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Pedestal and Vortex

Pedestal and Vortex
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: 2007-04-03
Categories: Desert
Camera: Canon EOS 1Ds MkII, Canon 24-70 mm f 2,8 L-USM
Exposure: f/22, 1/25 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Alex99's favorite photos [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2007-12-11 8:00
Viewed: 11579
Points: 74
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I decided to upload another shot from my Easter trip to Libya. I have adjusted the levels and had to clone out quite a few dust spots. After this trip I have vowed never to change lenses in the desert again - after sitting round a camp fire and absently pointing my torch upwards - conditions were perfectly calm, but the 'snow storm' of particles was enough to nearly give me a heart attack.

This shot, though probably not to everyones taste, shows clearly some of the processes in the formation of a rock pedestal. During a sandstorm, the pedestal forms a core around which the wind and sand whirl, blasting and eroding the rock.

Wind erodes the Earth's surface by deflation, by the removal of loose, fine-grained particles, by the turbulent eddy action of the wind and by abrasion (the wearing down of surfaces by the grinding action and sand blasting of windborne particles).

Most Šolian deflation zones are composed of desert pavement, a sheet-like surface of rock fragments that remains after wind and water have removed the fine particles. Almost half of Earth's desert surfaces are stony deflation zones. The rock mantle in desert pavements protects the underlying material from deflation.

A dark, shiny stain, called desert varnish or rock varnish, is often found on the surfaces of some desert rocks that have been exposed at the surface for a long period of time. Manganese, iron oxides, hydroxides, and clay minerals form most varnishes and provide the shine.

Deflation basins, called blowouts, are hollows formed by the removal of particles by wind. Blowouts are generally small, but may be up to several kilometers in diameter.

Wind-driven grains abrade landforms. Grinding by particles carried in the wind creates grooves or small depressions. Ventifacts are rocks which have been cut, and sometimes polished, by the abrasive action of wind.

Sculpted landforms, called yardangs, are up to tens of meters high and kilometers long and are forms that have been streamlined by desert winds. The famous sphinx at Giza in Egypt may be a modified yardang.

ralfsworld, uleko, eqshannon, NinaM, Alex99, gracious, mariki, cataclysta, fartash, nglen, Heaven, undoredo, Adanac, alguazul, SelenE, JPlumb, cicindela, ramthakur, haraprasan, angybone, horia, EOSF1, SunToucher has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2007-12-11 8:21]

Hello James,
It must, indeed, be tricky to take photographs in the desert!! I've experienced a bad sand storm once on Tenerife and got very ill from the nasty small particles in the air. You still managed to get a great shot here of the beautiful rock sculptures and the smooth sand. One can see the dust in the distance. A wonderful composition, great sharpness and lovely colours.
Many thanks, Ulla

Hi James
Nice view of this interesting desert place. You have good details and colours in well composed shot.
It is always good to have two camera body with different kind of lens. One for wide shot and one for details with zoom. This is the reason for me to keep my old 5D for wide shots and use my new 1DM3 for birds and animals.

I can see you cleaned it up a bit, but that doesn't change the dramatics of this image. An area where not too many folks of US have been...at least in todays world...last time I heard from this area was many years ago when the Palestinian leader crashed there in a helicopter..and survived! It is quite the geological wonder..I cannot wait to share with my wife, whose expertise is in this field.

  • Great 
  • NinaM Gold Star Critiquer [C: 773 W: 3 N: 1157] (4077)
  • [2007-12-11 8:42]

Wow, James, what an interesting phenomenon and what an interesting and great picture. I like the wide angle view and the colours, they are almost pink. It's hard to imagine the time it took to get into sand. Thank you so much for your nice note and beautiful picture.


Hello James,

Fantastic lanscape. Very nice POV and focus. Wonderful colours. Very nice detail on the sand also. Well done,

Hello James,
Excellent landscape that sharing with us and thank you for your effort which we know it's hard to photograph in a desert!
a good notes to understnding the blowouts and the actual scene!
thanks once again

Hi James,
This is so interesting; something that I have never seen before! I can imagine that the sand in desert could be a real pain for captors... Colors, exposure, POV and notes are just great! Thanks so much for sharing this extraordinary phenomenon.

Hi James
It is fantastic. Another desert shot from Libya. Great place, intresting place. Good sharpness and exposure I like it very much

Hello James
What a wonderful scene you captured,
Great composition,exposure and BG,
Superb shot my friend :o)


Hello James
This is certainly to my taste.
You have demonstrated this phenomenon both photographically and by means of your superbly informative note.
Thanks a lot for this one..I certainly would like to see more work like this.
Best Regards

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2007-12-11 10:06]

Hi james . Just keep this sort of landscape coming i like it very much. It shows nature at its best. very good detail and colours. good use of the light. well done TFS. good notes too.

Hello James,
This is a pleasant sculpture of nature!
A wonderful colour palette, dominated by different shades of brown...
Attractive composition, and I notice the sharp fine details in the landscape!
Pablo -

  • Great 
  • Heaven Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 996 W: 123 N: 2341] (7912)
  • [2007-12-11 10:24]

Hi James!

Beautiful, the best and simpliest adjective for this picture! I love the colors, the shapes and the patterns. One, I hope, I will be able to afford a trip to a desert like this one. Congratulations also to your very interesting and detailed notes.

Kind regards


Hello James,
WoW!! First of all, appreciate that you've posted your precious photos on TN, as this amazing shot.
You show us very unique and various scenes I've never seen before. This is truly amazing shot with extraordinary phenomenon and you must had very tough experience from there.
Wonderful shot from you and well presented with your note!
TFS and best wishes,

  • Great 
  • Juyona Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor [C: 2232 W: 10 N: 2971] (16891)
  • [2007-12-11 11:25]

Hola amigo,
esplÚndido disparo,
color y detalles buen pov...
saludos James

  • Great 
  • jesst Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 368 W: 0 N: 172] (2441)
  • [2007-12-11 11:44]

Wonderful composition, great light, detail and color.

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2007-12-11 12:04]

Helo James,
What a fantastic clear colours and perfect DOF
and BG. I love the composition. Excellent sharpness and details. (The times I was in the desert I always put my camara in an extra plastic bag. And still... There's always dust)

I would imagine that this rock pedestal is completely buried from time to time. It is interesting how the sands have eddied around it forming a depression. My husband got me that same lens for Christmas. You sure do seem to get sharp images with it. I hope I will.

Evelynn : )

  • Great 
  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2007-12-11 18:10]

Hello James,
What an amazing formation and landscape you share with us today. Great colors and sharp focus, thanks for sharing James.

  • Great 
  • Mana Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1772 W: 36 N: 5597] (18598)
  • [2007-12-11 18:58]

Hi James,
Wow.........Fantastic. The rock formation with its shadow looks awesome and you have captured the natural environment so well. I wonder how you have done it and sustained such rigorous conditions all through in one lifetime. The World must be seeming so small to you. Marvellous composition. Kudos.

hello james,
lovely shot of the processes in the formation of a rock pedestal. the shot has lovely colours and good textures, the golden sand looks beautiful, well composed shot, nice lighting,
well done,
tfs & regards

What a lesson on External Geodynamics!

Very interesting text and image. (Now in Lybia, buff... you really travel a lot)

  • Great 
  • SelenE Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2249 W: 65 N: 4205] (13972)
  • [2007-12-11 23:59]

Hi James,
Looks like a scene from a sci-fi movie. Light, colors, composition and landscape are beautiful.

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2007-12-12 0:33]

Hi James.
I do not know what is the best subject or quality of its reproduction. Simply amazing outstanding picture. Bravo, my friend. Superb lights, fantastic nice colours, cris sharpness of all details of the entire image, POVm framing and composition are the best too. My congratulations and see you tm.

Great shot of this natural phenomenon James. Very excellent colour and detail seen here to display the rock with the sand depression, but more importantly, I've learned something new from you again today.

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2007-12-12 4:49]

Hi James,
amazing rich colours in this shot!
I love how the sand all points to the centre column of rock.
Immense detail throughout and superb clarity.
Very good composition as well.
TFS and well done,

Gives the impression we are on a different planet here, maybe Mars, James!
An awe-inspiring capture of the pedestal rock in the desertof Libya. You explain the phenomenon as efficiently as ever through your note.
I like the shadow of the pedestal falling on the sand.
TFS and regards.

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2007-12-12 20:03]

Hello James

Looks like something out of a Lara Croft movie

Just marking the post for now


Hi James,
A beautiful capture. It shows the changes in still life of desert. Very nice colors and composition. Good informative notes too. Thanks a lot for sharing.

Hello James, extraordinary shot,
splendid colors and wonderfull lighting,
I never saw a spectacle like that
Many thanks to shared this wonderfull scene,

Fascinating formation...wonderful angle with shadows working perfectly.
Great lighting. Just splendid!

Hi James,
Another amazing picture from place which is so enigmatic for me that I am seriously starting to think about... visiting it :)
Worderful POV showing all beauty of desert! Amazing shapes of rocks formed by wind, water and process of erosion. Beautiful colours and details, and interesting note = all what we need to see a very good presentation!
TFS and all the best!

  • Great 
  • hester Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1515 W: 18 N: 3165] (11638)
  • [2007-12-13 12:36]

Hi James

I love the softness of the sand against the rock. Lovely landscape. The shadows are interesting as well



  • Great 
  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2007-12-14 1:28]

Hi James

I know i've missed so many of your beautiful photos lately but as you know i've been very busy and TN time had to be sacrificed. I honestly hope i will have time in the days to come to at least look at them and read the notes you have wrote there, because it's indeed a pleasure for me (your notes are some of the best from this entire site), even if i won't find time to comment on them.

However, i will tell you something about this one: it's bl*#dy brilliant! This is one amazing formation!!!
This is also a great example of where a centered composition works best.
I'm also not surprised about your vow to not change the lens again in these conditions :) Sorry to hear about your troubles about that. By the way...how much is a sensor cleaning anyway? I never had mine yet and i'm curious.
Anyway, back to the shot, i really like how the depth of the sand here makes the rock structure seems even taller. A really treat for the viewer.
Now it might be just my impression because of the sand, but it feels like the image is slightly tilted to the left (like 1 degree or so)...what do you think? I might of course be wrong.
Anyway, it's a fantastic shot and a breathtaking scene!
Very well done!

Bravo and TFS

  • Great 
  • EOSF1 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1393 W: 119 N: 5267] (23955)
  • [2007-12-14 10:03]

Hello James, beautiful shot and very informative note. Sharp details, good light and great exposure. Well done !


Hi James,
I think this is actually wonderful. This shows the wonderful shapes wind and sand can create and which is typical for a dessert landscape.
Excellent exposure where the details in the shaded area are perfect and teh sky has good color.
This must have been a very exciting trip.

Hello James,
This is an interesting picture, very good colour and contrast, well taken, like the travelling pictures, well done.

Calibration Check