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Valley of Desolation Photography

Valley of Desolation

by Mike Rossi


The road to Graaf-Reinet through Lootsberg Pass is mountainous – Koppies fall away being replaced by large hills with little Kops. The fynbos glitters in the early morning dew. Duikers sat ever watchful under Kuni bushes — and Candelabra trees littered the mountainsides like sentinels — beware of the milk from this tree spilling onto your skin, as it will burn and blister, leaving you looking like a sufferer of third degree burns.


Ten kilometres from Graaf-Reinet a fog descended, surreptitiously catching me unawares. Thick and rolling, it poured down. The glutinous darkness came from all sides. I had to slow down to a few kilometres an hour. As I drove through the thick walls of grey, I was plunged into sadness — no photographs for me to take. I felt the penetrating chill of the mountains on either side of me.


As I entered the Camdeboo National Park, which surrounds Graaf-Reinet the fog opened up enough for the sun to breathe in. Warm sunbeams filtered through – silvery slithers crossed my path. I felt some hope. There were two locations I wanted to photograph. Spandaukop and the Valley of Desolation, but from where?


Having made several attempts to capture both these beautiful landscapes, I realised that the only place was from the escarpment that overlooked the ‘Valley of Desolation’ in which Spandaukop also lies.


This ancient fossil-rich land is full of surprises. It has the largest variety of succulents found anywhere on earth — over 9000 species of plants are found in the great Karoo – three times more than the British Isles. Once dinosaurs roamed, like Sauropodomorpha, a long-necked herbivore the largest animals to have walked the earth.


High above the town of Graaf-Reinet, the Valley of Desolation, stands like a Black Eagle, with its wings spread. In front of me, dolerite pinnacles stood like grey helmeted soldiers waiting for the order to stand at ease. I watched and waited on the edge of this escarpment, a meter from a sheer drop of several hundred meters that fell into blackened gloom. A reef of nimbus clouds churned across the skies and a mantle of light had slid between nimbus, sprinkling light onto the helmeted soldiers.


Part of the "Shadows Over Stones" Photographic Art Collection. Available as “Custom Finish & Bespoke” Fine Art and Photo Prints, framed or unframed. Photography created as beautiful pieces of Wall Art for you to invest and enjoy, from OPENPHOTO-STUDIO.

  • Specification Unframed Print

    Unframed - Black & White Print - ref: 00044-1

    Print Paper Type: Fine Art - Cotton 215gsm

    Image Size: 60cm x 22.5cm

    Print Boarder: 4cm White

    Overall Size: 68cm x 30.5cm

    Backing: 2mm White Card

  • Specification Framed Print

    Framed - Black & White Print - ref: 00044-2

    Print Paper Type: Fine Art - Cotton 215gsm

    Print Size: 60cm x 22.5cm

    Print Boarder: None

    Card Mount: Single White 5cm

    Frame Profile: 33mm x 30mm - S2 Charcoal

    Overall Size: 75cm x 37.5cm

  • Bespoke Sizes & Specification

    CLICK here - for altenative sizes or specification please contact us.

  • Product Guides

    CLICK here  - to find out more about materials and finishes available.

  • "Shadows Over Stone" Collection

    CLICK here - to see other photographs in this collection.

PriceFrom £222.50
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