Hunting for desert wildlife in the U.A.E. is something that I try to do on a regular basis. Most of the time it is a game of hide and seek. Either at night time or early mornings, the process of finding the creatures that inhabit the desert starts with tracks.
The tracks left behind from the previous night's activities give a sense of life in the otherwise emptiness of the desert. It feels as though you are always a second or two behind the creature that has left its mark on the sand. My eyes eagerly follow the contours and divots. I try to gather as much information as I can before the wind, even though generally gentle, wipes away the the track history forever. Questions race through my mind: is it a serpent, mammal, insect or bird? Was it moving left or right or going down or coming up the dune? It is an adult or a juvenile? How old are these tracks and where are they heading to?
It is really a race against the clock. I have to beat the sun as most creatures return to their hiding places before the full sun of the day. The wind also blows away the delicate tracks and leaves me little time to find out what it is I am following. It is this delicate balance between the wind, the past night's activities and the light of day that together make these tracks the permanent ephemerality of the desert.