Those Who Wander

Empty Quarter, United Arab Emirates
Luxury Archival Metal Print
Limited Edition of 50
Frame Styles:
Taken in the Empty Quarter, United Arab Emirates, on December 26th, 2019.

“Not all those who wander are lost,” goes the famous line by J.R.R. Tolkien. And though this quote has become something of a cliche, printed on the side of many a Jeep and tattooed upon travelers the world over, there is an undeniable truth to its poetry. My own wanderings have led me to more beautiful moments and profound experiences than I ever could have imagined. Moreover, these wanderings have helped me feel deeply connected to nature, the people around me, and even the universe as a whole.

In late 2019 I was exploring a part of the world for the first time: the Middle East. I was participating in a conference at sea with hundreds of entrepreneurs and digital nomads. In between the seminars on value ladders and tax strategies for freelancers we had the opportunity to visit magical places full of history like Petra, Jordan and Muscat, Oman. Our conference disembarked in Dubai, UAE, and while many of the attendees opted to move on to places like Koh Tao, Thailand, or Cape Town, South Africa, I opted to stay in Dubai for nearly another two weeks. This was not driven by a love for the city (on the contrary, I find Dubai to be a tasteless spectacle, on ode to sheer gaudy wealth), but rather due to the wanderings of two celestial travelers: the sun and the moon. You see, the day after Christmas, the sun and the moon would temporarily align and create an annular solar eclipse.

The annulus (often called the Ring of Fire), would be visible only along a narrow slice of the Earth’s surface stretching from the Philippines through the deserts of the UAE. Knowing that the eclipse would occur just after sunrise as viewed from the UAE, I began brainstorming ideas for what I could photograph as a subject for the rare occurrence. I contacted local photographer Dany Eid who put me in touch with a local camel farmer whose farm was in the path of the eclipse.

Driving out to the camel farm with another local photographer, Kertu, I constantly checked the alignment of the eclipse with the endless dunes of UAE’s Empty Quarter. We arrived at the farm and set about calculating the angles and distances that would allow the eclipse to appear just over the top of a dune. Having checked and double checked the calculations I went to sleep in the dunes, passing a restless night full of worry that I might wake up to a sky full of clouds.

Thankfully, the morning dawned with cloudless splendor. I led the camel farmer to the exact spot on the dune I had calculated, then waited as the sun and moon rose together and passed into annular totality. It was a moment of supreme beauty, but not the one I was waiting for. As the sun and moon rose behind the dune, totality ended, transforming the eclipse into a stunning crescent. It rose above the farmer, encircling him and his camel, and casting them into a dramatic silhouette edged with a radiant light. I triple checked my exposure and focus, composed, and fired off this shot. Within minutes the eclipse was over, an opportunity never to come again.

As I reflect back on that day I’m blown away by the power of wandering, and how it can bring four travelers -myself, a desert nomad, the sun, and the moon- together in a moment of beautiful connection.

Love This Photo? Help Spread the Word.

Those Who Wander

More from the Signature Best Sellers Collection

Thanks for your order. Please wait a moment while we process your payment.