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Photo Information
Copyright: Annick Vanderschelden (vanderschelden) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2553 W: 74 N: 7464] (30441)
Genre: Landscapes
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-12-07
Categories: Desert
Camera: Canon 350D (Digital Rebel XT)
Photo Version: Original Version
Travelogue: Namibia, a photographer's dream
Date Submitted: 2008-12-31 11:41
Viewed: 5119
Points: 30
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
This photo is captured in Deadvlei.

Sossusvlei is a clay pan in the central Namib Desert, lying within the Namib-Naukluft National Park, Namibia. Fed by the Tsauchab River, it is known for the high, red sand dunes which surround it forming a major sand sea. Vegetation, such as the camelthorn tree, is watered by infrequent floods of the Tsauchab River, which slowly soak into the underlying clay.

The Dead Vlei and Hidden Vlei clay pans lie near Sossusvlei

Sossusvlei is a common tourist destination in the southern part of the Namib Desert, Namibia. The word vlei is an Afrikaans word that means "marsh" and Sossusvlei is in a small valley between the dunes which sometimes gets snow! The name of the 'town' (i.e. petrol station) is Sesriem, also the name of a nearby canyon.

Sossusvlei is a mud pan created by a river that flows through the Namib every 5 to 10 years. Even in very wet years it does not reach the Atlantic Ocean but drains away between the dunes of Sossusvlei. Sossus means "place of no return" (note: there are other explanations, this is the one given by local guides).

Dead Vlei
The mud from the river stacks up at Sossusvlei and after some 1000 years the river searches its way through the next row of dunes. This is how the place called Dead Vlei was created, here the river used to drain away many years ago. Because of the lack of water all the trees in this valley have died, so the meaning of "Dead Vlei" becomes clear.

What makes the sight of the Dead Vlei so remarkable is that there is not even moisture enough for normal decomposition to occur. So all the trees here, though dead, have been nearly perfectly preserved for centuries.

Get in
Sossusvlei is the better part of a day's drive from Windhoek. There are some rather difficult mountain passes on some secondary roads, so you'll have to choose your route wisely if you don't bring a high-clearance vehicle (there are several routes from Windhoek). The best route without nasty mountain passes would be from the south-central town of Mariental. On the other hand, the passes provide excellent viewpoints.

The road from the accommodations in Sesriem to Sossusvlei itself is tarred almost all the way, although it might be the worst sealed road in Namibia. On the last 5 km you have to drive through sand, so you will either need an all-wheel-drive, or take one of the local shuttles which run regularly. Several tour companies operate tours from Windhoek and Swakopmund to Sossuvlei, so then you don't have to worry about the driving at all.

Sesriem Canyon
A small canyon just south of the petrol station. It's a nice place to watch the sunset, and you can easily climb down into the canyon and walk along the dry riverbed. The old Dutch name means the place where six thongs are required to get water, ses meaning six, and riem meaning thong.
The Namib Desert All around, dunes ranging from 100m-450m, including some petrified dunes.
Sossusveli and Dead Vlei in two valleys side-by-side in the Namib. One has living trees, and on rare occasions gets snow or rain. The other is completely cut off from all water sources and the trees are just dead stumps.


Taken with 350D + wide angle [email protected] + polarizer...

Well happy 2009:-)

Argus, ferranjlloret, eqshannon, red45, Alex99, eng55, matatur has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
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To siislam: Hello Syedvanderschelden 1 01-01 05:39
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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)
  • [2008-12-31 12:56]

Hello Annick,
An interesting and clear view of this Namibian clay pan. I like the contrast of the bear landscape with the stunning blue sky and the composition including the old dead tree is great, especially in the beautiful lighting.
I fine image to end your 2008 series.
I wish you a happy and healthy 2009!

Hi Annick,
This landscape and its climate would have to be just about 'opposite' (if thats the right word) to what we have here.
Our rainfall is so high that wood begins to rot in just weeks here and bare land will become scrub of forest in just a few years.
(We've had about 5 days a week of rain for over six months now,so even three of four days of sunshine is something special here)
I still think I refer the climate here to the hotter and dryer North Island though.
Happy New Year,

Happy New Year and best wishes for 2009.... TFS

Happy Anthropological 2009 to you too and a good image...in the fairness of TN and to have an honest opinion..I think it is too good...Try to take a poor image next time..It might help:-)
Drink up!

Hello Annick

The colours contrast well here,and the brilliant blue sky is very beautiful.
Well composed in an artistic manner.
The snag looks almost statuesque and makes a wonderful focal point.I like how you arranged it in the frame,and it cuts vertically across the flowing horizontal lines of the BG.
The clouds add a nice accent to the sky.
Nicely done.


  • Great 
  • nagraj Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1618 W: 106 N: 3208] (15166)
  • [2008-12-31 21:55]

Hi annick,
One more beauty from namibian topography, fine image. What a contrast, the clay pan and beautiful blue sky. glad to see this one. tfs.

Great picture - simple but very graphique. The colour of the sand is amazing, and the square format works well with this composition.

Hallo Annick,
Allereerst een geweldig goed en gezond 2009 toegewenst met veel mooie plaatjes.
Prachtige foto is dit. De contrasten in beeld en kleur zijn super. Vooral de dode stam en de lucht zijn opvallend. Ik krijg bijna weer de neiging om ook weer eens een foto van deze omgeving te gaan plaatsen. Heb je ook een vliegtocht gemaakt hier? Ik vond het een geweldige ervaring.
Groetjes maar weer,

  • Great 
  • red45 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2636 W: 74 N: 9091] (31094)
  • [2009-01-01 3:26]

Hi Annick, Happy New Year to you!

This is dream shot. Colours are so saturated, contrast between sky and desert is breathtaking. Excellent composition with dead tree which upper part reminds me vulture a little. Picture with real African soul!

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2009-01-01 7:23]

Hi Annick.
Now I understand why you were absent here some time. I hope it was very interesting and fruitful trip as I can judge on your shots. However, first of all, I wish you and your whole family Happy New Year and million new amazing shots. Superb scene and high quality of the picture. Colours are fantastic as well as the details of all pictured objects. I cannot select more attractive one from them. All the best and TFS.

  • Great 
  • eng55 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1256 W: 42 N: 1976] (5892)
  • [2009-01-01 10:50]

Hi Annick,
Beautiful post.Well seen and composed.Colors,DOF and framing are excellent.
Happy 2009 to you too!
Thanks for posting.

Hi Annick,
Beautiful presentaion of Mamib Clay pan. The dead tree and BG perfectly tells you the story of your notes. A pictorial shot. TFS

Such saturated and contrasty colours produce a great graphical impact Annick, a powerful capture my friend, I'm sure those dead trunks will end as a petrified forest maybe a million years from now. TFS it indeed!

Hi Annick,
Excellent contrast of dead tree and BG and very elaborated composition, good POV and colours. TFS

  • Great 
  • izler Gold Star Critiquer [C: 1387 W: 3 N: 9] (44)
  • [2009-01-03 7:25]

merhaba Annick
masmavi ve bulutlu gökyüzü altında kum tepesi ve ön taraftaki kuru dal kompozisyonu zenginleştirmiş ve orjinal bir çöl fotoğrafı oluşturmuş
bakış açısı ve renkler de oldukça hoş olmuş
eline sağlık

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