Visiting Oman right in the middle of summer is a real climatic challenge. This was an insight that came to me clearly too late. My initial thought process, as I was preparing for this trip, was that summer in the desert is hot and dry. As soon as I landed in Oman I was quickly re-educated. It certainly was as hot as expected or maybe even a little bit more than expected, but it was not dry at all. Just minutes after arrival in Oman, I was drenched in sweat. Breathing the water saturated air was not entirely an easy process. Walking around in Muscat, Oman’s capital located right at the sea, was a real challenge. It almost felt like walking through steam. The heat and humidity got a little bit better as I drove land inward, away from the sea. A long drive, circumnavigating the massive Al Hajar al Gharbi Mountains, allowed me to finally leave the lower parts of the land and drive up into the mountains. It quickly became cooler and drier. Nights were even chilly and the sleep quality in the tent was certainly a better one.
The view from these lofty heights towards the lower landscape was not always an easy one as the humidity laden air provided a dense haze. The only exception was on an early morning wake up at the top of Jebel Shams. Looking east towards the mountain Jebel Mist, I could see at the bottom, a typical little Omani town with its white houses, dwarfing against the towering, partially haze occluded, shark fin shaped Jebel Mist.
The scenery was of particular grandeur and required a focal length of 120 mm to simplify the scene and enhance the magnitude of the solitary standing Jebel Mist. Finally my mistake of visiting Oman in summer paid off. This was a very unique moment, as most visitors to Oman go in Winter, when the humidity is low and the haze is gone.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor