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Painting or Photo?

May 25th, 2011

photo credit: Frans Lanting/National Geographic

Painting or Photo?

May 25, 2011 — What do you think? Is this a painting or a photograph? It sure looks like it could be an otherworldly, magical place an artist conjured up for a picture book. But, in fact, it’s a photograph taken by photographer Frans Lanting .

It’s called Ghost Trees at Dawn and was taken in the African country of Namibia while Lanting was recently there doing a story for National Geographic.

So how did Mr. Lanting get it to look like that?

The bright orange in the background is a sand dune, the white specks are grasses that crop up, and the blue-ish looking ground is actually white clay earth that looks blue because it’s reflecting the sky. But it’s not quite that simple. Mr. Lanting was there at dawn when the sun was shining brightly on the sand dune, but not quite shining yet on the part where the trees are, which is why they look like they’re in silhouette. He’s also is one of the most experienced, skilled and talented photographers in the world.

The sand dune in the photo is known as Big Daddy for good reason. It’s 1,200 feet tall — which is about the same height as the Empire State Building!  And it’s naturally that reddish-orange color.   The photo is featured along with a story about Namibia in the current June issue of National Geographic .

Even though Namibia only became an independent country from South Africa in 1990 (just over 20 years ago), Namibia is one of the first countries in the world to write environmental protection into its constitution. Nearly half of its land is set aside for that, according the magazine.

To see more of Frans Lanting’s photos from Namibia, click here .

You can also watch a brief video about Namibia below:

It makes me want to go visit!

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