Lengthening Shadows in the Erg Chebbi

April 27, 2012


Photographer: Katy Hinton
Summary Author: Katy Hinton; Jim Foster

The photo above showing the extended shadows of a short procession of camels and their riders was captured during an excursion from Merzouga, Morocco into the Erg Chebbi sand dunes, east of the Atlas Mountains. It was snapped about 30 minutes before the Sun set on January 8, 2012. When the Sun is low in the sky, shadows look out of proportion and appear to have a more or less triangular shape. For instance, the legs of the camels look longer than is actually the case. This is a result of perspective. From the viewpoint of someone in a balloon hovering over this caravan, the shadows would look extended but the long-legged aspect evident from the camel rider’s perspective would disappear. Note that the highest sand dunes of the Erg Chebbi approach 500 ft (152 m) in height.