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Desert Rain



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1 Comment | Report
JyoScapes Premium
 
JyoScapes January 24, 2017
Beautiful mood in the capture. Dark and gloomy. Like a storm is building.

Like the pp.

Behind The Lens

Location
I took this in the Liwa Dunes, in the United Arab Emirates. It's a great place to access the Empty Quarter, which is the biggest sand dune desert in the world, most of which spans into Saudi Arabia. There's hardly anyone out there, and it gets really hot, but the dunes are mostly undisturbed and I've never come away from a Liwa trip disappointed.
Time
This was probably shot around 5 p.m. With dune shots, the optimal lighting is golden hour, as the ripples of sand really pop during then. You get about 30 minutes of opportunity to pick a place and shoot once the light is right.
Lighting
This was a crazy shoot. It's about a 4 hour drive from Dubai, and halfway there, it started raining. I generally prefer clear skies and hard, low light with sand dune photos. Generally speaking, most landscape shots do better with soft, bright light, but sand dunes are a bit different. I almost turned around, but said what the heck, let's see what it looks like. It never rains here. I could count on one hand how many times it rains in a year, but this was one of those days, and it worked out nicely.
Equipment
I used a Nikon D800 with the Nikkor 10.5mm fisheye lens. No tripod, no flash.
Inspiration
Once the sky started getting a bit more contrasty, I spotted this dune and liked its form. I took a few photos, but didn't think much of it until about a year later when I was going through old photos, as I do from time to time.
Editing
Obviously, I did a good bit of post on this. I processed the sky and foreground separately, mostly using Nik Silver Efex. I think I took the combined shot and put it through Color Efex Pro4 just for a darken/lighten center, to give it a bit more vignette. Finally, I think I added an upwards curves layer and only masked in a few areas to increase the highlights on the dunes.
In my camera bag
Well, if I'm taking my whole bag, here's what I bring: Nikon D800, Nikkor 10.5mm fisheye, Nikkor 14mm f/2.8, Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G, Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G. I have a bunch of in-between lenses, but the ones I've already mentioned are the ones that get results. I also have a Lomography 85mm f/2.2 Petzval lens that I've been experimenting with. It's basically a reproduction of an 1840's lens, and it's been a lot of fun to play with.
Feedback
With this shoot, I almost turned my car around because the weather wasn't right. What I did instead was re-calibrate my expectations and see what beauty I could find in a desert with low contrast and rain. I was happy I went. I guess when you're doing landscape shots, it's very good to have a plan in place, but when things fall apart, let it go and see what the light provides.

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