The best thing to have with you in a Desert

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Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. Shot on a Sony RX100 using a limited depth of field. Post processing in Nik Viveza.
Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. Shot on a Sony RX100 using a limited depth of field. Post processing in Nik Viveza.

Stop for a moment and think about the answer to the following question. What is the single best thing to have with you in a desert?

The answer is a Sony RX100.

If there is one subject matter I really love to photograph its sand and where else do you find lots of sand but in the Desert. On my recent visit to Death Valley I therefore headed straight for Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes near to Stovepipe Wells. I have seen many images of the area and whilst they all look a little clichéd, I love them.

The temperature in the dunes was only in the 90’s but having left behind freezing conditions only a couple of days earlier it was a little demanding. This was further amplified by the direct sunshine and the clear sky. This made me happy that the camera I was carrying was the Sony RX100 which is very light and fitted easily in my pocket.

I quickly found that having a small compact camera allowed me to explore different angles and compositions very easily as well as get in very close to the sand. Getting low and close also compensated to some degree for the limited wide angle of 28mm on the Sony. Looking around I could see many of the DSLR users shooting from the usual height whilst stood up. Most looked particularly uncomfortable carrying large camera bags.

The other advantage of the RX100 over my GX1 as I found out later is that the GX1 has dust on the sensor. This is a problem in dusty desert conditions but a well sealed compact camera unit doesn’t succumb to the problem.

And if you do get lost in the Dessert, the battery in the RX100 seems to last all day so you can keep yourself amused whilst waiting to be rescued.

Captured on a Sony RX100. This strange landscape is caused when pools of water in the sand dunes dry out. I like to call it desert paving and its rock solid. Post processing in Nik Silver Efex.
Captured on a Sony RX100. This strange landscape is caused when pools of water in the sand dunes dry out. I like to call it desert paving and its rock solid. Post processing in Nik Silver Efex.

4 thoughts on “The best thing to have with you in a Desert

    Jacques Cornell said:
    April 5, 2013 at 12:28 am

    Sounds like you’re happy with your RX100. Is there anything you miss from your LX5?

      thelightweightphotographer responded:
      April 5, 2013 at 7:14 am

      Yes I am very pleased with the RX100. I still have the LX5 so there is nothing I am missing at the moment. Comparing the two I would like a 24 mm lens but I don’t miss it like I thought I would. The only niggle I have with the RX100 is that it suffers a bit from Red CA around the edges. Not in all conditions and lightroom seems to make it worse. Photoninja is much better and the in camera jpg is fine. There is however a lot to like about this camera.

    mflahertyphoto said:
    April 5, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    A couple great shots here. I’ve been there a half dozen times or so, and it was only the last visit that I really got into it and got the shots I wanted, from the dunes as well as the salt flats. If you’re interested: http://bit.ly/Y3eCLY

      thelightweightphotographer responded:
      April 6, 2013 at 10:30 am

      You have some very nice images on your site. Thanks for sharing. You just make me wish I had been there for photography rather than it being a by product of a walking holiday. Morning definately is the better end of the day for photographing the dunes.

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