When Ridley Scott was directing the current blockbuster film The Martian, he knew he needed a landscape that closely resembled Mars in order to keep the film as realistic as possible. He settled on filming in the Wadi Rum desert region of Jordan, and it’s easy to see why. Scott told Yahoo about how realistic the landscapes were. “I added dust devils and skies, otherwise it was all real.”
The film’s star, Matt Damon, added “I was in awe of that place, it was really, really special. One of the most spectacular and beautiful places I have ever seen, and like nothing I’ve ever seen anywhere else on Earth.”
I have been fortunate enough to spend time in Wadi Rum, as I have led two photography trips with The Giving Lens to the region. Being a desert fanatic, the region is a photography dreamland for me, and I share some of the reasons why I believe every photographer should travel to Wadi Rum.
Oh, and coincidently, Visit Jordan is giving away 2 trips to Jordan on Instagram until October 16th. Find out how to enter here.
All photos by the author, Michael Bonocore.
If you are the type of photographer who can appreciate sweeping and dramatic landscapes (who doesn’t) than Wadi Rum is for you. The massive granite and sandstone rock formations jut out from the soft golden sand and rise as high as 2,800 feet above the desert floor. Climb up high before sunset to get an incredible overview of the desert while the sky lights up in warm orange and yellow tones.
The Desert Portraits
The sand and the dramatic rock formation backgrounds, and most importantly, the late afternoon golden light that only a desert in the Middle East can provide, make Wadi Rum a perfect location to get your next Facebook profile photo.
There is nothing more exhilarating than speeding through a desert landscape in the back of an open-air pickup truck. Hiking, climbing and desert campfires add to the sense of adventure that only the Wadi Rum desert can provide. Adventure photographers can spend weeks here and never get bored.
The Night Skies
It’s pretty simple. Remove yourself from cities and light pollution, and you can see more stars. And Wadi Rum is away from everything, making photographing the night sky easy. For best results, plan to be in the desert when the moon is between a new moon and 40% full. With no moon, you will have the brightest stars and Milky Way.
Shaban, my habibi, is the shisha man at the Captain’s Camp in Wadi Rum. If Shaban is not taking you out for a sunset ride on his fleet of camels, you can find him sitting by the fire, heating delicious tea and packing up shisha for guests. But in addition to being a funny and friendly companion, Shaban also is one of the most photogenic subjects I have ever had the pleasure of capturing. He loves having his photo taken and will even grab the camera from you and turn you into the model (he is a pretty good photographer, to boot). Whether you are staying at Captian’s Camp or not, make sure to go find Shaban. No trip to Wadi Rum is complete without his smile.