WPY 2014

Photograph Details

Finalist 2014

Earth's Environments

Paul van Schalkwyk, Namibia


As a photographer with an eye for graphic compositions and a passion for wild places, Paul was always drawn to arid landscapes. He often flew over the Etosha salt pan in Namibia, shooting through the open door of his small plane. Wildlife is rarely seen on this huge salt pan, which was once a lakebed, but these gemsbok are adapted to dry conditions. They are only active during the cooler parts of the day and night, and they can go without drinking for long periods. Despite the glare from the baked clay, sand and salts, Paul managed to highlight the pattern of their tangled tracks as they wandered the plain in search of water and shelter from the Sun.

Technical specification

Nikon D700 + 35–120mm lens; ISO 200.

Etosha Pan, Namibia: latitude -18.7712, longitude 16.2557 Etosha Pan, Namibia: latitude -18.7712, longitude 16.2557

Etosha Pan, Namibia

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Paul van Schalkwyk, Namibia

Born in 1955, Paul combined his two great passions in life: photography and flying. An acclaimed photographic artist, he spent more than 1,000 hours in the air, seeking to share the world’s beauty with others and winning more than 50 awards as a photographer, film-maker and writer. He was killed in March 2014, flying solo, when his plane crashed over the Etosha Pan, Namibia.

  • Shifting sands