Kevin Krautgartner Plays with Light and Shadow in Aerial Photos of Dunes

All photos by Kevin Krautgartner. Used with Creative Commons permission.

We’ve been following a lot of outstanding aerial photography lately for the abstract imagery they offer to intrepid photographers. It’s exciting to see them uncover nature’s breath-taking art that stays hidden from most of us. It’s also interesting how each shot is a testament to the impact of perspective on perception. Case in point is the expanse of sand dunes that German photographer Kevin Krautgartner captured to present a mesmerizing dance of light and shadows.

Previously, we placed the spotlight on Krautgartner’s pastel masterpieces featuring the surprisingly artful colors of Australia’s salt evaporation ponds. Nature’s abstract art is everywhere, and aerial photography opens our eyes to the myriad of shapes, patterns, and textures that can only be seen from above. His Dunes series follow suit, but also demonstrates the ethereal meeting of light and shadows during sunrise and sunset.

In his description, Krautgartner explains that, as natural formations, sand dunes are products of Earth’s erosion and accumulation forces. As rocks become eroded by physical and chemical forces like wind and water, the particles get blown across the Earth’s surface. Some of them stay airborne, others are drawn back to the surface largely due to gravity. Dunes soon form as the sand particles accumulate and pile up, creating formations that vary according to the strength of the wind and the size of the particles.

The waves and crests of the sand dunes are sights to behold on the ground level, but from above, they look even more stunning and otherworldly. As with most types of photography, the so-called Golden Hours are best times of the day to witness and document the unique sight, as we can see in Krautgartner’s series.

“For a short time at sunrise and sunset, the formations creating deep and long shadows and the color of the sand turns into a glowing orange.”

In some of the photos, the sand dunes even look more like waves and ripples of water over a sandy surface. But in each shot, light and shadows accentuate the features of the formations, creating abstract visuals with both a minimalist color palette and prominent textures.

Kevin Krautgarner has a lot more of these stunning aerial photography series, so head to his website and Behance portfolio to check out more of his work.