WPY 2011

Photograph Details

Specially commended 2011


Marsel van Oosten, The Netherlands

Moonlight over Aloba

The Aloba Arch, on the Ennedi Plateau in northeastern Chad, is one of the most magnificent rock arches in the world. And with an elevation of 122 metres (400 feet), it is one of the highest, too. But its remote location means it's also one of the more seldom seen. Travel to this area can be particularly difficult because of the lack of facilities, political unrest and highway banditry, but Marsel decided to go there anyway. The plateau is, he says, 'a sandstone bulwark in the middle of the Sahara, assailed by the sands on all sides, with a geology similar to the Colorado Plateau and a number of similar landforms.' He wanted to photograph the arch in a way that would create 'a feeling of awe and wonder,' choosing a night shoot, with enough moonlight for a light source but not so much that the stars wouldn't be visible. 'The clear night sky,' says Marsel, 'made this wild place look almost otherworldly.'

Technical specification

Nikon D3S + 24-70mm f2.8 lens; 15 sec at f2.8; ISO 2500; Markins ballhead; Gitzo tripod; cable release.

Ennedi Plateau, Chad: latitude 17.2353, longitude 22.8329 Ennedi Plateau, Chad: latitude 17.2353, longitude 22.8329

Ennedi Plateau, Chad

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Marsel van Oosten, The Netherlands

Photography was initially Marsel’s escape from a fast-paced, successful career in advertising. But a Tanzanian safari ignited his passion for photographing wildlife, and five years later, he became a professional nature photographer. Now exhibited and published worldwide, he has won numerous awards, runs nature photography tours and is a regular contributor to National Geographic.

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