Finding the Perfect Shot in the Desert

Landscape photographers get up early and stay out late. It's all about the light with sunrise and sunset being the ideal times of day to capture images. Thomas Heaton's latest video takes us to the Namib Desert as we watch him search for the perfect shot of the dunes at dawn and dusk.

Heaton spends the video wandering the sands of Sossusvlei, a salt and clay plane located in the souther part of the Namib Desert in Namibia. A sunrise session finds Heaton hunting for compositions around a high red dune. Interestingly enough, he chooses not to use a wide-angle lens as would be common in landscape photography. Rather, he opts for a long lens to create a more abstract, minimalist image. Heaton preaches patience both in finding the right composition and waiting for the right light.

Previsualizing and carefully planning each shot in a tactical manner is key in the desert. You want to take care not to step into the scene and ruining the shot by creating footprints in the pristine sand.

As the day ends, Heaton reaches for his long lens again and creates a stunning black and white picture of a dune shaped by soft side light.

Does anyone have any desert photography tips? I'd love to see your images in the comments. How often do you use a longer lens versus a wide-angle lens in your landscape photography?

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1 Comment
Piotr Debek's picture

Some tips (in polish) and some desert pictures (in pictures ;)): - most wide angle, though few made with tele.