Behind The Shot: Deadvlei, Namibia

Dallas Dahms

Dallas Dahms

Today we’re in Sossussvlei Namibia, where we venture a little further into the Sossussvlei to the world famous Deadvlei, which is right at the end of the reserve. The Deadvlei is a pan full of dead trees, apparently frozen in time, surrounded by the enormous dunes of the Namib desert.

My guests and I got there while it was still pretty dark (a perk of staying at a lodge inside the reserve) and had intended to make copycat shots of a famous photo of the area made by a Dutch photographer who’s name I cannot recall. Instead of photographing the obvious, I turned around and saw something much more interesting to me: the sun just creeping over the dunes, casting creepy shadows in front of these dead trees, making them look almost like zombies rising up out of the ground. 

Of all the landscape genre photos I have taken while on safari, this remains one of my favourites. Multiple Safarian Fred Azinger was kind enough to print it on canvas and mail it to me a couple of years ago. It’s currently the only print from safaris that I have anywhere in my house. I need to rectify that!

The equipment used here was the Olympus E-M5 and Olympus M.9-18mm f/4-5.6 lens, together with the LEE filters Seven5 system. I think I used the 0.9 ND grad.

Processing was done in Lightroom. There are too many steps in the edit for me to provide a screenshot of the steps I took while processing because I used a LOT of adjustment brush strokes to dodge and burn, so what I am showing instead is a small version of the original pic as it came out of the camera. You can see how heavily I processed it from this comparison.

Please join our Facebook Safari Chats group if you would like to ask questions about this trip, this image or meet up with other keen Safarians from our family.


The original unedited image, straight out of the Olympus E-M5

By | 2018-06-04T05:51:35+00:00 24th October 2017|Photography|

About the Author:

Dallas Dahms is a digital media producer and photographer. He is the founder of Fotozones, an international photography website where like-minded photography enthusiasts gather to share knowledge about photography and create friendships. Dallas is also the founder of