Tag Archives: Namibia

Cloudcatcher & Stargazer

Cloudcatcher. Stargazer. Occasional summoner of Weather. Dreamer – struggling mightily with reality.

Clouds are nearby friends in the sky, the stars are faraway beacons of hope. Surreal and otherworldly, ingredients of dreams but real. This may get a mite esoteric and peculiar, bear with me on this mind trip. During the day there is nothing quite like clouds that will catch my eye. At night it is the stars calling me leaving me gazing deep into the universe, back in time and lost in dreams. Cloudcatcher. Stargazer. Dreamer.

Clouds are a key subject in my photos, I could shoot nothing but clouds all day. I am convinced they are alive. Clouds catch my eye and I run around looking for a foreground subject. Occasionally I feel I have magic powers and can summon the clouds and the weather. Certainly, in USA I had so much good luck with the light and the clouds it surely cannot be a coincidence. Example, I really only shot at Grand Canyon for 3 hours but managed to first summon a huge snow storm for dramatic storm shots, then move the storm out of the way just in time for a sunset. I summoned a sand storm in White Sands. Last year I was able to summon rain in the Namibia desert, extremely rare. All in a days work. Here is an example of clouds I summoned in Arches, Utah, a great dramatic snow storm:

Clouds - Arches - blog

The stars always bring me hope. Hope of space travel and life on other planets. Hope for the future of our self destructive race. A pitch black night allows me to leave the Earth and fly away to other galaxies. The Saint Agustin plains and Very Large Array in New Mexico offered the perfect launch platform and a billion stars to capture:

Stars - VLA - blog

Finally, my home city of Copenhagen in Denmark has more bland and less dramatic weather but is occasionally still home to fantastic clouds. I present an oldie from 2006, a sunset in late autumn. I remember this day well, stressed out from my then fulltime IT job I sat fatigued and zombie-like at Lake Peblinge observing a forthcoming sunset seemingly holding few promises. It was bone-rattling cold, and I felt like going home. Slowly this ‘spine’ of clouds formed and lit up like in a dream. The sky was a burning lava magenta for about 20 minutes and I have never again witnessed anything like it here. On this day, Copenhagen was a tropical town and I promise this is what it looked like:

Fiery sunset Lake Peblinge -blog

Cloudcatcher. Stargazer. Dreamer. Reality?

PS. Two awesome cloud videos for you fellow cloudcatchers: Joe Taylor and Edvard Brun.

Storm before the calm at White Sands

New Mexico is home to some rather beautiful wide open spaces. As you drive through this state the horizon is larger than normal, the sky is taller and the clouds are grander. Somewhat like Namibia, although Namibia is the king of all wide open spaces on this planet. And the king of sand dunes, the 10-15 meter tall dunes of White Sands in New Mexico are tiny baby dunes compared to the 3-400 meter tall dunes of Namibia.

White Sands National Monument is so named because it is a huge desert area of…white sand. Fitting name. I had the pleasure of spending 4 very different days here. First two days it was fiercely windy with very strong wind gusts. The sky above White Sands was white with sand sucked up from the desert, the air so thick with sand you could barely see the horizon and the sand so fierce on my skin and camera it made for challenging but fun shooting. It also made for some incredible images from White Sands that you do not normally see. It is hard to convey in a still image how strong the wind is so I have some video as well, we’ll see if I ever get around to editing it. Here’s an attempt at showing the sand sucked up into the air off the dunes. This is the sort of shot where a wide angle works in sand dunes:

White Sands sand storm - blog

At sunset the light was like nothing I have seen in images from White Sands. All the sand in the air reflected the golden setting sun and it was quite a special moment. For sand dunes a good zoom is essential and will get used more than a wide angle, you want to zoom in and capture lines and patterns and this is shot with my 100-400mm Canon L Lens which I am finding works quite good.

White Sands glow at sunset -blog

Finally, I usually go to great lengths to avoid people in my landscapes, but in this case these two bystanders actually stood in a perfect spot:

staring at the sun - blog

The last two days at White Sands were the exact opposite. No wind at all at White Sands, completely calm. The place and the colours are completely different on days like. Made it a lot more pleasant to hike, explore and relax in the sand but for photography the dramatic wind beats the calm.