Writes Ignacio Palacios, "I captured this image during a visit to Erg Chebbi in the Sahara Desert, Morocco in May 2008. I was staying in a Bedouin tent for the night and woke early to scale the dunes to photograph the morning golden light. To immerse yourself in the vastness of the Erg Chebbi – the highest and longest stretch of unbroken sand dunes on the planet – is to gain a small appreciation of man’s insignificance when faced with the beauty and majesty of nature.
"It was quite an effort to climb to the top of the high dune from where this photo was taken, but as with nearly everything in life, the effort paid off. I will never forget the moment when I reached the summit and the view unfolded before me – a most memorable experience. I was shooting with a Nikon D300 with its 1.5x crop factor, using an ISO of 250, aperture of f8 at 1/100 second with a 70-200mm lens. This particular image was captured at 70mm, which is equivalent to 105mm on a full-frame sensor.
Stretching from Egypt to Morocco, the Sahara is almost the same size as the USA and the third largest desert after Antarctica and the Arctic. Erg Chebbi is the gateway to the desert and runs 28 kilometres from north to south, with dunes rising up to 160 metres tall, located between the town of Merzouga and the Algerian border. The location is often used in films because of its stunning expanse of iconic, fire orange dunes, dotted with footprints of wild animals. Bedouin legends explain the dunes were sent as a punishment from God when a wealthy family in the area failed to provide a tired traveller with hospitality. The local belief is that to this day, it is a reminder that one always has to provide hospitality, especially in this area with so little visible life."
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