The Daily Dozen: Sesriem

Twelve photos from each day of our Africa adventure.

Our full day in Sesriem and the Namib-Naukluft National Park here included a long dune hike, a short canyon hike, and loads of photography.

After the long, hot Big Daddy dune hike, we took a brief break, soaked ourselves and our clothes in the shower, and headed out again to explore Sesriem Canyon. This canyon was carved by the Tsauchab River, the same river that pools in Sossusvlei during exceptionally wet years. It’s on the opposite end of the park from Sossusvlei and Deadvlei, near the park entrance and our campsite.

Sesriem Canyon, Namib-Naukluft National Park

Sesriem canyon. And me.

Compared to canyons in the southwestern US—Bryce, Canyonlands, Zion, Grand Canyon, Lake Powell, etc.—Sesriem is tiny, but it’s a canyon and canyons are cool. Knowing that flowing water created this is fantastic. We walked the narrow passageway through towering rock walls.

Sesriem Canyon, Namib-Naukluft National Park

Narrow canyon passageway.

We explored the nooks and crannies of the worn and weathered rock: caves, ledges, and holes. Birds nest in these walls.

Sesriem Canyon, Namib-Naukluft National Park

The narrow canyon widens. Clickable pic.

The canyon opens up fairly quickly to a wider riverbed with lovely, rounded river rocks and greenery taking advantage of underground water.

Sesriem Canyon, Namib-Naukluft National Park

A hole in the wall. Clickable pic.

Canyons, like dunes, are playgrounds for photographers. The light contrasts can be tough to deal with, but the twists, turns, and rock formations offer endless views, perspectives, and creative opportunities.

My goal for this post is to share some of the results of Mike’s photographic playing in this playground of a park. While Mike does his thing with a camera, I sometimes shoot along beside him to see the differences in what we single out or how we frame an image. It’s a game for me, too, to try to see what Mike is seeing.

Sand dune, Sesriem, Namib-Naukluft National Park

Stripes. Click for a larger image. Use your back button to return here.

This image is a small area isolated from a wide landscape. (Duh, I know.) In seeing the landscape, I knew immediately that Mike was focused on the stripes of light, shadow, and color. Mike likes stripes. I’ve learned that. So do I, but I never noticed them in this way until Mike pointed them out.

Sand dune, Sesriem, Namib-Naukluft National Park

The landscape from which a squiggle was isolated. Click for a larger image. Use your back button to return here.

As I mentioned previously, I like to point out details that I like and have Mike shoot them, infusing his perspective on the detail. Here, I asked Mike to shoot the squiggly line of the dune ridge.

Sand dune, Sesriem, Namib-Naukluft National Park

Squiggle line.

He knew exactly what I meant; in fact, I’m sure he’d already noted it. There were so many options, I wanted to make sure he included that one.

Sand dune, Sesriem, Namib-Naukluft National Park

Early morning light.

Sand dune, Sesriem, Namib-Naukluft National Park

Late afternoon light.

Morning light vs. late afternoon light. The subtleties of light elude me, but I can grasp the difference here. Isn’t it cool?

Now get this: Look at the trees. The trees in the morning shot are clear, in focus, while the trees in the late afternoon light are blurry. In fact, there’s a whole ribbon of blurry in the late afternoon shot due to heat waves. It was blessed hot when the second photo was taken around 5 p.m., which I consider the end of the oppressive period. The earth is radiating heat; it doesn’t want it any more than I do.

Sand dune, Sesriem, Namib-Naukluft National Park

Texture. And gemsbok!

While Mike likes stripes and light and all sorts of other things, I’m big into texture—or what I call texture. I don’t know if this is a photography thing or not; I’m just putting words to what I think and like.

In a big, wide landscape, I often zoom in on bits like the dunes here because I see texture. That’s a little bit weird, what with photos flattening everything into two dimensions, but I still see texture here.

As an embroiderer, I want to recreate images like this with needle and thread, adding that third dimension.

That there are gemsbok in this picture too is a bonus.

Sand dune, Sesriem, Namib-Naukluft National Park

A line or wrinkles? Is there a difference?

I consider this a texture picture, too. Mike, I imagine, sees two-dimensional light and lines while I see three-dimensional wrinkles in the sand. The same, but different.

Sand dune, Sesriem, Namib-Naukluft National Park

Blocks of color. Clickable pic.

Dune 45, another one that visitors climb. Three bold, sharply delineated blocks of beautiful, saturated color.

Categories: Africa, Africa, Travel

8 replies »

  1. Love every one of the photos. The crispness of the colors and the sharp lines of the dude ridges are incredible.

  2. Thanks, Lena and Amy.

    And yes, Amy, we know what you mean. Better still, we assume autocorrect is to blame.

    Now, what do you suppose “dude ridges” would look like?

  3. I’m glad, Anna. There was a time when I would not have noticed those squiggles. Life is better now that I see them.