Editor's note: Welcome to Yahoo! Travel Photo of the Week, chosen from the Flickr group created by our readers - you! Each week a professional photographer will select a photo that stands out from the crowd, and explain why they chose it. To have your own photo considered, join our Flickr group and start submitting your own photos!
Congratulations to Monchoparis for “Light & Shadows, Oman Desert;” a fine example of less being more!
This week’s Yahoo! Travel Photo of The Week was taken in the desert near Ibra, an ancient city located in northern Oman, where the toe of the Arabian Peninsula dips into the Persian Gulf; here came the dry and dusty camel caravans of antiquity to trade for gold, frankincense and copper. It is said that the Queen of Sheba, herself, hand delivered frankincense from the area to King Solomon. Indeed, the written history of Oman goes back to 5,000 B.C.
A caravan could travel almost 40 miles in a day and the camels could go as many as five days without water, but when a camel does drink dose it ever! An adult camel can slurp up as much as 20 gallons in a single visit to an oasis. In a desperate situation, the Bedouin tribesman leading the caravan might remove the camel’s cud from its mouth, squeeze the moisture in it through fine cloth and drink it…to stay alive. No wonder they called their camels, “the gift of God” and “the ships of the desert.”
Monchoparis doesn’t say what lens was mounted on his Canon EOS 500D when he captured the desert image, but it’s likely a telephoto. Looking at his Flickr photostream, I didn’t see any highly processed images, so it’s a good bet that he didn’t alter this image very much, either. If the sun were shining brightly on the sand – which it probably was – an image exposed for the highlights would have a lot of contrast and would present itself much like this iconic one. Captured in raking light, either in the early morning, or late afternoon, the windblown sand stands out in bold relief, yet the scale is a mystery: Since a telephoto lens shortens the perceived distance between elements in the image, one wonders if a camel caravan would look like sled dogs, or loom so large that we could almost hear the tintinnabulation of the little brass bells hanging from their hairy necks?
A fine travel photo should draw us into it into its frame; tease us with just enough information and set the stage for our imagination to play on. It’s the simplest images that are the most powerful; visual equivalents of Hemmingwayesque sentences that pack a powerful punch:
“In the desert our skin became leather, and our brains puddles of melted memories.”
Alabama-based Michael Clemmer has been a photojournalist/travel photographer, landscape and golf course photographer for over four decades. Once a Senior Travel Photographer for Southern Living Magazine, he has also worked as an assignment photographer for the National Geographic Society and his photographs have been used in fine publications around the world. He currently specializes in golf landscape photography — visit his web site at www.michaelclemmer.com