Desert Storm

by Eckhard Bick February. 13, 2017 1807 views

It's a little desert, near Maspalomas, nestled on the south-eastern edge of Gran Canaria, facing Africa, harvesting sand from the high winds blowing out of the Sahara, and mixing those sand with local ground shells and black volcanic sands. A storm had raged all night, raising both sea and sands.

Off the edge

The wind tolerated no contours but its own, every little stone was edged in sand.


And the wind much preferred the stoneless soft sand ridges, softening them in blurry whirls and whisps.


The wind was fierce, driving sand towards the sea, back to Africa. People were not its priority, and it would not let you turn back.


The storm traced lines both horizontal and vertical, creating a Martian sandscape, fractal in its intricacies, uncertain of its dimensions. Cheating the eye.


Abrasion off wounded cliffs, cuts in the skin of dunes. Unveiling the anatomy of the desert, Atlantic black on African white, volcanic lines in the vast sea of shell sand. First shadow stolen from the noon sun.


Desert skin

This desert has an elemental twin. As sand churns in the dunes, the sea is roiling, pebbles flung on the sand, a gnawing border cut into the foot of the last dune. A path of two physics.


A human trace

The storm had only one night. For all its power, it could not erase the human trace. Yet.

Join the conversation
There are 2 comments , add yours!
Ram Ya 4 years, 7 months ago

#1 Great capture of this motion
#3 Love the human element
#8 Haven't seen such a photo anywhere before. Is this really desert and sea?

4 years, 7 months ago Edited
Eckhard Bick Replied to Ram Ya 4 years, 7 months ago

Thanks! And yes, this is the Atlantic Ocean gnawing at the Maspalomas desert on Gran Canaria. It's small for a desert, and you could call it dunes, but it's not like a simple row of dunes along the sea, either - it's a real sand space with many dunes reaching far away from the sea. I think the genesis is complex, too, including both ground material from the sea, and sand blown across from the Sahara desert. I've seen satellite imagery of sandstorms "connecting" the islands to Africa.

4 years, 7 months ago Edited