I had grand ideas of how I would photograph the desert landscape. Tripod, polarizing filters, ND filters…maybe a remote flash? Nope, didn’t use them. In the end it came down to time. Or the lack thereof.
So, I had to work faster.
Sand is a destroyer of electronic equipment. Ask Bob: his point-and-shoot completely shut down on him after that Saharan silt worked its way into the zoom mechanism. You must keep your camera in the bag until you need it. Then, once you have a free moment or spot a composition, grab it and shoot. Then back in the case it goes. It was a sort of street photography style, only without the streets.
Here are some shots from the dunes and the southern town of Douz, known as the “gateway to the Sahara”. There are streets there mind you, and the atmosphere was incredible. The people were warm and the colours so vibrant. I could have spent the whole day wandering around. I hope that next year we have a bit more time there.
Sorry about your camera, Bob.
Earlier this year I was invited to join a group of off-road enthusiasts on their annual expedition to Tunisia. My friend Bob van der Meer had been trying to arrange this adventure for quite some time. Finally it had become a reality; in October we were set to spend five days camping in the Sahara desert.
From the 24 hour ferry ride and the ensuing chaos of passing though customs in Tunis, to driving through the dunes and camping in the desert under a full moon, the experience was unforgettable. We made new friends who taught us how to drive in the sand and who patiently pulled us out every time we got stuck. We cracked beers and jokes and quite a few parts. When something did break, the tools came out and lunch was prepared while the work was being done. It was a team effort from start to finish. There were nightly bonfires, delicious meals and a few controlled explosions. We had a great time and have already made plans to do it all again next year. I hope we do.
The sands of North Uist were shifting under our feet. Harsh winds propelled crystal clear water left behind by the receding tide. Kaleidoscopic sculptures emerged, sparkling under shimmering pools. In the Outer Hebrides these forces of nature are always at work, constantly eroding the landscape. And if you stand in one spot long enough, you can actually watch it happen.