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Moonlight Ballet | by Marsel van Oosten
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Moonlight Ballet

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Deadvlei in Namibia is without a doubt one of the most surreal places on this planet, and arguably one of the most photogenic. No wonder so many landscape photographers want to visit this amazing location. I lead a photo workshop to Namibia every year, and each time it gets more difficult for me to create truly original images of this popular spot. And that is good, because it forces me to think beyond the obvious and search for angles and lighting conditions that I haven't seen before - and believe me, I've seen them all. :-)

 

As almost all Deadvlei images you see are taken with sunlight, I decided to take a different approach and use the moon. I planned my visit carefully so that I could use the light of the rising moon, about two hours or so after the sun had set. The fact that the ground here is very light really helped to brighten the foreground, often a problem with night photography. Timing is very important because with very little moonlight the landscape gets too dark, shutter speeds too long and the stars become rice-shaped. Too much moon and the sky gets too bright and you won't see any stars - the scene will look like shot in daylight.

 

To create a better visual hierarchy and a clear focal point, I used a small flashlight to light paint the middle tree - in my opinion the prettiest and the most important one of the three. I really like the way the trees are leaning and how the little silhouetted trees in the background are neatly spread out.

 

If you would like to join me on our next Namibia Untamed photo workshop and do some spectacular night photography with a small group of like minded enthusiasts, please have a look on my website for more information, images and tour impression video clips: www.squiver.com

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Taken on December 15, 2011