Image © 2017/Denise Ippolito Photography

On the last day that our group was in Sossusvlei in the southern part of the Namib Desert most of the group were on private helicopter flights. This left three of the tour leaders (since we can’t go up in the helicopters with them) with a morning off. Me, Paul McKenzie and Ben Cranke decided to do a dune/game drive. As we drove around looking mostly for Oryx against the sand dunes I couldn’t help but notice the patterns that were created from the shadows and light. The colors were off the chart!

Image © 2017/Denise Ippolito Photography ~ Composite

We found a an Oryx that was walking near the dunes so we all headed out of the vehicle. I was looking to compose a more scenic shot so I wasn’t concerned with getting too close or carrying a large lens. Armed with big lenses Paul and Ben walked very quickly in the direction of the Oryx. Yet, I couldn’t help but stare at the ever changing dunes. I was more than distracted I mesmerized, I could hardly focus on the Oryx, in fact I started lagging behind, stopping for a quick shot that I “had to have” every few minutes. Soon I was nowhere near them and I couldn’t even see the Oryx at that point. So much for my stalking skills 🙂 I started wondering what was wrong with me. Maybe I’m not a wildlife photographer, maybe I am not as dedicated as they were.

Image © 2017/Denise Ippolito Photography

As I started to question my sense of photography the light began to dance on the dunes. At least that is what it looked like to me. I couldn’t help but take 100’s of images, I walked close, got down low, moved back and all around. I was wearing myself out… by the time I looked I had gotten far from the car. I began to make my way back in the direction of the car only to see different compositions come to life. I was thinking the entire time, no one is going to believe these colors, they are amazing. They didn’t look like that the other day or the day before that. Why now. It was the time of day and the clouds. The clouds were moving and they were soft. It was magic and I was thrilled. I felt like a little kid in candy store not knowing what to grab next! Gone were the self doubts, I was clear that the light and the dunes were my gift that morning.

Image © 2017/Denise Ippolito Photography

Theses are a few of my images from that morning. I did not juice the colors yet, I tweaked the contrast -which does tend to make them pop a bit but believe me, even the pink and purple colors are real. I never did get the Oryx against the dunes like I had intended so I made a composite out of two of my shots that morning.

Image © 2017/Denise Ippolito Photography

Image © 2017/Denise Ippolito Photography

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28 Responses

  1. This must have been wonderful, Denise. When I was there last year the skies were completely clear and the dunes more sharply etched with brighter colors. You’ve captured a very different mood, thanks in part to the buttermilk skies, and your sensitivity to light and color. Love these images!

  2. Janie Greene says:

    Hey Denise,

    What beautiful photographs! Thank you! Love Janie Greene.
    This may be a duplicate, but, it’s true every time I write it about your photographs..jg

  3. Jennifer Walton says:

    I just love it when I receive gifts from the Universe. Awesome images!!!!

  4. Evelyn Young says:

    What is one oryx against the might of the beautiful and majestic sand dunes. Love them all Denise.

  5. Don Schroder says:

    Terrific backstory on your thoughts of doubt but then the realization of being in the moment in order to take these beautiful images. It’s hard when the group splits off and you begin to wonder if I made the right choice. It’s apparent that you did.

  6. Pam Gaynor says:

    Amazing images. I’m glad you trusted yourself and caught the beauty of the moment. Almost spiritual.

  7. Ron May says:

    Great images. Brings back memories. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings. 🙂

  8. Elisabeth La Fontaine says:

    Beautiful images – Denise you have such a creative eye and the gifts you share with your followers are very special. Thank you!

  9. Vicki DeVico says:

    Beautiful, Denise. I’m so glad you found your own way out there. Stepping away from the others was the right thing for you!

  10. Ann says:

    I agree with Evie, Denise. Siezing the moment was the better option.
    Bet it was hard to choose from among your many different compos

  11. mylinda cane says:

    Wow – what a moment. I thought I was looking at some “funky juice.” These are amazing photos!

  12. I love the images, but even more, I love your description of that short-term intense obsession with what you’re seeing in front of you. It’s the most amazing feeling and you’ve managed to attach words to it : )

  13. denise says:

    Thank you all so much for your kind comments and support of my work. It is greatly appreciated. Now back to the Irises 🙂

  14. Vicki Santello says:

    Thanks for sharing your internal doubts and making yourself vulnerable that way Denise. It helps me grow in my own photography to know that, even at your level, these thoughts creep in. Obviously, the results of your morning shoot validate your choice to take an independent path!

    Thank you Vicki, I think we all have self doubt from time to time, it is important to stay focused, no pun intended!

  15. Sharon klass says:

    Gorgeous work Denise, love the shapes of the hills and the juxtaposition of the blue in the sky with the red/orange hills!

    Thank you Sharon!

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