Wednesday 8 April 2015

Drive-by Kalahari Scenes

By now you should know that I love the Kalahari desert.
It's a place that soothes the soul.
It's a place of silence, solitude, serenity and splendour.

Most of my visits to this region have been to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, a National Park straddling South Africa and Botswana. Due to the nature of this place you are confined to exploring its landscapes photographically in two ways...within the confines of the rest camps and campsites, or from your vehicle as you drive around looking for wildlife (among which the magnificent black-maned lions of the Kalahari).

Over the years, I've managed to collect quite a few nice "drive-by" landscape photos in my pursuit to capture the arid beauty of the Kalahari effectively. It takes a different approach to traditional tripod-stomping, as you are really limited in how you can compose your photos. The following collection of images show some of the "drive-by" shots that I am most happy with to date. Most of these were taken handheld or resting on a beanbag on the vehicle door.

As always - the photos are best enjoyed by clicking on them...

1. "Kalahari Ghost Rain"
It gets very hot in the Kalahari - this image depicts "Ghost Rain", rain that evaporates even before hitting the earth. It's that hot! And this was taken right at sunrise!! Location - the dune fields between the Auob and Nossob riverbeds.

Nikon D800  |  31mm  |  f7.1  |  1/60 SS  |  ISO-640

2. "Southern Nossob"
A typical scene in the lower Nossob riverbed. Red sand dunes, camelthorn acacias, and big skies. This "river" runs only once every 100 years or so.

Nikon D800  |  24mm  |  Polariser  |  f8.0  |  1/320 SS  |  ISO-500

3. "Red and Blue"
A typical late morning scene in the northern stretch of the Auob riverbed. Another fossil river, this one experiences a flash flood a bit more regularly than the Nossob, perhaps every 20 years or so!

Nikon D7000  |  92mm  |  f8.0  |  1/200 SS  |  ISO-100

4. "Heart-shaped Cloud"
The space and the skies in the Kalahari are immense...and when the conditions are right you can capture something of that vastness on camera.

Canon 1000D  |  16mm  | Polariser  |  f11  |  1/80 SS  |  ISO-200

5. "Rain of Fire"
Although veld fires are common in the summer months, this was merely a spectacular sunset storm to the west, as seen from the lower Auob riverbed during a rare lush green season.

Nikon 1 V1  |  27mm  |  f3.5  |  1/200 SS  |  ISO-400

6. "Ominous Overheads"
The storms in this part of the world can get quite rough. We were parked at a waterhole on this particular afternoon when a ripper came through - dust, rain, wind and lightning...

Canon 1000D  |  16mm  |  f8.0  |  1/80 SS  |  ISO-400

7. "Road to the Kalahari"
Just a grab shot of the road in the northern Auob riverbed. Doesn't this just make you want to get in your SUV and drive to the Kalahari??

Canon 1000D  |  28mm  |  f18  |  1/160 SS  |  ISO-200

Did you enjoy these? I hope it inspires you to not neglect your landscape photography even when you are not allowed to leave the safety of your vehicle...

Let me know what you think - which is your favourite? I intend on building this collection with every return visit!

Morkel Erasmus