Photographic feature on Paul van Schalkwyk

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Chasing rain…

I have seen vistas opening up beneath my airplane’s wings, a valuable and treasured experience which, in photographing, I hope to communicate the need for appreciation and protection. – Paul van Schalkwyk, October 2013

Paul van Schalkwyk tried to capture the extraordinary or unexpected. Often it can be found right there in front of everyone’s eyes, hidden behind the camouflage of the ordinary. It requires the searching eye of the photographer to lift the veils and sometimes work through many layers of deception to discover or expose a new essence or image unexpected.

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Dust rises as rain disrupts the desert surface

“Through my work I am bringing to an audience the opportunity to view and enjoy with me the stunning splendor of desert rains and its profound effect on our world.”

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A raincloud makes its way over Etosha Pan

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Water gathers between the dunes at Sossusvlei after a good rainy season

These images by Paul van Schalkwyk, depict the transformation  of the desert landscape caused by rain – water, moisture, mist and reflections.

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Rain sweeping over the desert

In his words:

“In my quest to follow the erratic and often unpredictable path of rainstorms over the desert I am trying to capture something the ‘normal’ eye does not have the capacity or privilege to behold. apart from the obvious aesthetics I am also trying to record something which is really unexpected or out of the ordinary. Rain in the desert is not common, it is rather unique. The desert rains usually sweep in within a few hours, then let go and disappear as quickly as they came, leaving their direct effects to exist as momentary evidences. Being able to fly enables me to follow or intercept the elusive desert rainstorms when they appear in real time. By doing this I am observing and capturing phenomena, which are not readily accessible to everyone. That is just one aspect that makes my photographs unique.”

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A dramatic pillar of rain as a storm cloud breaks over the landscape

It is not merely a photograph. It is a thriller of nature in full force, condensed into an instant. It is evidence of all existence from beginning to end, in an instant.


Sueda Fountain, in Etosha National Park, alive with water

To see more of Paul’s images follow this link:

This article was first published in the Autumn 2015 issue of Travel News Namibia.

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