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Dead Vlei 2

Dead Vlei 2
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: 2008-10-18
Categories: Desert
Camera: Canon EOS 1Ds MkII, Canon 24-70 mm f 2,8 L-USM
Exposure: f/22, 1/80 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Travelogue: Namibia
Theme(s): gondox's favorites - landscapes [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-12-03 6:02
Viewed: 5238
Points: 60
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Today I am posting another shot of the famous Dead Vlei (remember the Nike advert with the runner and the ostrich . . . .and ABORIGINES? !!!)


The word "Vlei" comes from Dutch and Afrikaans and is the word used to describe certain classes of bodies of inland waters in southern Africa. The pronunciation is "Flay".

The word occurs by itself as a noun or as a suffix forming the names of bodies of water (e.g. Rondevlei (Round vlei), Zeekoevlei (Hippopotamus vlei) or Brandvlei (Burning vlei)). It appears on occasion as a prefix, e.g. Vleifontein (Vlei Fountain). The word is difficult to translate into a single equivalent word in English, because vlei is used in a variety of senses. One approximation is "pond" but this is perhaps at the same time misleading. The word "pond" tends to conjure up images of a cool, permanent body of water under oak trees somewhere in Cambridgeshire with a pike living in it, whereas most vleis are not much like that. To some extent vlei overlaps with "lake" but once again this equivalence must be taken loosely. No Afrikaner would use the word vlei to describe Lake Superior, Lake Kariba or Loch Ness.

Vleis are never pools in rivers. (The word for that is kuil). They are not bogs or swamps either. Okefenoke would never do as a vlei. One definition of a vlei is "an isolated, open, shallow body of fresh inland water, that is not part of a watercourse and is usually reedy and typically seasonal". However, all these qualifications are to a degree arbitrary. The 'fresh' water may be quite brackish. The edges of the water may be lined with bullrushes or grass rather than reeds. The banks may even be stony or muddy.

A vlei does not cease to be a vlei when it dries up for a while. That said, a low-lying area that rarely holds water and typically has a broad, flat, bare, salty floor is a pan rather than a vlei. (The word is spelled the same in Afrikaans and English but in the former it is pronounced 'pun'). There is no absolute distinction between a vlei and a pan. Examples are Etoshapan and Verneukpan.


salt pans are flat expanses of ground covered with salt and other minerals, usually shining white under the sun. They are found in deserts, and should not be confused with man-made salt evaporation ponds.

A salt pan is formed where water pools. A salt pan would be a lake or a pond if it were located in a climate where the rate of water evaporation were not faster than the rate of water precipitation, i.e., if it were not in a desert. If the water is unable to drain into the ground, it remains on the surface until it evaporates, leaving behind whatever minerals were dissolved. Over thousands of years, the minerals (usually salts) accumulate on the surface.[citation needed]

Salt pans can be dangerous. The crust of salt can conceal a quagmire of mud that can engulf a truck.

The Etosha Pan in the Etosha National Park in Namibia is another prominent example of a salt pan.

Devil's Golf Course in the Death Valley is the largest salt pan in United States of America.

Argus, BobH, ellis49, eqshannon, Alex99, jaycee, uleko, siggi, Heaven, maurydv, mohaiminawang, horia, Dis. Ac., SelenE, boreocypriensis, CeltickRanger, jazdzurka, soccer has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2008-12-03 6:12]

Hello James,
A fine capture of death and desolation in this dried-up Vlei. The composition with the two dead trees and the lighting are excellent.
The conditions for those two trees to grow there in the first place must have been different: less salt and more water perhaps and one wonders how old they are.
TFS this very interesting image and good note,


Beautiful desert shot- stark and crisp and dry. Makes me appreciate my own very wet recent posts even more. I love seeing photos of places like this and I love visiting them, but definitely prefer to live someplace with a bit more moisture.

What's to distinguish a "salt pan" from a terminal dry lake, such as Owens Lake in California, Alvord Lake in Oregon, or Sevier Lake in Utah? And what about a large remnant of a terminal lake such as Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah? As I'm sure you know, the Great Basin part of the US west is loaded with such features. It seems the "definition" of a salt pan might involve some semantic hairsplitting.



Hi James,

This is a perfect shot of this scene. It is so stark and clean. The narrow aperture and great lens gave you sharp and deep depth of field.

Heard a lecture yesterday re: the plight of children in Africa... oh my gosh!!! Namibia was among the very few African countries with pretty good children's rights policies. I'm glad your tourist money went there! I couldn't stand to personally witness the horrors elsewhere.

Evelynn : )

Hi James!

What a neat place, I'd say it looks even "modern" if we could say that to natural things.
Somehow it has also a Pink Floyd feel to me :)
I love it, it really is something special among landscape shots. TFS!

Best regards,

Hello James,
a beautiful shot, lovely colours, crisp and clean.
Very fine sharpness and details and I like the DOF and depth.
It's well exposed with very good composition.
Well done.

  • Great 
  • zulfu Gold Star Critiquer [C: 685 W: 0 N: 2] (43)
  • [2008-12-03 8:25]

Hello James, great scene shot of Dead Vlei.
TFS and G's,

Nothing like a couple of 900 year old trees for a pick me up! wow..and surrounded by high sand dunes...Namibia is not on my places of ones I wish to visit..so your fine images shall have to suffice!

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2008-12-03 9:16]

Hi James.
Fantastic picture executed at your firm style. Amazing subject and unbelievable quality of the image. I am impressed with all components of true photo art. My congratulations and best wishes. Bravo.

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2008-12-03 9:27]

Hi James,

Another of your amazing scenes from your travels letting us see something many of us will never witness on our own. Stark and beautiful. A magnificent composition with the patterened ground, the two beautifully shaped dead trees, the lovely shadings of the mountains and the spectacular blue sky. Thank you for your beautiful shot and for your most informative notes.


  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2008-12-03 9:44]

Hello James,
A very beautiful composition from an arid part of the world with beautiful sand dunes and a crusty salt pan. I'm surprised it isn't whiter but I can imagine it giving way if you step on it. The dead trees are a beautiful addition to the scene. Great details and wonderful colours.
Many thanks and regards, Ulla

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2008-12-03 10:10]

Hello James,
What a beutifull image, lovely sky, contrast and vivid colours,sharpness is perfect thank you for sharing,You did a great photo.
Best regards Siggi

HI James,
that's like being on another planet, wow - what a place! I love the abstract trees and the warm colours, very good shot, thanks
Sabine - wishnugaruda

  • Great 
  • Heaven Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 996 W: 123 N: 2341] (7912)
  • [2008-12-03 10:29]

Hi James!

It's a well known spot - but so well taken and always beautiful to see again. The Matterhorn is photographed many thousands times each year, and it's always a pleasure to see it. The patterns, shapes and colours here are simply superb, and your notes very interesting.

Kind regards


Ciao James,
meravigliosa immagine di questo desolato paesaggio, la bellezza estetica della composizione ci fa per un momento dimenticare la grande e profonda disperazione che si nasconde in questa terra "riarsa"; splendido lavoro fotografico sotto ogni aspetto.

Hi James,

Fine dry form of nature elements in nice arrangement...bold and contrast explain the wild nature. excellent low POV.Hope i 'll be there someday.TFS.


  • Great 
  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2008-12-03 11:08]

Hi James

Very beautiful and very touching shot, as well!
I can only hope to get in such a place one day and take such shots, as i find them very moody.
This type of place also allows for a very wide interpretation composition-wise and i really like the way you saw things here - very good balance between the elements.
The texture of the land in the FG is amazing, the look of the trees is great and i also like their positioning in the frame, the color of the sand in the back is vibrant and beautiful and finally the sky is spot-on exposed and complements the hot tones in the frame well.
Lovely work, my friend!

Bravo and TFS

  • Great 
  • Metin Silver Star Critiquer [C: 25 W: 0 N: 16] (176)
  • [2008-12-03 11:13]

Hi James
beautiful composition ..well done

Hi James,

nice landscape picture with an very good pov.
Beautiful colours, interesting notes to.


  • Great 
  • SelenE Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2249 W: 65 N: 4205] (13972)
  • [2008-12-03 12:20]

Hi James,
Composition, scenery, color tones, light, exposure control, POV and DOF look very good. TFS
Best wishes,

Hi James,
This view is really amazing it looks like something very unreal, a scene that can exist only Star Treck. Very beautiful capture with excellent colours and lighting.

Ciao James, fantastic view from desert, I like a lot dead trees, great POV, wonderful colors and splendid light, very well done, ciao Silvio

Hi My Brother James,
Great capture! Contrast and colors are very nice. Wonderful texture and designs created by nature. I think this perfect POV and capturing indicate us that there is no better artist than nature!
All the best!


hello James

excellent landscape shot of desert, fine POV and DOF,
i love tour composition, my eyes are without disturbation
at the ground, at the background and the 2 dead trees, TFS


Hello James

This is art!
A wonderful composition with excellent use of light and colour.
The simple look is wonderful.
Excellent sharpness and detail.
Great job.


  • Great 
  • Mana Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1772 W: 36 N: 5597] (18598)
  • [2008-12-03 21:55]

Hi james,
Another outstanding shot of this fantastic place and you show it with lovely colours and clarity. Beautiful natural lighting and you low POV give it a dynamic look. Great place to be at. Excellent DOF and composition.

amazing clean landscape, TFS Ori

Hi James,
Fantastic landscape of Dead Vlei
TFS Ferran

Hello James

It is really informative post. Your note is really good and the picture just wonderful. Excellent composition, sharpness and colours!!

Thanks for showing

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2008-12-04 13:59]

Very striking image.
I love the cracked ground you get out there in those sun-baked coutries.
Very sharp with excellent clarity.
Great composition.
Excellent strong contrast.

Very well done,


An excellent landscape shot the DOF allows for great details throughout the frame. I like the colours that are displayed with the contrasting skyline showing. Your image is sharp and clarity is awesome.

Excellent shot. This photograph has a strong sense of loneliness in a deserted barren land. I love the position of the tree in the middle. I feel it would have looked even more imposing in the absence of the other tree at the right. Anyways, good colours and composition. Thanks for sharing.

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