Al Quadra Desert, Dubai, UAE by Maarten Venter

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Picture Story

A windswept "Acacia tortiles" (umbrella thorn acacia) stands alone in the vast desert landscape at Al Qudra, south east of Dubai.

It is trees with character and sculptural qualities that attracts me. I look for trees with a character of its own and a story to tell. I wonder about their stories, how long they have been here, their struggles with the harsh and relentless conditions they have had to endure and how many roaming camels they have fed over the years.

Over a year or so I have taken several week end trips to the desert in search of suitable subjects, observing them in different light and weather conditions. I look for compositions where the trees are embraced by the surrounding landscape and with as little distraction as possible surrounding them.

I take time to observe the tree from different distances and angles. I walk around the tree and engage in a dialogue with the tree to find the composition, the light and how the tree is framed by the surrounding landscape.

Finding the 'right' light is always challenging here in the UAE. Hazy, grey and cloudless skies are more common than not, however It does offer an opportunity for a more minimalistic approach to photography. Discovering new ways of approaching the desert landscape and the 'unfavorable' weather conditions have changed the way I approach photography. The image becomes more about the emotional response rather than the actual place.

I have build up a small series of images, each with its own story. In this image with its dream like apearance I placed myself in such a way that the the curve of the tree trunk mimics the dunes in the back ground. The delicate branches a reminder of how fragile and vulnerable the trees are in this hostile environment.

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