The Namib desert is the oldest desert in the world with the largest sand dunes, more than 400 meters tall. Sand dunes as tall as the Empire State Building, Uluru or the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur. Taller than the Eiffel tower. The Namib desert runs for more than 2000 kilometres up the coast. 2,000 kilometres of sand. These numbers boggles the mind. The tall sand dunes dwarfs you when up close and personal but to truly understand the size of the desert you have to take to the air. From the air the sheer size and grandness is revealed and your brain struggles to take in this sea of sand, a country of sand really!

I have done quite a bit of shooting from planes and helicopters and is great fun but very hard to master. It is hard getting any worthwhile compositions from the air. Especially in a boiling hot plane as the air coming off the warm sand dunes is scorching. Adding to the challenge is the fact that looking through a viewfinder for extended periods of time while bumping along in a hot Cessna is the easiest way to induce motion sickness that I know off. All well worth it though as I doubt many sights in the world can compare to the mighty Namib desert from above!

I have 140 shots from this 2.5 hour flight. From a plane you have to machine gun your camera a bit as there are bound to be some out of focus or motion blurred shots. I am kicking myself for not shooting any video but this was before I really discovered the fun of shooting video on the 5D Mk II. Also I was plenty busy shooting stills and feeling slightly queasy! These are 3 of my favourite images from the flight, more to come.

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Sossusvlei from above
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

This is the area of of the classic Sossusvlei and Deadvlei pans. Top third in the middle you can just make out the end of the 60km road that runs from the gate entrance into the National Park. This is the only road into the park.

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Dune Snake
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

From the air it works well to zoom in and pick out shapes and patterns. Patterns is something I am attempting to do more of. I have much to learn though as my eyes are attracted to grandscapes, not the details. With no time to switch lenses I should have brought my old 5D on board the plane as well with 70-200mm zoom attached so I could switch back and forth as I was using 5D MkII with 17-40mm zoom . It was the one day where I missed my 24-105mm L lens.

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Sea of Sand
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

One of my favourite Namib from above photos. Gorgeous ethereal sand dunes stretching into infinity in what really is a large sea of sand, nothing here but glorious sand! The afternoon light brings out the orange colour and creates great definition in the dunes with side lighting picking up every shape and pattern.

I am happy with these images, I do feel I got something worthwhile from the air, if nothing else I got the magical experience of seeing the mighty Namib desert from above. So beautiful, so surreal, so otherworldly that you hardly blink for the duration of the flight!


18 thoughts on “Namib desert – Sea of Sand

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  1. nikkito 12 years ago

    hey, very nice images of a very nice subject.
    super pics!

  2. Andrew Brown 12 years ago

    It the dune snake for me Flemming. Magnificent abstract. Top marks

    1. Flemming Bo Jensen 12 years ago

      Cheers Andrew, especially glad you like that one as I am trying to get better at patterns and abstracts.

  3. Charlene 12 years ago

    Spot on about the country of sand. Images like that make me think about how incredible it really is that humans can create a sprawling metropolis out of such arid, wild country (and gradually destroy it if unchecked as well).

    But it's the Dune Snake for me as well. Awesome stuff!

    1. Flemming Bo Jensen 12 years ago

      Thanks Charlene, glad you like the dune snake.

      It is not incredible to me that humans can create a metropolis anywhere with no regard for nature…it is very sad for me. Dubai is a terrible example. When people talk about terraforming the Sahara I get very sad. Haven't we destroyed enough?

  4. thomasparkes 12 years ago

    Truly awesome and arid landscape, the dune snake rocks, great composition.

    Good luck for life on the road!

    1. Flemming Bo Jensen 12 years ago

      Thanks heaps Thomas, it appears the dune snake has some fans 😀 And thanks as well for the good luck, will need a bit of that too I reckon!

  5. Rod Thomas 12 years ago

    U dont need lick for life on the road mate… your a superstar remember ! ! !

  6. Flemming Bo Jensen 12 years ago

    Is "lick" supposed to be "luck" or is it a new Rod expression I don't know? But thanks for reminding me, international superstar, luck is not a factor!

  7. Rod Thomas 12 years ago


    " lick " was meant to be luck mate….
    you will be the first to be notified of any new expressions mate, trust me

  8. Christian 12 years ago

    oh and like the new profile pic mate!! hehe

  9. mattlauder 12 years ago

    Beautiful shots Flemming. The middle one is brilliant.

    1. Flemming Bo Jensen 12 years ago

      Thanks very much Matt ! Glad you like it. Think I need to explore more abstracts from the air seeing as everyone loves the 'dune snake'.