Ubari Sand Sea, Libya by Jackie Matear

Picture Story

I took this image while camping in the Idehan Ubari in the Libyan Sahara, before the country descended into civil war. The Ubari Sand Sea is a vast area of towering sand dunes dotted with around twenty beautiful gem-coloured palm-fringed (and very salty) lakes that create a spectacular contrast to their desiccated surroundings.

We had already spent time in the Akakus desert and Wankasa Sand Sea during my travels in the land of SPLAJ (Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya), as the State of Libya was known at the time, but neither prepared me for the sight or the size of the sand dunes in Ubari. It was almost impossible to decide where to point my camera … the effect of the different light throughout the day created shapes and colours that my camera could not do justice to.

One morning, I got up before dawn to watch the early morning sun illuminate the contours of the dunes. The ripples and curves of this dune immediately caught my eye and I spent some time working on different compositions. I was shooting handheld so used a higher ISO than I would normally do when on a tripod to ensure sharpness.

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