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Mosi-Oa-Tuna - Smoke That Thunders

Mosi-Oa-Tuna  -  Smoke That Thunders
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: 1993-08
Categories: River
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): TN Favourites [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2007-10-27 9:34
Viewed: 7814
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 34
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Another new country - although there are two in the shot - the left (and me) is Zimbabwe, the right is Zambia. I chose this shot rather than a longer shot because I think it gives a better impression of the thundering smoke - the spray and the noise. This is a scanned slide taken with a Pentax Z1 and Agfa 100asa film.

The Victoria Falls or Mosi-oa-Tunya (the Smoke that Thunders) is a waterfall situated in southern Africa between the countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe. The falls are, by some measures, the largest waterfall in the world, as well as being among the most unusual in form, and having arguably the most diverse and easily-seen wildlife of any major waterfall site.

Although Victoria Falls constitute neither the highest nor the widest waterfall in the world, their claim to be the largest is based on a width of 1.7 km (1 mile) and height of 108 m (360 ft), forming the largest sheet of falling water in the world. The falls' maximum flow rate compares well with that of other major waterfalls.

The recent geological history of Victoria Falls can be seen in the form of the gorges below the falls. The basalt plateau over which the Upper Zambezi flows has many large cracks filled with weaker sandstone. In the area of the current falls the largest cracks run roughly east to west (some run nearly north-east to south-west), with smaller north-south cracks connecting them.

Over at least 100,000 years, the falls have been receding upstream through the Batoka Gorges, eroding the sandstone-filled cracks to form the gorges. The river's course in the current vicinity of the falls is north to south, so it opens up the large east-west cracks across its full width, then it cuts back through a short north-south crack to the next east-west one. The river has fallen in different eras into different chasms which now form a series of sharply zig-zagging gorges downstream from the falls.[3]

Ignoring some dry sections, the Second to Fifth and the Songwe Gorges each represents a past site of the falls at a time when they fell into one long straight chasm as they do now. Their sizes indicate that we are not living in the age of the widest ever Mosi-oa-Tunya.

The falls has already started cutting back the next major gorge, at the dip in one side of the 'Leaping Waters' section of the falls. This is not actually a north-south crack, but a large east-north-east line of weakness across the river, and that is where the next full width falls will eventually form.

Further geological history of the course of the Zambezi River is in the article of that name.

I went white water rafting from the base of the falls - the day was great, but the climb back out the gorge at the end of the day (much, much deeper than at this point) just about killed me!

Evelynn, cicindela, Arjun, oscarromulus, anel, angybone, nglen, fartash, PaulH, SunToucher has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi James!
Beuatiful compilation of two... countries! I had no idea that there is such waterfall in Africa - just between 2 countries :)
Very educational note too!
TFS and best regards,

  • Great 
  • Arjun Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 358 W: 7 N: 1237] (7593)
  • [2007-10-27 10:24]

hi james.
wonderful picture with xcellent composition great landscape.

You are a brave soul.
BEAUTIFULLY done. Two for the price of one.
I had posted something similar but NOT as impressive. Here it is: "GREAT WATERS" in Iguacu, Brazil.
Its noise and the dazzling display of rainbows blew my mind.
Was it like that for you too? Am sure it was. There are some aspects of a waterfall that are very difficult to share via imagery. Don't you agree?
Thanks for sharing this one. LOVED your notes. Most interesting.
Mario from Canada.

Hi James,

We are neighbors in the gallery today : ) You definitely captured the feeling of "the smoke that thunders" Looks like tht would have been quite a rafting trip. I suppose you were with a group so had to try to "keep up" on the climb back! I prefer hiking on my own. In a group I announce that I am a photographer so have to make frequent stops for photos!!! : P

Evelynn : )

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2007-10-28 2:28]

hello James,
Absolutely great this view and amazing the play of light and shadow. I like your title, it must really be like thunder to hear these masses of water and very exciting to stay there looking down in this vertiginous deepness. And you went down there, my goodness! But you are still here:-)
Thanks and best regards

I have heard that native name for these falls before, James. It's fairly descriptive of the nature of this amazing place on the earth.
This 13 years old picture is very impressive. The vertical orientation gives a good idea of the size of the falls and of that formidable looking gorge below.
Your note also provides immensely useful information about these falls.
Best regards,

Hi James,
Great note and yes the photo does give a great impression on how powerful these falls are. I can't imagine climbing out of a gorge like that though!! yikes!!! Sounds like an exciting trip though and thanks for sharing!

Breathtaking - literally. I actually caught my breath when I opened your page here.
You got a perfect angle on this. Your lighting is wonderful - mysterious and exotic.
Just beautiful!

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2007-10-28 7:28]

Hi James. Sorry keep missing your postings. What a compostion in the picture. the sound must have been fantastic. You have named this posting so well. very well done and TFS some where i can only dream about. interestin notes to go with it.

Hello James
What a wonderful scene you captured,
Perfect exposure ,composition and POV,
Superb shot,Welldone.


  • Great 
  • PaulH Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1137 W: 26 N: 3879] (13882)
  • [2007-10-28 12:44]

Hi James,
thought this was b & w until i looked more carefully. Huge atmosphere and msases of depth, hope you have some more from here.

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2007-10-28 12:51]

Excellent shot of this amazing place!
+++ Great atmosphere created by the thick mist and dim lighting. Sharp with good details. Perfectly composed.
--- Nothing :)
Well done James,

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2007-10-28 18:31]

Hello James

I have relatives in Masvingo,they are saying things are very dire right now.This is a wonderful image of Victoria falls.The sheer power is evident from this image.The sound must be thunderous.Well composed with the vertical look.Well focused with very good detail.TFS


Hi James.
Amazing, wow. Sure is a fair bit of water moving down and through there. Great image to show this power of nature with great notes.


Hi James,
These are the kind of photos I really like. The mist always seems to create a mood that cannot be found in any other situation.
The vertical composition worked out perfectly, it showed the huge drop of the water into the very small gorge perfectly. A horizontal would not have the impact. I like the fact that the photo shows just a hint of color.

wonderful picture with xcellent composition great landscape.

hi james!
Wonderful shot, u really caught the ambience of the place , i can hear the waters roaring and the moisture in the air, u really captured the essence of the place here, well done!

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