Aerial View of Sossusvlei

This photo was taken from an open door helicopter flying over the dunes of Sossusvlei, Namibia. I took over a thousand photos and picked about 10 good ones. This appealed to me because of the curves and angles and the play of shadows and light.

Type of Critique Requested

  • Aesthetic: Feedback on the overall visual appeal of the image, including its color, lighting, cropping, and composition.
  • Conceptual: Feedback on the message and story conveyed by the image.
  • Emotional: Feedback on the emotional impact and artistic value of the image.
  • Technical: Feedback on the technical aspects of the image, such as exposure, color, focus and reproduction of colors and details, post-processing, and print quality.

Specific Feedback and Self-Critique

These new questions make me think more about my image, although I’ve analyzed it quite a bit already. What inspired me - is the awe and grandeur of the 500+ft dunes and their amazing abstract nature from the air. Did I convey that in this photo, because I may share more if not. I am not sure if I should crop in more. Do I need to darken, lighten, increase contrast?

Technical Details

Processed in Lightroom and Photoshop with Topaz Denoise and added a bit of depth with an Anthropics effect and a vignette.

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Oh wow, that must have been quite the trip! I definitely think that the grandeur of this amazing landscape does come across. At least it does to me!
At first I was going to say that I would maybe crop a bit from the bottom just because the bottom dune and it’s shadow was so dominant, but after studying the image some more I think that it would be better to actually take a smidge off the top. There’s a small area at the very top of the image where there are no dunes and I feel the image is a bit stronger when that is cropped out.

@Tom_Nevesely Thank you for your feedback Tom! It most definitely was a fabulous trip, and I’m glad that you think I conveyed what I was aiming for. I did another crop and posted above (the first one was already cropped), but in doing so, it makes the top very close to the dune in the upper right - so I may use this new crop depending on other feedback. Thanks.

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Hi Roberta, terrific story and what a fun trip. I like your comp, and the minor crop works nicely too. This is all about the monochromatic color, shapes, shadows, and textures. Awesome and well worth printing and hanging on the wall. Congrats.


A grand view indeed. The light and shadow play are captured beautifully. And while it’s a grand view, there isn’t anything providing scale so we don’t know if these dunes are 50ft high, or 500ft… and I know little about Namibia - other than tree snags against the dunes… :slight_smile: And so it’s awesome to see this view.

As far as a crop - I think I like the original that has just that little extra breathing room. The difficult thing with images where there is a lot of light/shadow, lines and shapes, is that there is usually no “clean” place to make a crop; and often times you create or introduce a bigger isseue.

Your image is captured and processed beautifully. No other nits or suggestions.


@Lon_Overacker Thanks so much for your insightful critique! I do like the first photo which is why I cropped it there, but it was worth trying the second minor crop. I know that there is nothing providing scale, which there probably isnt in many aerial photos, but my intent was to convey an abstract of light, shadow, lines and shapes. Thank you again! I appreciate your compliments!!

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I think this is pretty nice, while I enjoy the composition the colors just feel a bit off. If you look at the shadows they feel very purple. This is probably because you pushed the tint slider too far towards magenta, and maybe added too much red hoping to warm up the highlights. You could also add in a little contrast to the shadows in the dunes of the top third as they look a little blotchy and washed out as well. The shadows in the front are a little like that as well. (This could also become a nice black and white)

Great photo !!! I love the shadows and the Lines in this photograph. Have you tried it in Black and White. Check out Edward Weston… Beautiful Photograph !!! So much depth !!!