A Travellerspoint blog

August 2017

Deserts

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I am a regular reader of Wanderlust magazine which always poses a particular question to everyone they interview:

‘Mountain, desert, ocean or jungle - which are you ?’

When I consider what I would reply, I am always torn between desert and mountains as both landscapes create in me the same sense of awe. For this entry though, I will focus (pun intended!) on deserts.

Syria

We were fortunate to have travelled in Syria in 1996, and therefore long before the current troubles facing the country erupted. It was there that I first experienced the vastness of a desert sky, as our bus travelled the long distances between sights. One day I should share my old slides of that trip here but for now here is just one, taken at a remote desert fuel station.

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Syrian desert scene

Tunisia

Here’s an even older photo, showing my very first taste of the desert, on the edge of the Sahara in Tunisia in 1986 – our first sunset camel ride.

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Camel ride in Tunisia

Namibia

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On the road in the Kalahari

A more recent holiday in Africa took us to Namibia, where we hired a car to explore independently. Our route took in both the Kalahari and Namib Deserts, which are very different – the former more scrub, the latter classic sand dunes.

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Kalahari sunset

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The Namib Desert at Sossusvlei

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Big Daddy sand dune, Sossusvlei

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Dead Vlei

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The ultimate desert experience here was our balloon flight over the dunes at sunrise:

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Arizona and Utah

The number of old photos in this blog is emphasising for me how long my attraction to desert landscapes has lasted. Here is a selection from a road trip through the desert states of the US south west back in 1993.

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Arches National Park

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Bryce Canyon

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Coral Pink Sand Dunes

Uzbekistan

While on a Silk Road tour of Uzbekistan in 2007 we spent one night in a yurt in the Kyzylkum Desert. This is the 16th largest desert in the world and its name means Red Sand in the Turkic language, although as you can see, where we camped the sand was more yellow than red!

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At our Kyzylkum yurt camp

And again we had the obligatory sunset camel ride:

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Rajasthan

These sunset camel rides are becoming a bit of a recurring theme! Here’s our most recent one, in the deserts of western Rajasthan (with apologies for reposting photos of a trip already shared on a separate blog here):

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Desert camp near Samsara

Chile

Most recently I have had my ‘desert fix’ in the Atacama region of Chile. As with Rajasthan, I have shared many photos of that trip on a separate blog here, but here are just a few of my favourites to finish this entry:

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Water in the desert, at the Salar de Atacama

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The Valle de la Luna

Posted by ToonSarah 07:53 Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises desert india chile camp africa camel photography syria past_travels Comments (13)

Street photography

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In recent years I have become interested in street photography – both taking my own photos and in the work of others. There is something of the ‘thrill of the chase’ in hunting down these serendipitous moments when the right person walks into the right place to create a striking image for your lens.

Wikipedia defines street photography as featuring ‘unmediated chance encounters and random incidents within public places.’ While not necessarily urban, or even on a street, these chance encounters are of course more likely to happen where people gather in numbers.

Here is a selection of what I consider to be my more successful images to date, starting close to home:

London

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Portobello Road Market

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Camden Market

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On Regent Street

A zoom lens lets you get in close while remaining unobserved:

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At a festival on Regent Street

The Tube is a fruitful place to spot interesting characters:

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On the Tube

And art exhibitions create opportunities too, as visitors interact with the displays:

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Photography exhibition at the Royal Geographic Society

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Visitors to the Serpentine Pavilion, Kensington Gardens

Elsewhere in Europe opportunities abound too ...

Bologna

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Black and white seems to lend itself especially to this kind of photography, even on a sunny day

Tallinn

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On the streets of Tallinn

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Artist at work, Pikk Jalg

Human statues

These will expect a tip if you take their photo as they pose, but they often look more interesting when on a break:

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In Bologna

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In Lindau

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In Riga

New York City

Is there a better place in the world than NYC for photographing life on the street? I don’t think so:

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Policeman on Broadway

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SoHo street scene

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Near Broadway

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In Empire-Fulton Street State Park, Brooklyn

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On the subway

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Top of the Rock

India

In India much of daily life is played out on the streets, so it seems almost superfluous to describe these photos as street photography! But they make an interesting contrast to those taken in the western world (with apologies to those who have already seen these in my travel blogs):

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In Jodhpur, and in Old Delhi

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In Old Delhi

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In Agra

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In Chowara village

And to finish, a selection from a few other parts of the world:

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Shoppers on Takeshita Street, Tokyo

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In the Plaza de Armas, Santiago

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In Havana, Cuba

Posted by ToonSarah 03:54 Tagged people city photography street_photography Comments (10)

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