04 May 2011

New photo tour to Egypt: Sahara Sandscapes

In 2009 I decided that in 2010 I would focus more on landscape photography, and so I did. For a couple of years I had done so much wildlife stuff, that at times it felt like shooting on auto pilot. I needed a change of subject matter to force myself to think and work differently. The 200-400 and the 600 went into the closet, the wide angles were suddenly my standard lenses on most trips. And how nice it is to travel like a landscape photographer - my camera bag lost at least 20 pounds.

Deciding on possible locations was not an easy task. There are countless beautiful places on our planet, but there are already zillions of photographs of most of them. As we were also thinking about adding another Squiver photo tour, we wanted to go somewhere special - far off the beaten track to get the sort of shots you haven't seen a hundred times before. In my photography I like strong shapes, clutter-free compositions and graphic lines, so the desert it was. :-)


When I say Egypt, you say pyramids - and you're correct: there are indeed pyramids in Egypt. We didn't visit them though, because a) they've been photographed to death, b) it's way too crowdy to even think about taking a photograph, and c) we had something much better in mind: the Western Desert and the White Desert. 

I have a strange preference for surreal landscapes, which explains our tours to Namibia and Turkey. But Egypt has a few extraterrestrial landscapes to offer as well. No need to pay 20 million dollars for a trip into space when you can visit a different planet with Squiver - the landscape of the White Desert is alien in every way. It has a white, cream color and massive chalk rock formations that have been created as a result of occasional sandstorms in the area. The chalk-white landscape is strewn with otherworldly shapes, boulders of brilliant white which thrust up from the surface of the desert, intensified by the clear light of noon, shimmering gold at sunset or blackened and shrunken in a cloud-filled sky. Cupcakes, mushrooms, rabbits, profiles, monoliths, tables, crowns, swirls, mounds and any other shape your mind imagines dot the golden yellow sands for as far as the eye can see.


In the remote past, the White Desert was a sea-bed, the sedimentary layers of rock formed by marine fauna when the ocean dried up. The landscape we see today was formed  by the plateau breaking down, leaving harder rock shapes standing while the softer parts are eroded away by wind and sand. In some parts the chalk surface still has the appearance of delicate wind-ruffled waves on water. The White Desert is unlike anything you've ever seen before.



The Western Desert is more mountainous and has a high plateau that offers spectacular views on the Mars-like scenery below. You can walk here for days on end and see the landscape changing around every corner. A night under the stars is an experience never forgotten. As the sky turns pink then deepest fiery orange, the rock-shapes fade and silence is all around. Sitting around a small fire and enjoying the simplest meal of chicken, rice and vegetables, you will feel like nothing has ever tasted so good. If the moon is near full, the white chalk rock shapes glow eerily, like ghosts in the darkness under a sky still filled with bright stars and there is no need for artificial lights.



This is a unique trip to a unique location and an experience of a lifetime. We're excited that tourism is alive and kicking again in Egypt, and we're looking forward to show you around in one of the most spectacular parts of the African Sahara. If you like adventure, then this is the trip for you. Check out the photo tours page on our website for additional information and download the day-to-day schedule.(PDF).

4 comments:

Hans said...

Hmmm, tempting!! But first Namibia


greetz,

Hans

Roger said...

Oh my gosh...now where am I going to find a fat banker to relieve him of his heavy bonus!!!

This looks seriously dabba dooish to me...

FotoJudith said...

Wat een prachtige foto's en ik heb genoten van het filmpje. Zeer professioneel gemaakt en mooi om de fotograaf bezig te zien.

Travel tours Morocco said...

Hi,
Nice video of desert i enjoyed to see it.

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