Grabbing the camera, already setup on the tripod, and heading out to the balcony, the hazy sunrise over the peaks of Jabal Shams, in the Sultanate of Oman provided good reason to smile. We were staying at the aptly named “The View”, an Indian owned resort which overlooks the town of Al Hamra, and treats guests to a panoramic vista of the valley. It makes the claim “it takes your breath away”, bold, but as these images testify, also true.
Jabal Shams, means the mountain of the sun, and is the highest summit in the Sultanate, and when the sun creeps over it’s summit, it seems to wear a shining crown of sunlight.
There was a low-lying mist stubbornly clinging to the bottom of the valley, and swirling around the base of the craggy hills. The rocky summits seemed to climb out of the hazy blanket, reaching up towards the rapidly, brightening sky, and leaving the valley floor far below. The mist flowed like ethereal treacle, covering everything with a soft, out of focus appearance, as if viewed through Perspex.
Looking into the distance, each ridge seemed to fade away, giving the scene a layered feel, the most distant appearing as vague, jagged shapes on the horizon.
The town of Al Hamra sits nestled at the foot of the hills, spread across the valley floor like stone flower beds. Ghostly, orange hued clouds seemed to sit overhead, barely drifting on the still morning, providing a static, sunlit shroud high above the old town. It looked especially spectacular from the high vantage point of The View.
As the sun crept above the highest peak, it bathed the valley in a golden glow, the spectral mist diffusing the light, adding to an illusion of softness in the rugged landscape of the Omani mountains. As the warming influence of the sun spread over the rock strewn terrain, it slowly burned away even the stickiest mist from every hidden hollow.
By the time our closest star had climbed high into the sky, the sky glowed a fiery yellow, the clouds burned with inner heat, a very satisfied photographer was tucking into his morning muesli.