It was mid November afternoon when we decided to head out from our hotel in Jaisalmer to visit the Sam Sand Dunes on the outskirts of the city. Though the weather was getting cold in the rest of the country, it was still warm and sunny in the desert city of Jaisalmer. We reached the venue around 4 pm and took a camel safari to the middle of the desert, as it was too touristy in the sands near the highway and I knew I have to venture a bit away to get a good landscape shot.
The desert was vast and endless, and it turned very beautiful as the light turned from yellow to golden to orange just before sunset. Sometimes I just awe at the beauty of nature and forget that I have a camera in my hand and a job to do when I am in front of so much natural beauty. But quickly realising that the light was fading soon, I put on my Tokina 11-16mm wide angle lens, which is a brilliant and one of my favorite lens to shoot with. I quickly set my camera to aperture priority mode, and set my aperture to around f/8 and started looking for compositions. I did not want to use a tripod so I had decided to open up the aperture and increase the ISO as the light faded.
As I started to look for different compositions by moving around in the sand – which can be quite difficult and tiring to do, I spotted this camel cart, which normally has tourists, empty and waiting in the middle of the ocean. I moved as fast as I could in the sands to reach closer to the cart and looked for a perspective which captures the ‘sunset in desert‘ mood in a photogenic composition.
I tried many different compositions with the sand dunes and the camels with the setting sun but finally liked this one enough to actually spend the rest of the minutes left before sunset to make an interesting composition. I tried multiple angles and perspectives to get the camel, the cart, the people, the sand dunes and the setting sun in exactly the right position – it is like micro composition – for each of the elements. I took a lot of shots during the 30 minute period before the sunset, and ended up selecting this one later as the “keeper”. It might look simple, but I had cramps in my legs due to all the running and crouching I had to do in the sands to get the composition right in the limited time I had.
The final shot I selected was shot at 1/60 sec, ISO 200 and f5.6 and I absolutely love how everything just falls into place for this composition to work.