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Wallpaper Details: Windy Dunes

High-resolution desktop wallpaper Windy Dunes by Leon_J
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Windy Dunes

February 23rd, 2010

This photo tells the story behind my shot of the sunrise on top of Dune45 in the Namib, the world's oldest desert. The wind constantly blows the sand over the edge of the dune, giving it its unique shape and keeping it in place. The wind blows equally often and strong from West and East, making the dune itself immovable. I was thrilled by the thought of how many millions of grains of sand are blown over the edge of this and all the other dunes in the desert every second. This photo captures a few of them in flight.

Canon EOS 40D, Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/640 second, 43mm, f/3.5. Post-processing in Adobe Lightroom 2. Finishing touches in Adobe Photoshop CS4.

Wallpaper Categories

This wallpaper has been tagged with the keywords:

africa » blue » canon » canon eos 40d » desert » landscape » namib desert » namibia » orange » photography » sand » sand dunes » sky »

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Comments from the Community

Posted By: K
about 14 years, 1 month ago
It is a good concept, but personally I find the dominating out-of-focus area greatly eye-disturbing.
Posted By: Tel Me Later
about 14 years, 1 month ago
Sorry, but i have to agree with the first comment. It makes my eyes 'hunt' for focus.

Was this taken as a 'macro' shot or have you post-processed it as a sort of 'tilt shift' effect?

I think, as an exercise in catching the sand in motion (rather than a criticism of this picture), the positioning of the camera could have been lower down (at risk of getting sand in the works, of course) and getting less (or none) of the distant background in shot, which would then have really brought out the dynamism in the bits of the image that matter to you.

That said, this isn't a photographic criticism site, so I wouldn't take this comment too personally: it was voted in after all... If your eyes can manage with the focal issues then it makes a fine background for icons.
Posted By: Leon_J
about 14 years, 1 month ago
Hey, thanks for your comments!
Some info on the technical background of the image:
The aperture was 3.5 so the photo was taken as a macro-shot. No post-processing was applied concerning the focus and bokeh.
Concerning the perspective: Lowering my position even more (what would have been easily possible) would have made the dunes in the background disappear behind the edge of the dune. I actually got some shots from a lower and even tighter perspective but they really don't look so nice. What I like about this image is the contrast in size between these tiny grains of sand in the foreground and these massive dunes in the background. The whole idea of leaving most of the image out of focus was giving the photo a clear subject.
However, I think this image looks best on a 24 to 30 inch display in its maximum resolution - the grains of sand really are a bit too small when looking at the shot in a small resolution like 1280*800 or 1440*900.
cheers, Leon
Posted By: UncleScar
about 14 years, 1 month ago
i think the idea of Less Focus is great. when i was in Morocco, the san was All over the place, and you could see a thing, even with the wide sunglases.

So, Leon_J , you did a GREAT job. it makes my eyes go crazy-crazy =)
Posted By: Farscape
about 14 years, 1 month ago
I like this because its easy to look at yet not boring, sometimes simple is very effective !
Posted By: Yorkie X
about 14 years, 1 month ago
Nice ... finally something worth looking at
Posted By: LTD602
about 14 years, 1 month ago
Can we see the original?
Posted By: manav701
about 14 years, 1 month ago
dislike ....
This comment is rated: immature
Posted By: jmcguckin
about 14 years, 1 month ago
very nice, I would've never felt comfortable putting my camera's lens anywhere near blowing sand, so thanks to this picture, I don't have to!
Posted By: Calmly Traveling
about 14 years, 1 month ago
Alan Smithee would be proud.
Posted By: purplesleevd
about 14 years, 1 month ago
looks irritating. looks like a studio capture
Posted By: Mercyflush64
about 14 years, 1 month ago
Have to pass on this one. It looks like a closeup of an ant farm.
Posted By: bmndibb6
about 14 years, 1 month ago
Banding/gradient in the sky.
Posted By: Haak
about 14 years, 1 month ago
doesnt look real
Posted By: MacPro
about 14 years, 1 month ago
OK sorry, so one horrible blurry picture of the sand was enough. Boo on interfacelift for putting two up. And Boo on anyone in the Loupe that voted for it.
This comment is rated: immature
Posted By: Exen
about 14 years, 1 month ago
I think this shot is fantastic, especially for a desktop background. The DoF is great - and I love the focus on the mesmerizing sand. Additionally, the motion blur of the sand perfectly compliments the bokeh. Nice job.
Posted By: paul.charles.k
about 14 years, 1 month ago
Man, there are so many people who don't like this. I'm a photographer and think this is really great. Some people just want commercial pictures--this is more of art, which IFL doesn't really appreciate as much (acceptably, as commercial art is better for wallpapers).
Posted By: SingExpat
about 14 years, 1 month ago
I find this image to be physically uncomfortable to look at. I admire the effort put into trying to capture this image, but it's too painful to have on my desktop.
Posted By: Jeffrey Picard
about 14 years, 1 month ago
This image is close to being quite nice. I tend to agree with many other comments, however, in that I think it's very hard to focus on it and this makes it a bit unpleasant to look at. I think if the plain of sharp focus was a bit larger this could have been a contender.
Posted By: Leon_J
about 14 years, 1 month ago
Wow - I did not expect to get such controverse feedback on this photo.
Thank you all for your feedback!

The reason I uploaded this picture was because I think it tells a story. It's not just another HDR and/or f/16 and/or ultra-long-exposure shot of a beautiful landscape. On the contrary: Its a shot where 90-95% of the image is out of focus, where the dynamic range is certainly not perfect and without any fancy reflections or a sunset / sunrise in the background. As paul.charles wrote, its more of a creative shot and less of a technically perfect "out of the magazine" shot of a great landscape. Millions of people hiked up this dune and saw the sand blowing over the edge. Every single time the dunes in the background looked the same, the sky was blue and the sun was shining. However, none or only few of them took this photo. And I tried to explain my motivation for the shot in the description of the shot.

Of course it's open to everyone whether you want to put this photo on your desktop. And i can understand that some of you feel uncomfortable with such a massive amount of bokeh and small dept of field. However, I like it and quite a few other people do, so I'm happy it was voted on the Main page.

Some final words on the original: I took the picture in RAW-format. The original is overexposed, lacks vividity, saturation, contrast and clarity. Furthermore the sky is obviously overexposed againgst the foreground. These are the issues I adressed in post-processing, plus a little bit of sharpening. All the rest is out of cam.
Posted By: parsifal
about 14 years, 1 month ago
Is this tilt-shifted? It works great here -- an interesting application.
Posted By: Farscape
about 14 years, 1 month ago
Hey I really see the beauty in this and I certainly see why its here I really can't understand some of the negative responses to it but then again most great works of art have been controversial and this is without exception to that rule !
Posted By: Python
about 14 years, 1 month ago
The detail of the sand adds to the brilliance of this photo, but I think it may be a bit over-saturated. Good work.
Posted By: bah
about 14 years, 1 month ago
what is with the people of this website? i even had to make a new account so i can say what i think without censorship.

i dont care if i get "immature" rating again for just being honest, but i see tons of great pictures in the loupe that are way better than this (including some of mine -303artwork.com-). i dont think that the images get voted in. i believe that the owner of the website just take a look at the ratings but dont really care. i would appreciate it much more to be able to actually see the votings for each picture, because then the variety of the images that make it to the download section would surely be better.

my opinion about this picture: nice colors but way too blurry. looks more like a macro shot for me, which i dont think is something bad, but i just think there are tons of better images in the loupe with very different topics that would give this website some variety. im getting bored here..

@ leon do you have the original one somewhere?
Posted By: onis_uk
about 14 years, 1 month ago
This comment is rated: immature
Posted By: Leon_J
about 14 years, 1 month ago
Some words to the comment of bah:
I don't know about the transparency issues you spoke about with interfacelift. But honestly, I don't really care that much. I certainly don't like every wallpaper that's featured here. And I also think there are better pictures in the loupe. They night be from you or from someone else. And even within my own submissions I like other photos better than this one. However I think it's ridiculous to expect that you gonna like every picture featured and that only the - in your opinion - best ones are gonna make it.

Concerning the photo itself: of course it is a macro shot. You could have just read my comments further up. And yes of course I have the original here. But I honestly don't see the point of asking for it. What do you want to do with it? anyway, I'm a bit disappointed of how the discussion develops here. I think this is mostly about taste, but you make it to something bigger and don't have a lot of tolerance for other alternative opinions (see my last comment).

Just my 2 cents
Posted By: bah
about 14 years, 1 month ago
no i think its about quality and variety
Posted By: bah
about 14 years, 1 month ago
by the way i voted for "gazed upon by angels in their fligh". THATS a great image. can you tell me where that was?
Posted By: Leon_J
about 14 years, 1 month ago
It's Victoria falls in Zimbabwe. But the image is - from an art perspective - lame compared to this one.
Posted By: bah
about 14 years, 1 month ago
yes but its a wallpaper site. even if im sick of landscapes (thats why i uploaded animal pics and moments in nature like under the waterfall), i think this is a great shot. would you mind sending this one to my email? contact(a)303artwork.com. thank you!
Posted By: Andre3k
about 14 years, 1 month ago
very boring. all the photos on this site are really starting to look the same. no originality.
Posted By: brizkit
about 14 years, 1 month ago
This is an interesting shot, but let's keep our heads about us. Art is much more than a synonym for weird-looking.
Posted By: kensonic
about 12 years, 10 months ago
I took one look at this image and it was obvious that it was an intentional macro shot, that was trying to bring our attention to the grains of sand. The out of focus areas serve to keep my attention of the sand, which is very effective, IMO, The grains came out very sharp, great job on that.

The criticisms strike me as people that are trying to show off what they think is their technical of aesthetic insight, and it seems toe me that they're writing to draw attention to themselves. That they could miss the point of the photo so widely strikes me as evidence that they're not as smart as they believe themselves to be. Hopefully they will gain more insight about separating personal preference from more objective understanding.

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