Deadvlei in southern Namibia sits among some of the tallest dunes in the world, and scientists believe that about 900 years ago those dunes began to cut the area off from the Tsauchab River, which nourished its trees. Now the trees, dead for many years, sit surrounded by dunes in a bed of dried clay.
To get to the trees, one must hike over a well-traveled dune ridge and down onto the clay pan.
One can see why this area has become a magnet for photographers.
The first time I saw an image from Deadvlei, I thought the photographer must have had some special magic!
But now I know that anyone can capture a beautiful image here.
Many places today are referred to as the eighth wonder of the world, including Deadvlei with its blackened tree trunks, fallen branches, red dunes, and blue skies.
Cottonwoods change to bright yellow when fall arrives in the Colorado valleys.
The colors of the Western Australia countryside are beautifully contrasting. At The Grotto near Wyndham, yellow spinifex tufts and stark white eucalyptus bark accent the red rock of the canyon. Add a bit of greenery under a blue sky and you have a rich mixture!
In this closer view of an Australian eucalyptus tree you can see dark black branches that have died even though the tree is still healthy. These hardy trees can cut off the supply of water to certain branches in times of drought, allowing the main body of the tree to remain alive. These sacrificed branches can fall off without warning, hence the nickname “Widow Maker”. Knowing about the eucalyptus’s tendency to drop branches might be handy if you are wandering in the outback.
Karijini, the subject of my last two posts, is only a small part of the Pilbara, a dry outback region in Western Australia. The Pilbara has huge expanses of gum trees, spinifex grasses, and other desert plants.
The area pictured here is rich in ire ore. Miners fly in from other parts of Australia and work for an allotted period, then return home temporarily. Everyone we saw at the local airport where we flew out wore a miner’s uniform and was headed for work. We took a wrong turn one night and ended up at a huge mine that was all lit up like a big city. It could have been an interesting photo, but a sign said, “STOP! Do not proceed!” So we turned around. We saw trains and big rigs, much longer than the ones we have in the U.S., filled with iron ore.
This state preserve near San Diego, California, features the critically endangered Torrey pine, the rarest pine in North America. The semi-arid parkland, which overlooks the Pacific Ocean, is subject to fierce winds that sweep down from the desert. But on this quiet, windless day the uniform gray-greens of the pines and chaparral give the landscape a strikingly understated elegance.
Finding your favorite boab tree while driving in the Australian outback is not easy – there are so many! You cannot possibly stop and examine all of them to decide. However, when we passed this one I said, “STOP! Turn the car around. I have found my favorite boab.”