I took this shot among the sands of the central Sahara, in northern Niger. The combination of warm rippled sand and blue sky, the wisps of cloud, and the low afternoon sun conspired to give me two hours of the best photoshoot I’ve ever had the joy of playing in. The location itself was out of this world- we were two four-by-fours in the middle of nowhere, tracked right up onto the dunes themselves, half a day’s drive from the nearest permanent settlement.
Today, nearly three years from when I took this photo, a low-key civil war between Taureg nomads and the Nigerien government means that these desert sands are all but inaccessible to travellers. The few passages that cut through the network of wadis and allow vehicle access have been mined by both parties to the conflict, and the government restricts any access to the region. It’s a tragedy of monumental proportions that such a stunning locations should be once more off-limits to the rest of the world. Much as I would dearly love to return- this time with more than just a point-and-click- I have to realise that it may be a generation before it’s safe to once more drive these sands, and I can only count it a privilege that I was able to visit while I could.