthday for the other day. A plane flight is the only way to see the shapes and colours in such detail as you have here. A fantastic sight i am sure . TFS with interesting notes Nick..

Have a good weekend.

Hi My friend -Brother- James,
An excellent shot of these dunes from an upper POV. The big-trple pits are resembling a flower's petal:) Beautiful scene!
TFS and greetings from my homeland, Cyprus.
All the best!


Hi James!

Amazing, beautifull- one of my favourites from now:)


  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2461 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2008-10-24 15:50]

Hi James,

This looks more like a beautiful abstract painting than a photo taken from an airplane. The colors and patterns are spectacular. What a wonderful way to spend your birthday. Happy Birthday!


Hello James

A remarkable POV,the colours are rich and show well.
The clarity is excellent.
Well composed in the frame.
I am jealous of your extensive travel.Perhaps you are in Her Majesty's secret service.LOL.


Happy late birthday James! I have missed many of your last posts but it’s always a pleasure to see your great pictures and this one is no exception. What an amazing capture with excellent texture. This is one of the most beautiful natural abstract shot that I have ever seen! I wish I was with you guys in this superb adventure! Greetings from autumnal Quebec!

  • Great 
  • Luis52 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1175 W: 8 N: 4240] (15809)
  • [2008-10-24 21:25]

Hola James.
Happy birthday, and what an beautiful photo to celebrate this special day in Your life. Colors of sand and dunnes are just amazing. TFS My frined.

Hi James,

Nice landscaping picture from the sanddunes from above.
Almost exactly as Peter ask.
That's a place to wanne be.
Great pov and beautiful colours.


  • Great 
  • inked Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 132 W: 0 N: 249] (771)
  • [2008-10-25 0:40]

hi James,
fantastic view of the desert dunes, a nice one to be seeing on your birthday. The color reminds me of Australia, but the landscape doesn't. Nicely composed which is never easy when inflight. It's nice and crisp and clear, was it taken through a window? well done, tfs

Hi James,
Fantastic,beautiful stunning... dunes there is no word to describe these namibian's dunes!
Your photo being so sharp I guess that it was taken from a hot air balloon early in the morning ? did you enjoy the champagne breakfast ?
Thanks for sharing this beauty

I would hang this in my home...it's an amazingly gorgeous shot. Its not just a wonderful depiction of the desert and the dunes but it's really art too. Love the subtle differences in colors and the warm feminine shapes. Great stuff!

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3043 W: 3 N: 8701] (40526)
  • [2008-10-25 6:51]

Hello James,
A woderful aeroview of the Namibian Desert, with its special red colour.
Amazing, almost artistically displayed shapes of the dunes. Beautiful contrast between light and shadow areas, which give almost a 3dimensional feeling of this part of desert.
Well seen
Best regards

  • Great 
  • SelenE Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2271 W: 64 N: 4205] (13964)
  • [2008-10-25 10:11]

Hi James,
patterns on the sand and the light look beautiful. Great colors and a lovely POV. TFS
Best wishes,

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2008-10-25 14:11]

Hi James,
this is totally awesome!!!
The curving shapes and patterns are incredible!
Very good composition.
Excellent colours.
Happy Birthday to you 9 days ago! :-)

Very well done,

Hi James!
Another great landscape picture, this time with a "bird view" for dunes. I like this POV, it allow to see how huge is this area.
Best greetings,

A mind-boggling sight from the air, James.
My belated birthday wishes to you!
The image is superbly composed and deftly shot.
The colours and contrasts on these amazing dunes are beautiful.
TFS and regards.

Hello James
First of all welcome back from your trip and belated Birthday Wishes.
This is a stunning capture and the sort of image that all of us on TN are so lucky that you share with us..Its a scene of incredible interest and of a quality that would put many a Nat Geo photographer to shame....As always your notes are superb and compliment the image perfectly.
All the Best

  • Great 
  • EOSF1 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1393 W: 119 N: 5267] (23955)
  • [2008-10-27 12:05]

Hello James, another perfect shot, you've done a great job on the sharpness and on the exposure. Very well done my friend!


  • Great 
  • loot Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5551 W: 721 N: 4164] (11276)
  • [2008-10-28 6:56]

Hi James

Belated birthday wishes. I hope you had a wonderful day. (Btw, mine was on the 20th)
An incredible aerial shot of these “red desert” dunes showing the pans and the other
interesting colour variations in the desert sand.
I like the contrast in the shadowy areas compared to the sunlit sides.
The details are as sharp as can be, shot from an aircraft (probably bumping and
vibrating) and through the glass (which possibly was full of scratches and marks).

Very well done and TFS.

PS. Thanks for the very informative notes.

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