Oh Man, Oman!

I recently spent two weeks in the Sultanate of Oman, a small Arab state on the Southeast coast of the Arabian peninsula. I admit to not knowing much about the place before being invited as part of an international group of photographers on a customized tour. As a young boy, I remember the country having the name Muscat and Oman on my world map but that’s about it.

So I could say that I was overwhelmed by the photo opportunities in Oman – the colorful, friendly people, the mountains (the only country on the Arabian Peninsula with this feature), beaches, and pristine sand deserts – but I won’t. Instead, I’ll let my images tell the story, with only a few editorial comments sprinkled in.

Parched, The Wahiba Sands, Sultanate of Oman

The scene is extremely iconic and a photographic cliché, but would you turn away from the lucsious backlighting and elongated shadows on the rippled sand? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Hide and Seek, Ibra Market, Sultanate of Oman

Yes, this young boy was half heartedly hiding from me and my lens but it was obvious he wasn’t too distressed by the encounter. In fact, by the look of that winning smile of his, I’d say he was enjoying it! One of the best things about Oman was the simple curiosity and innocence of the people, unaccustomed as they are to tourists shoving cameras in their faces.

Circle of Life, Ras al-Jins Turtle Reserve, Sultanate of Oman

Just the two of us crawling around in the sand on our bellies – me grinning behind a wide-angle lens and this green sea turtle wearing a mask of strength and determination as she makes her way back to the waters of the Arabian Sea.

Man of Sur, Sultanate of Oman

This guy was one of my favorite photographic subjects and a new hero of mine. I mean, just look at him. He’s got that badass, I-don’t-give-a-crap aura about him and would you get a load of that beard? I shaved mine shortly thereafter out of shame and humiliation.

Diana’s Point, Jabal al Akhdar, Sultanate of Oman

The late Princess of Wales allegedly frequented this spot to get away from everything, hence the name given by the locals. Now I know all about the blown out sky in the upper right corner  of the image but I really don’t care. I found myself taking more of a photojournalistic approach on this trip and that gives me the excuse to just “let it be.” I feels pretty good, I must say.

The Corneche, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman

My friend Sergio and I talked our way onto the roof of an old hotel in order to get this view of Muscat at twilight.

Of Men and Melons, Nizwa, Sultanate of Oman

Melons and men talking about melons, because that’s what men do – talk about melons.

Sidewinder, Wahiba Sands, Sultanate of Oman

The exquisitely sculpted dunes of the Wahiba Sands with low-angled, warm sunlight of early morning. And for just a few minutes, I was a fine-art landscape photographer again and it too felt good.

Ghosts of Mutrah Souq, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman

The main souq (market) in downtown Muscat provided dozens of prime photo opportunities. For this image, I set up low on a tripod in the middle of the crowd and waited for men to walk by in their white robes, using a longish exposure to create an illusion of motion.

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  1. Posted April 22, 2014 at 12:30 am by Brendan | Permalink

    Awesome images, man!
    I love the one from the souq. I tried to do something similar there, but stupid gringos kept standing in the middle ruining my shot. haha

  2. Posted April 22, 2014 at 2:09 am by Massimo G | Permalink

    It’s not only the wonderful pictures that you are showing, but also the love for a newly discovered country. It comes straight from your heart, I can feel it.
    Great work indeed!

  3. Posted April 22, 2014 at 6:05 am by Barbara White | Permalink

    Hi Richard – Great shots – looks like you had a good time in Oman! I’m in Japan right now and have been using the Sony quite a lot. It burns up batteries like crazy, but I have a feeling two of my 3 batteries might be bad. The files are great, I love the fact that it shows you what’s in focus with red – using lens on manual, but it’s easy, peasy, Japaneasy, as they say here. On the other hand, when I want a camera that will last all day, I use the Canon. So, the verdict is still out.

    Loved our workshop! It was great to get to know you, and I hope to be on one of your others, and be a groupie!!!
    All the best,

  4. Posted April 22, 2014 at 8:54 am by David Johnston | Permalink

    Wow! It looks amazing. A lot of opportunity for different types of photographs. Even though I’m usually not into portraits, Man of Sur is probably my favorite

  5. Posted April 22, 2014 at 11:59 am by Jason Keefe | Permalink

    Great work Richard! What an honor to be invited on a trip like that. As usual, your images tell the story of the place in amazing fashion. Another inspiring essay. Thanks.

  6. Posted April 22, 2014 at 12:00 pm by Ralph du Plessis | Permalink

    Oh man, Great title 🙂 Love the shot of the camels. Reminds me of the George Steinmetz illusion shot from the air. See the first one on this page “Illusions of Arabia” http://www.georgesteinmetz.com/store/posters

  7. Posted April 23, 2014 at 12:16 am by Kelsey Price | Permalink

    Hi there! I currently live in Muscat, Oman while my husband and I work at the American School here. A friend of mine who follows your work gave me the link and I loved your photos. Totally iconic of Muscat and Oman!

  8. Posted April 25, 2014 at 12:24 pm by Lea Gallardo | Permalink

    Thank you. This was a really exciting groups of photos.

  9. Posted April 29, 2014 at 5:43 am by Theresa Baker | Permalink

    I have been lucky enough to live in this beautiful country for 14 years….It is safe to say that you have totally captured the spirit of Oman in your photos……thank you x

  10. Posted April 30, 2014 at 6:52 am by Sandra | Permalink

    Have visited so many times as we lived in the UAE then we went to live in Muscat for A year . It is a wonderful place the people the beaches and the mountains . The best all round country in the Middle East

  11. Posted April 30, 2014 at 12:49 pm by Julie Kinnear | Permalink

    It seems like Oman is the perfect place for a travel photographer, now I see what a colourful land is it. You inspired me to find out more and I’m surprised how little and improper knowledge I had, for example about the real status of women which seems to be close to ours (although I also found some different information about this topic). What was your impression?

  12. Posted April 30, 2014 at 11:03 pm by Niki | Permalink

    I began taking photos with a renewed interest when we moved to Oman several years ago. It was a stunning place for scenery and the light exposure made for wonderful pictures. We are now in Auckland taking in the sights of New Zealand. Very lucky to have lived in two stunningly beautiful countries.

  13. Posted May 1, 2014 at 6:07 am by Claire C | Permalink

    We lived in Oman for a year and I have to say your photos have really captured the joy and spirit of the place – they made me feel very nostalgic and want to go straight back there! I’m so pleased that a friend still in Muscat posted this link on Facebook! Thank you for your wonderful images and for your obvious feel for and love of the country. I’m so glad you have such lovely pictures of some of the people – they are delightful. (Julie Kinnear, as a woman I was always completely comfortable there and I was never hassled at all. You don’t have to cover up, though we were always modest out of respect. Do go – you’ll love it)

  14. Posted May 2, 2014 at 3:51 pm by athena | Permalink

    What a gifted young photographer you are! Looking forward to seeing more pictures like Oh man, Oman!

  15. Posted May 6, 2014 at 8:51 am by Phil | Permalink

    Many pro photographers are one hit wonders. Take them out of their home domain and they become desperately average photographers like most of us. But not you Richard! You always eek out great shots no matter where you are. ‘Parched’ is your classic style. But “Ghosts of Mutrah Souq” is really different. Don’t get bored!
    Cheers Rich from Bali.

  16. Posted June 24, 2014 at 10:46 am by Lori Cannon | Permalink

    I found your photographs stunning
    Oman I would definitely like to visit
    Ty for this glimpse Richard 🙂

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