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7 Ideas & Strategies for AMAZING Desert Pictures


The desert is without doubt one of the favorite environments of panorama photographers, however how do you {photograph} a desert?

If you happen to’re trying to enterprise into the thrilling area of desert images, you’ll want to arrange your self and your gear so that you simply come again safely and with a set of beautiful photographs.

On this article, you’ll discover some tips on what to put on, what to pack, which gear you’ll want, and extra.

You’ll additionally discover some picture concepts to take advantage of out of your journey, a couple of desert images quotes and a handful of instance photographs of the desert panorama to get you impressed.

7 Desert Pictures Ideas for Wonderful Photographs

1. Convey the precise gear (and one thing to guard it)

Camera gear of landscape master Peter Eastway

Digital camera gear of panorama images grasp Peter Eastway.

The desert is often not an in depth or straightforward factor to go to. So, when you’re there, you’ll wish to take advantage of out of your photoshoot.

You must carry probably the most appropriate gear to do that – and you have to ensure you’re defending it correctly.

Any DSLR or mirrorless digital camera is nice for taking pictures desert panorama images. Nonetheless, a full-frame digital camera permits you to have extra element in the event you plan to have your photographs printed on a big scale or featured in {a magazine} or guide.

When you have a second digital camera, it’s all the time a good suggestion to carry it with you – it may be for backup or to have a second perspective, focal size, and so on.

The perfect focal size for desert images is dependent upon the kind of photographs you wish to seize.

A large-angle lens permits you to seize sweeping landscapes or attention-grabbing particulars near you. Then again, a telephoto lens permits you to {photograph} particulars which are distant – which is nice for capturing out-of-reach areas.

Do not forget that altering the lens whilst you’re out within the desert exposes the sensor to sand, which might trigger extreme injury to your digital camera.

That mentioned, there are some alternate options that will let you nonetheless have quite a lot of focal lengths out there.

For instance, when you have two cameras and you’ll carry every one with a distinct focal size – then, you’re good to go.

Or, in the event you can change lenses in a closed atmosphere – like in the event you’re tenting and might go into the tent, or you might have your automotive shut by – then you definitely shouldn’t have any issues.

Lastly, you should use a zoom lens as an alternative of prime lenses to keep away from having to vary them out within the area. Nonetheless, this can be a bit dangerous because the sand can get within the case once you zoom out and in.

There’s a number of debate on whether or not or not a UV filter is as helpful for digital cameras because it was for movie cameras.

Wherever you stand on this difficulty, within the case of desert images it’s nonetheless really useful to make use of one as a result of it could actually defend the entrance of the lens from getting scratched with the sand.

So far as technical wants, it’s a good suggestion to carry a polarizing filter for sturdy gentle reflections, a impartial density filter if you wish to do some lengthy publicity pictures through the day, and a graduated impartial density filter for extremely contrasted scenes.

A gradual tripod is essential to getting sharp photographs in the event you’re utilizing sluggish shutter speeds. That is typically the case in the event you’re photographing through the first and final hours of the day – which is all the time advisable for panorama images, and naturally, for evening images.

Nonetheless, even in the event you plan to {photograph} in broad daylight, sturdy winds could cause digital camera shake – so it’s all the time finest to make use of a tripod.

Professional tip: Including some tripod ‘footwear’ to your arsenal will definitely turn out to be useful to keep away from the tripod sinking within the sand. A lot of the finest DSLR tripods characteristic replaceable toes.

Every time there’s a threat of digital camera shake, it’s all the time higher to make use of a distant set off. This manner, you remove the chance of shifting the digital camera whilst you press the shutter.

  • Spare batteries and reminiscence playing cards

The identical recommendation applies right here as for the lenses – it’s by no means a good suggestion to vary your battery or reminiscence playing cards out within the desert. So, it’s finest to have a full battery and an empty reminiscence card contained in the digital camera(s) earlier than you allow for the journey.

Although altering batteries and playing cards is inadvisable throughout desert images, it’s nonetheless good to be ready with spares in case of any malfunction.

If this occurs and you have to change something, ensure you do it as quick as doable and canopy the gear from the wind to decrease the chance of getting sand contained in the digital camera.

If you happen to’re taking pictures a desert panorama throughout a windy day or hostile climate circumstances, attempting to wash your gear on the spot will probably be a misplaced battle.

Nonetheless, on a median day within the desert, you’ll must take care of mud and sand, which you’ll take care of utilizing compressed air, for instance.

It’s additionally a good suggestion to wash the whole lot earlier than you set it again within the bag. Right here’s tips on how to clear your lens.

  • Climate sealed digital camera bag

I do know climate sealed digital camera luggage are dearer than common luggage, however fixing or changing a bit of kit will value you much more. Sand will be your digital camera’s worst enemy – so that you higher hold it as protected as doable.

You even have to think about excessive temperatures, rain, and so on. That’s why investing in a good digital camera bag will be one of many wisest selections you make for a photographic journey to the desert.

Additionally, think about the consolation issue since you might need to do some trekking to succeed in the very best desert images places.

2. What else to pack for desert images?

Canyons in death valley national park

Credit score: Abby Kihano

In desert images, you have to pack greater than your photographic gear – particularly in the event you’re going to a location that’s removed from service stations.

Sure, bottles in plural – water is extra vital than meals. You should utilize a hydration calculator to get an estimate of how a lot water you’re going to wish.

You must also think about using a Camelbak or related water bladder which will be carried in your digital camera backpack to make sure you keep hydrated.

If you happen to arrive earlier than dawn or keep after sundown, a flashlight or a headlight will turn out to be useful to arrange or pack, regulate the tripod and equipment, and even stroll round safely.

That is very true if there isn’t a full moon. You can too use this for some gentle portray experiments.

Search for a headlight with a purple gentle setting, which will be particularly helpful once you don’t wish to wreck your evening imaginative and prescient when photographing at evening.

That is clearly to guard your eyes from shiny daylight – nonetheless, it’s additionally helpful to defend your eyes from the sand. If you recognize you’ll be dealing with desert storms, ensure you carry goggles.

Don’t depend on your telephone for instructions – many instances, you’ll end up and not using a sign once you go into the desert.

If you happen to plan to {photograph} through the daytime, then you definitely’d higher carry some sunscreen with you. Keep in mind to reapply in the event you’re staying lengthy.

3. Perceive the digital camera settings for the very best outcomes

Car driving through sand dunes

Credit score: Carlos Herrero

Figuring out the very best digital camera settings for desert images is a difficult factor – it is dependent upon the kind of desert pictures you wish to take and the circumstances you’re dealing with.

It’s not the identical if you wish to {photograph} the moon over a desert panorama as it’s to seize sand dunes with sturdy shadows in the course of the day.

There are some things that you could think about when selecting your settings. As you in all probability know, publicity is decided by three components: aperture, shutter velocity and ISO. The vital factor is that you simply study which one to prioritize.

If there’s a shifting topic otherwise you wish to seize movement, you have to select the shutter velocity first – then regulate the opposite two for proper publicity.

Then again, when you have a static scene and are utilizing a tripod, you don’t have to fret in regards to the shutter velocity.

Contemplate the aperture to regulate the depth of area and use the bottom ISO doable to protect the picture high quality and keep away from noise in your photographs.

To have a greater gentle studying, don’t neglect to decide on the finest metering mode for the scenario. For instance, if you wish to {photograph} a silhouette or there’s backlighting, it’s finest to make use of spot metering mode.

As soon as you are taking the picture, don’t neglect to verify the histogram to ensure the whole lot is correctly uncovered. Some bracketing pictures are all the time a good suggestion – particularly in case your desert panorama scene could be very contrasted.

4. Put money into correct clothes

Sand tracks in the sand dunes

Desert Flooring | Credit score: Walid Ahmad

What do you put on to a desert picture shoot? That’s an vital query as a result of deserts have very excessive temperatures, and also you’re going to be on the market for lengthy intervals of time.

Layering is a giant a part of dressing for the desert. You’ll be able to go from excessive warmth (a median of 38° C/100° F) through the day to a -4° C (25° F) at evening. In fact, this varies in response to the time of the 12 months and which a part of the world you’re in.

For the warmth, put on pure fibers corresponding to cotton that don’t adhere to the physique – this manner, the air can flow into.

Use lengthy sleeves and pants to keep away from sunburn and getting damage with branches or thorns. Sun shades are essential to guard your eyes because the sand will be very reflective.

For the chilly, you need to put on clothes that retains you heat for so long as doable.

In each conditions, it’s vital to put on an excellent pair of trekking or mountain climbing footwear. This can defend you from hurting your toes and your backbone since desert images typically entails strolling lengthy distances with a heavy digital camera bag in your again.

5. Ensure you do some climate planning

Sand patterns

Desert dunes | Credit score: Sharad Bhat

In the case of desert images, every time of the 12 months presents totally different challenges and alternatives.

Spring is without doubt one of the most forgiving seasons as a result of the temperatures are much less excessive. Additionally, if you wish to {photograph} some desert wildflowers, that is the very best time to do it.

If you happen to’re a storm hunter, then you definitely’ll in all probability wish to plan a desert shoot through the summer season. It may be fairly troublesome to take care of the warmth – nonetheless, it’s monsoon season, so that you’re prone to get some breathtaking landscapes.

Autumn is nice to {photograph} the evening sky as a result of the temperature at evening begins to drop, but it surely’s nonetheless not too chilly.

Winter might be the final interval of the 12 months you’d consider going out to {photograph} the desert. In truth, it may be a harsh atmosphere – but it surely provides the likelihood to do some beautiful photographs with the ice or snow, the rainfalls, and so on.

Clearly, the climate circumstances aren’t the identical all through all the season. When you’ve picked a time of the 12 months, you need to monitor the climate for the precise dates of your journey.

Panorama photographers very a lot admire Accuweather as a result of it tells you when it’s going to rain, what the cloud protection will probably be, and many different useful particulars (all with an excellent accuracy fee).

PhotoPills is one other helpful app to plan your journey with some forecast info.

You must also verify for the dawn and sundown instances if you wish to {photograph} through the blue hour and golden hour. That means, you may plan the very best time to reach and arrange earlier than these valuable moments begin.

The Photographer Ephemeris is one other great tool for this. Sadly, it’s not out there for Android – however you should use the browser model.

6. Scout your location earlier than the journey

Rock caves in the desert

Credit score: Noureddine Belfethi

If you happen to’re excited about photographing the desert, you already know that it isn’t only a huge sandbox. There are sand dunes, slot canyons, and so on.

To seek out the very best spot with attention-grabbing components, you need to scout your desert images location upfront. It’s not all the time doable to do that bodily; luckily, there are methods to do it nearly.

Google Maps is the primary software that involves thoughts after we’re looking for a location in on a regular basis life. It’s additionally an effective way to start out as a panorama photographer.

First, you may see tips on how to get to your required location and the way far are you able to get by automotive.

Then, you may transfer on to street-view so to see what the place appears like – if it’s open desert, if there are crops, and so on.

This step is less complicated in the event you’re scouting common places such because the Demise Valley Nationwide Park, the Bryce Canyon Nationwide Park or anyplace the place different photographers have already shared their photographs to enrich Google’s info.

There’s additionally Google Earth which lets you see places at floor stage or from the next angle of view.

With Google Earth, you may measure distances – which is able to enable you to resolve in the event you’ll want a wide-angle lens, a telephoto lens, or each.

When you’ve determined the place you’re going and tips on how to get there, you have to analysis another vital info.

Do you want a allow to go to and/or {photograph} this location? This may occasionally change relying on the place you reside.

For instance, a couple of fourth of all of the nationwide parks require an entry payment within the US. Even when the doorway to the park is free, generally you have to apply and pay for a allow in the event you intend to {photograph} or movie (although often, this is applicable provided that you have to carry fashions, props, flashes, and so on).

Are you able to camp on the similar location? If you happen to intend to shoot the evening sky, you’ll must spend the evening, so it’s a must to make certain that is doable.

In any other case, analysis the opening instances. Do not forget that comfortable gentle occurs early within the morning and late within the night.

If you happen to’re going for extremely contrasted scenes, you want onerous gentle – but it surely’s higher when it’s coming from an angle, so it’s nonetheless a good suggestion to keep away from the center a part of the day.

Is there wildlife? Animals are a part of the pure atmosphere. Whether or not you wish to incorporate animals into your desert landscapes or keep away from harmful wildlife, it’s a good suggestion to learn earlier than your journey.

Are there every other customs or rules that you simply want to concentrate on? From restricted areas to preserving the atmosphere, a photoshoot within the desert requires information past photographic abilities. Ensure you go as ready as doable.

7. Don’t neglect about post-processing

Camels in the desert

Credit score: Henrik Lebotos

Submit-processing can definitely take your desert images efforts to the following stage.

If you happen to had been out taking pictures in excessive winds blowing sand, you would find yourself with some flat photographs. Use Dehaze in Lightroom so as to add some distinction and saturation.

Additionally, to extend the distinction (whether or not you had been in a sand storm or not), you may regulate the highlights and shadows. This can create depth within the picture and can enable you to to emphasize pure patterns corresponding to cracked mud.

If you happen to didn’t have a graduated impartial density filter with you and there was an excessive amount of distinction within the publicity of the sky towards the foreground, you can also make some selective changes.

You should utilize the Graduated Adjustment filter in Lightroom or an Adjustment layer with a gradient utilized as a layer masks in Photoshop.

The Readability and Texture sliders enable you to carry out the small print with out oversaturating them, so these will be useful when you might have intricate patterns within the picture.

If you happen to’ve solely acquired restricted time to shoot and there’s no texture or curiosity within the sky, bear in mind that you could all the time use software program corresponding to Luminar AI (reviewed right here) so as to add a practical sky in post-production too.

10 Desert Pictures Concepts

Photo of cactus silhouettes against the night sky

Credit score: Pixabay

Ever questioned what to {photograph} when within the desert? Having a mannequin could be nice, however that’s not all the time doable, so listed below are 10 concepts:

  • Mirages – A mirage is an optical phantasm typically present in desert landscapes attributable to gentle diffraction. If you happen to can see it, so can your digital camera.
  • Patterns – Desert images typically entails patterns as a result of they are often within the sand, the rocks, the crops, and so on. You’ll have loads of texture to search out attention-grabbing patterns. You can too create your individual patterns by drawing within the sand, for instance.
  • Wildlife – Other than the favored camels within the Sahara, many animals dwell within the desert. Relying on the realm, you may discover some actually astonishing fashions on your desert images. For instance, goats in Australia’s Simpson Desert, grey foxes within the Atacama Desert in Chile, meerkats within the South African Kalahari or a gemsbok in Namibia’s Namib Desert.
  • Black and white landscapes – Desert landscapes are topics that render rather well in greyscale. You’ll be able to take the images in coloration and alter them to black and white in post-processing. This manner, you’ll have each selections to select from. Any picture modifying program permits you to do that.
  • The Milky Approach – The desert is a superb place to {photograph} the milky means – or shoot astrophotography on the whole as a result of there’s much less gentle air pollution than you usually discover within the metropolis. Use a wide-angle lens to seize a giant piece of the sky and incorporate a part of the panorama to make a extra attention-grabbing composition. Begin with a 30-second publicity and make changes from there. Take into account that you may shoot a number of photographs and mix them collectively in Photoshop later for hanging outcomes.
  • Main strains – Composition guidelines are as vital in desert images as they’re in every other photographic style. Main strains are significantly helpful as a result of they may also help you to ‘pull in’ the viewer and add depth to the picture in such an unlimited area.
  • Silhouettes – For a enjoyable and inventive picture, you may incorporate silhouettes into your desert images. This may be of a mannequin, a cactus, or every other object you may consider. The trick is to shoot towards the solar, then decide the right publicity for the background – it will underexpose the topic leaving solely the black form.
  • The moon – To {photograph} the moon, you’ll want a telephoto lens – until you wish to embrace the panorama within the foreground, then you definitely’ll want a shorter focal size. Use the spot metering mode of your digital camera to find out the precise publicity. Attempt to hold a low ISO and a small aperture for sharper photographs. This can end in longer shutter speeds, however you shouldn’t have any issues utilizing a tripod and a set off.
  • Footprints – You should utilize your individual footprints or search for attention-grabbing photographs with those left by different folks. Utilizing footprints, you may {photograph} patterns, main strains, and so on.
  • Crops and flowers – Flower images just isn’t the very first thing that involves thoughts once you’re doing a desert photoshoot, however the desert is an ecosystem that hosts all kinds of crops and flowers. Relying on the time of 12 months, you’ll have totally different picture alternatives. In spring, you will discover a colourful panorama with flowers in bloom. You could find blooming flowers just like the coral and purple penstemon within the Arizona desert even in winter.

12 Desert Pictures Quotes


Credit score: Kyle Cottrell

In search of one thing to caption your newest desert images picture for Instagram? Listed below are some common quotes you would use:

  • “What makes the desert lovely is that it hides, someplace, a properly.” – Antoine de Saint Exupéry in The Little Prince.
  • “It’s a little bit lonely within the desert… It’s lonely once you’re amongst folks, too,” – Antoine de Saint Exupéry in The Little Prince.
  • “You’ll be able to’t battle the desert. You need to trip with it.” – Louise L’Amour.
  • “I really like the desert and its incomparable sense of area.” – Robyn Davidson.
  • “The desert tells a distinct story each time one ventures on it.” – Robert Edison Fulton Jr.
  • “In your journey to your dream, be able to face oasis and deserts. In each circumstances, don’t cease.” – Paulo Coehlo.
  • “The desert is a pure extension of the inside silence of the physique.” – Jean Baudrillard.
  • “Magic of the shadows can finest be seen in deserts.” – Mehmet Murat Ildan.
  • “A forest is thriller however the desert is reality.” – Keith Miller.
  • “Take solely recollections. Depart solely footprints.” – Chief Seattle
  • “The desert is a perfect phantasm of a clean slate – a lot thriller in infinite layers is hidden beneath its shiny, pseudo-sterile floor.” – Vera Nazarian.
  • “If you happen to sing of magnificence although alone within the coronary heart of the desert you should have an viewers.” – Khalil Gibran.

Last Phrases

Photographing the desert just isn’t the simplest factor to do –  however you’ll rapidly discover that it’s completely price it.

I hope this text cleared up your doubts on tips on how to go about it and gave you some inventive concepts on your upcoming desert images journey.

When you have every other questions otherwise you wish to share your individual experiences, please accomplish that within the feedback part. We’re all the time completely happy to listen to from you!


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