"The Earth is Art, the Photographer is only a Witness."

Pastel Desert: A Song for Sossusvlei

The Namib Desert is more a feeling than a place. With your feet on the scorching sand at the mercy of the wind, the awe of the vastness and the ancientry of this section of earth can truly be felt.

The famous Deadvlei, located in the greater area of Sossusvlei, is a tiny dot in this vast desert landscape: a dry salt and clay pan surrounded by towering red dunes, situated in the southern part of the Namib Desert, and forming part of the Namib-Naukluft National Park of Namibia.

Oryx at Sossusvlei.

This is one of Namibia’s best-known and most photographed destinations, home to the world’s largest sand dunes, and containing pre-historic wonders.

Rüppel’s Korhaan at Sossusvlei, Namibia.

While early morning and late afternoon (Golden Hour) are prime times to visit Sossusvlei and Deadvlei, when staying outside of the park, one is restricted to entering when the gate opens, by which time a long drive to the dunes and the pan still lie ahead. This turned out to be a lucky misfortune in my case, because the desert, by this time, had donned a calming pastel morning suit, showing me a side of itself often missed by the ambitious Golden Hour hunters.

In this pastel jacket, its face changed, and a softer side of it was revealed. Suddenly, I could grasp the ability of the Oryx and the Ruppel’s Korhaan to survive here, and the desert’s love for its creatures was revealed. Fleetingly, because a few moments later, as the sun climbed high into the sky, the desert’s face changed again, and all of the softness was lost, leaving only its harsh, inexorable face as I left.