The Dead Sea is a 45-minute drive from my house. I am drawn to this desolate place where there is no living thing. Where you can hear the quiet. Photographing in the salty and hot environment of the Dead Sea region requires careful consideration of equipment protection, exposure management, and creative approaches to capture compelling images despite the challenging conditions.
The Dead Sea region is known for its intense heat and strong sunlight. Overexposure to direct sunlight can cause harsh contrasts, blown-out highlights, and loss of detail in photographs. The highly reflective surface of the Dead Sea can create challenging conditions for capturing photographs. The intense sunlight reflecting off the salt-crusted surface and water can result in unwanted reflections and glare, making achieving optimal exposure and contrast challenging.
The stark contrast between the bright salt formations and the deep blue/green water of the Dead Sea can be challenging to capture in a single exposure. The stark difference in brightness levels can lead to a loss of detail in highlights or shadows. Techniques like bracketing or using graduated neutral density filters help balance the exposure and capture a wider dynamic range. Finally, the rocky and uneven terrain around the Dead Sea can make it difficult to access certain areas or find stable footing for setting up tripods or composing shots.
This image is called ‘Salty Island in a Salty Sea.’ I shot it with a Leica M9, and a Summicron 35mm lens at f/16, 1/4sec at ISO 160.
I have never returned from a day trip to the Dead Sea empty-handed. The landscape does all the work for the photographer, who is well prepared to meet the environmental challenges.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor