Sinai Desert Experience
A trip into the Desert in the late afternoon when the sun has dipped behind the mountains is an experience which stays deep in your memory. Quiet, foreboding, hostile, peaceful, lonely, arid, ancient and more besides. Mount Sinai is literally steeped in history of Biblical proportion where the legend of Moses took the ten commandments from the Big man himself, it feels like you've been transported back through history thousands of years. I was almost expecting to see a burning bush !
I took three trips into the Sinai Desert near Dahab through an ancient pass which traders have passed along for thousands of years. One on the back of a Camel and two on Quad bikes. The camel version was the more authentic experience. Slow, peaceful and it felt as old as the rocks. The quad bike allowed me to travel much further and see canyons deep into the mountains which I would have never seen.
The quad bike also allowed me to climb enormous dunes up to a Bedouin camp where I had desert tea and shisha with the locals around a fire as they sang songs which obviously included rude but indecipherable comments about the visitors (which I found hilarious.)
Monir The Camel Guide
Monir had a peaceful and calm air about him. Never moving too fast, he took 5 sugars in his tea and when I gave him a quick portrait I did of him, he was absolutely fascinated by the process, then carefully folded it up and put it in his pocket as if it was a treasure map 1/125th @f5.4 ISO 400
An oasis may not always be a luscious pool surrounded by date palms. This Oasis was an underground stream which provided enough water for plants to grow and therefore life including humans to survive in this most hostile environment. Here the stream runs down a gulley and is no more than a trickle on the surface. In this shot we can see our Guide, Monir leading the way (no EXIF data available)
Vertical Rock Strata
Two layers of completely different rock, one sedimentary and one metamorphic, have been contorted 90 degrees by geological forces over millennia, creating this incongruous side by side arrangement 1/80th @f3.5 ISO 100
Rocks in the Sinai Desert
many different rocks make up the Sinai Desert. Sedimentary rocks from clay and mud jostle with harder metamorphic rocks in many different hues making it an ideal place for geological study as strata revealing many thousands of years of formation lie exposed. In this photo rocks begin breaking down slowly to eventually create sand and dust 1/60th @f3.5 ISO 100
Life in the Desert is Hard
Seeing any kind of vegetation is a surprise, even a dead branch of a bush which sticks out a mile in the Desert, this is near the Oasis, showing how even a little water can make a huge difference to life which would not otherwise be able to survive here.
1/60th @f3.5 ISO 125
Burnt Palm Trunk
Near a Bedouin camp in the Desert a part burned palm trunk is discarded. Firewood is hard to come by and it makes you wonder where you can find enough wood to keep warm 1/60th @f3.5 ISO 400
Feels like the Moon or Mars
It's so barren and lifeless, it feels like you could be on another planet like Mars. Although there is not much life, there is still plenty to see which is novel to the eye and inspiring to observe, even if it's just plain old rocks, they're not like the stones back home 1/60th @f4.5 ISO 400
Photos taken with a Panasonic Lumix Gf2 & travel kit zoom lens
all images copyright Christos Hatjoullis (Outerground)