Friday, August 17, 2012

Richtersveld: Richtersberg

Pottering around along the river on the first afternoon didn't reveal any obvious late afternoon / early morning locations, so it was a bit of a 'take what comes' situation. Not surprisingly, no 'wall hanging grade' images came from these times, even if we did have fantastic early morning clouds, giving beautiful colours to the sunrise and the river.  It was also quickly clear that the surrounding mountains would block the first rays of morning light from striking any of the peaks along the river, and we would have to look elsewhere for a 'red glowing mountain' sunrise picture. 

Sunrise at Richtersberg campsite
Richtersveld: Sunrise at Richtersberg Campsite
By mid-morning we set out to explore the environs, finding curious seams of pink quartz in the rocks and spiky green plants, as we kept an eye out for a candidate 'big mountain'. 

Rocky stripes
Richtersveld: Rocky Stripes
Green and Red
Richtersveld: Green and Red
After a bit of a walk south from the camp site, Dave spotted a strong candidate - the tallest peak within site - quite a way up a dry, rocky river bed. We gradually made our way across the boulders of the river bed, stopping regularly to inspect the rocks and curious plants, trying to get handheld macro shots of small puffy flowers, and climbing up the ridges to check the eye-line to our target. Several bends later, we eventually decided that we had hit the prime spot, with great leading lines of the river bed working themselves all the way up the target mountain.  Checking out the sunset and sunrise angles with the GPS compass we decided this would make an interesting afternoon and morning option.

But the mid-day light was very boring, so we headed back to camp for lunch, returning in mid-afternoon (grumbling about the ever increasing weight of my camera pack, as the lens collection grows over the years), when the shadows were starting to create some depth. The wind was back, but the good news was that it was blowing interesting cloud formations across us all the time - at one stage Dave remarked that perhaps we should rather concentrate on photographing the variety of clouds, rather than the less-than co-operative mountains.  The next hour and a half was spent observing the changing light and shadows, and taking occasional snaps as the mood changed.  With the mountains to the side again casting heavy shadows across the view well before sunset we slogged back to camp with only mediocre images in the bag. On return, Dave bemusedly remarked to Jan 'I've just sat around for an hour, watching a mountain'.

Late afternoon in the Richtersberg mountains
Richtersveld: late afternoon at Richtersberg

Without any better options, we decided that the same mountain remained our best candidate for dawn and sunrise, and planned a very early morning start.

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