There’s something about photography that makes it obsessive after doing it for a while. Like any other passion or craft, the more comfortable you get the more obsessed you are with getting better. You start seeing things in photographs. You look at things around you, thinking “yes, probably this scene would need this lens or that lens”. That has been me this year, always thinking about photography, always striving to improve the way I see and capture things. It’s not always easy and sometimes it feels very frustrating as it’s very easy to revert to the type of images you’re comfortable with and not push yourself in new ways.
This was very much the case when I was in Liwa at the edge of the Empty Quarter desert close to the border between the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. These dunes are tall. I don’t mean a little bit tall, but huge. It takes a long time to walk all the way to the top and to get the shot below I woke up way before sunrise (after driving late into the night to get there and catching a little bit of sleep in the car). Once awake, I started walking up towards the top of the dunes which in complete darkness it’s not the easiest thing to do. Even when you have a flashlight, you can’t properly “read” the dunes to see which way is the best way. I nearly gave up about half way up, but I kept pushing myself, thinking there will be a better photograph to make from the top. And I was right – when the sun slowly shone its rays onto the sides of the dunes, the spectacle was magic and the silence overwhelming. It’s so beautiful you almost forget to push the trigger.