Photographing Namibia’s Deadvlei
Located in the Namib Desert, Deadvlei aka as The Vlei is essentially a dried up lake with ancient trees (estimated to be about 900 years old) coming up from the ground surrounded by desert sand. The clay pan was formed when the Tsauchab River flooded; the abundance of water allowed many camelthorn trees to grow. Soon the climate changed and the sand dunes began encroaching on the pan; blocking the river from reaching it. The extremely dry climate prohibits the decay of the trees.
To get to the Vlei you will need to hike out there, up and over sand dunes, and while it is not a cakewalk it is also not that difficult. It is approximately one kilometer, bring plenty of water and don’t bring a lot of unnecessary gear. The floor of the pan is hard so there is no need to worry about your tripod legs going into the sand.
One thing not to miss out on at Deadvlei is the sun hitting the sand dunes, that glow doesn’t last very long and you will need to get out there early enough to capture it. Also when you first arrive it is best to scout the scene for your shots before the best light. You will see that when the sun rises it will make its way over the dunes and all of the sand will be aglow. Wait for it.
An assortment of lenses including a wide angle and medium telephoto lens. I didn’t use any filters but I did bracket a few images. I brought along a sturdy tripod. Infrared photography could be good there but I can’t see missing the glow of the orange light on the sand.
I wear lightweight shoes that are good for walking on dunes. I bring a lightweight backpack and carry two bottles of water. A brim hat is a must! Sunscreen or lightweight long sleeves and long pants.