Friday, August 28, 2009

Photo of the Week - Oasis? (Sahara Desert, Algeria)

The cruel deceit of the Sahara Desert lies in its ability to suggest water is nearby. The mirage is simply a reflection of the sky caused by the incredibly hot afternoon sand temperatures and light refraction, leaving such a realistic suggestion of a refreshing lake.


marina villatoro said...

What's amazing is that you can caputure it on film!

I actually spent time on an oasis in Peru. It was so wild, you're in this amazing fertile place with water, and over a sand dune it's 100's and 100's of miles of sand!

Heather Dugan ("Footsteps") said...

Great photo, Mark. So, the plant-like emergents in the mirage - are they real or just peaks of sand?

Lorraine said...

Ouu - I can feel the heat coming right out of this photo - what a vast expanse!

Jade said...

I love how you it looks like you see an oasis when in the desert. I saw this a lot when I was in Australia.

Kirsty Wilson said...

I too travelled extensively through north Africa and got as far south as Ouargla & Ghardaia in Algeria. We did have plans to head to the Hoggar Mountains & Tamanrasset but you quickly learn the vast distances - a bit like travelling Oz! Where was your pic taken Mark?

Mark H said...

@marina: It's the same as the shimmering off a road on a hot day.

@heather: From tecall, they were tufty grassy plants which would suggest that water must sometimes be there. My photo doesn't have enough detail noted with it to be sure.

@lorraine: The afternoons were incredibly hot. The vehicle I was on used to travel from as soon as the sun rose till a late lunch. After that driving was too oppressive and the sand too soft increasing the odds of being stuck in the soft sand. Laying metal tracks and digging out tyres was sheer hell after a few minutes

@jade: The Australian outback does do mirages well.

@kirsty: I think it was on the way to the Hoggar mountains to Assekrem and Foucauld's hermitage (and spectacular sunrises). I have a separate article on that (search under Algeria).

Dominique said...

Well, at least it looked refreshing!
I'm also amazed you were able to so perfectly capture the mirage in this image.

Mark H said...

@dominique: It did and it was bloody hot. We were on the way to a magic little mountain retreat. Even worse for the local driver is that it was Ramadan at the time so he wasn't drinking water or anything until sunset. It was the only time I've been to a place where the staff ate before the guests! At sunset, they all ate and had a drink, having not eaten at all for the entire day. Then we got our food (same food) after they'd finished. Somehow it seemed very reasonable when you think of the weather conditions.

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