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World Nomads Scholarship Expedition Oman Day 4

OMAN | Tuesday, 21 May 2013 | Views [1278]

Day 4:

I was finally getting used to the pattern of this trip. Awake and in the cars well before dawn, followed by a race to catch the sunrise, day 4 began like the others. We climbed high into the hills to reach a beautiful little village in a small rocky canyon. The scramble in the cars was followed by an ascent up a path to the source of the village’s water.

            In an unexpected move, Jason pulled out a piece of black tape and asked for my camera. Not knowing what he was planning on doing, I obliged. To my initial horror, he covered my screen with the tape and told me not to take it off on pain of death. The point of this exercise, he explained, was to keep my head up and focused on making the images, not on the results. He continued to tell me that, the viewfinder was only a hindrance and did nothing but distract a young photography like myself. Though I obeyed and left the tape on, it took a while to stop my rote motion of checking the back of the camera.

Looking for interesting angles on our walk up the ridge, Jason and I talked about the history of National Geographic and its evolving brand. Jason explained his own entrée into that very exclusive club, detailing the long struggle it was and the effort it continued to be. I wanted to know what mold a Nat Geo photographer fit in, or if one existed at all.  Having “read” the magazine before I could actually read, it is truly a life long dream to have some roll in the magazine and the society.

After our morning hike, the plan for the day began to fall apart. With lost luggage and other stumbling blocks, our agenda for the day began to be a bit of freestyle. Our goal for the evening was to be at the Grand Canyon for the sunset, but there were a few attractions between us and many long miles on unimproved road. First we encountered a beautiful canyon, with a herd of goats drinking in it. The canyon did look cool and Jason wanted to explore, but it seemed kinda like a bad idea to me. I’m prone to dropping lenses and breaking stuff and this was just the local for me to exercise those bad habits.

After our guides dragged us away from that picturesque scene, we encountered beautiful vista after vista as we climbed through the mountains towards our destination.  Stopping at a few, we took our time to take landscapes of the vast black mountains and valley in front of us. It seemed like we were looking out over any alien planet.

As we hit the tarmac again, we drove like mad men towards the Grand Canyon. However, another beautiful vista stopped us in our tracks. Rising above the palm trees below, an ancient village was illuminated by the falling sun on a hillside. Jason stopped to look at it and I knew that we weren’t going to see the Grand Canyon that day. Jason and I rushed down to the village to photograph it before we lost the beautiful golden light. After asking a few local old men for permission to enter the village, we started to pick our way through the ruins.  Jason told me to focus on the textures of the stone, working to show the age of this abandoned village. We had barely 20 minutes of light but we worked it as waned. Jason even got inspired to do some video and I happily ripped the tape off to shoot it. It was a great chance to demonstrate/practice my other favorite skill set, documentary filmmaking. Only wish I had had the audio and the Canon C300. Jason mentioned that the Nat Geo creative director would be requesting me for the next shoot (jokingly). Still, made me drool inside. Could I do Josh/Luke’s Job while I work on the photography? I wish. It was a TON of fun to play at their jobs for an hour at an amazing local.

Jason and I talked on our way up the mountain to our camp that night and he mentions working with him after the trip, sending him pics whenever I want for review. Fuck. Yea. Just what I need.

It was a day of unplanned activity, but satisfying images none-the-less.

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