Every so often, if the Gods are smiling on you, you have the chance to find yourself in a place so remote, so beautiful, so exotic as to take your breath away. Those places where you have to pinch yourself to believe that you're actually there.
Like a beautiful sea of sand dunes in the middle of the Sahara Desert before dawn, where I had just woken up after sleeping out in the open on top of one of these giant dunes.
I was photographing the miles and miles of endless sand, pristine in all its glory with not a single footprint to blemish it. But what's that you say? There are footprints everywhere. That's right, but there weren't about five minutes before I took this photograph. Another member of my travelling party just felt that they weren't going to get any good photographs where I was so, without even a word of morning greeting, he proceeded to walk this way and that right through my composition.
If you look closely you can see said culprit just to the left of the middle of the frame. I've been telling people for years that it's a Mauritanian desert wanderer. Now you know he ain't Mauritanian (let's just keep his nationality a secret as we all have 'em!) but he's certainly wandering.
Now I'm not saying that as photographers we have a right to prevent anybody from going anywhere. I'm just saying that if you're out photographing and there's other people around let's all be aware of the intentions of each other. Let's try not to get in each other's way. It's a big world - hell there were dunes all around us that day - and there's plenty of room for all of us. All it takes is a quick query as to if it's OK to go here or there and problem solved.
Hanging a camera around our necks doesn't give us the right to be obnoxious jerks. We'll leave that to our politicians!
This shot was taken on the outskirts of a little town called Chinguetti in the heart of the Sahara Desert in the West African nation of Mauritania. The town is pretty much deserted now as the encroaching sand threatens to swallow it, but Chinguetti used to be a major town in the Islamic world and its library is home to some of the most ancient Islamic texts known to man. This shot was taken with a 75-300mm zoom on its longest focal length to compress the dunes and get that rolling into each other effect.