Dhofar in the Khareef

August 2012 At the very southern end of Oman, southwest from Muscat across 1,000km of endlessly flat and monotonous sand and gravel deserts, is the region of Dhofar and the small city of Salalah. This famous port, once the hub of an important trade in frankincense Boswellia sacra that grows in the distant dry hills, sits at the centre ofContinue reading “Dhofar in the Khareef”

Jabal al Akhdar Mountains: Wakan Village

Spring 2014 The village of Wakan sits high on the western border of the Sayq plateau; it appears out of the grey dawn like an ancient fortification, high, distant and formidable. This is just part of the spectacular view from within the the Al Ghubrah bowl, from the long and winding track that leads across the wide plainContinue reading “Jabal al Akhdar Mountains: Wakan Village”

Jabal al Akhdar Mountains: The Sayq Plateau

Summer 2013 and Spring 2014 The small villages of Al’Ayn and Ash Sharayjah perch on the side of a deep ravine; both carefully hoard the winter rainwater that runs off the rocky, rolling plateau behind small dams. The water is then run round narrow, cliffside terraces in the ancient falaj system of irrigation channels. Many of these are nowContinue reading “Jabal al Akhdar Mountains: The Sayq Plateau”

Deserts of the Emirates

The endless dunes between Abu Dhabi and Al Ain are golden waves of lifeless sand, dead and uninviting. They are also increasingly defaced by power lines, pipes and water tanks and demarcated by endless walls and fences as tenure and utilisation are settled. They are still traversed by camels but now also four wheel drives with tyres flattened toContinue reading “Deserts of the Emirates”

Ras Al Sawadi’s Sooty Falcons

October 2012 The recently widened road snakes and switches up and down the stark Al Hajar Mountains from the flat, endless gravel plains dotted with Acacia that envelop the small town of Ibri to the narrow coastal plain that runs from Muscat north to Sohar. Al Batina is populous and fertile, full of dates, citrus and other crops withContinue reading “Ras Al Sawadi’s Sooty Falcons”

Yas Island – A Photographic Guide to the Birds of Muddy Mangroves

Yas Island is one of the many great infrastructure projects in the United Arab Emirates, located close to Abu Dhabi airport and 10 miles down the highway from the city. In 2012, it already had a Formula 1 racing circuit, a huge red panini of a building called Ferrari World, hotels, marina and golf course andContinue reading “Yas Island – A Photographic Guide to the Birds of Muddy Mangroves”

Abu Dhabi – An Introduction

The coast is flat, the horizons wide and, on an empty island where once was just a small oasis, protected for 250 years by a fort built of coral and stone, the hot desert has been transformed into a small city of towers with a grid of streets rammed with cars. New buildings are smooth,Continue reading “Abu Dhabi – An Introduction”