I saw a lot in my two weeks in Jordan, and one of the questions that I have been asked the most since I returned is: “Why did you come back? We were really enjoying the fact that you were gone.” Hmmmm… ;) Let’s however concentrate on another popular question that I’m getting, shall we? That questions is: “What did you enjoy the most on your trip to Jordan?” Not an easy question to answer since there is so much to see and do in Jordan. When I think about where I smiled the most (always a good measuring stick) I would have to say the Dead Sea area. Not only is this a special place for Jordan, but it is one of the coolest places I have ever visited anywhere. From the moment I first caught a glimpse of the salty lake on the way to Petra, I knew that I was going to be in for a treat. I was right! Just a few days after quickly driving by the Dead Sea, I arrived along with Khaled my fearless guide, and Rami our driver extraordinaire, at a small nondescript area at the side of the road where we were able to park the car safely on the banks of the sea. You’d have to know where to sop in order to get a good look at some of these incredible salt formations, and luckily for me Khaled knew exactly where to go.
It was a rather precarious climb down on steep rocky terrain, and often the rocks would slightly give way as I stepped on them. One bad slip and a tumbling down I’d go, along with some pretty expensive camera gear. Needless to say, we got down safely and I started to snap away, taking photos as quickly as I could. It is only a 30-40 metre climb down, but the temperature difference was astonishing. Immediately I was dripping wet with sweat and it was just going to get worse, so I knew I had to press on rapidly. This was not a place that I wanted to hurry so I just kept saying, ok… One More Photo! After saying this a dozen times, I was beginning to get lightheaded from the sun and incredible humidity, so we packed it up and made the climb back up to the car. The above image was one of the last ones that I shot in this incredible location, and I’m sure glad that I did. It was well worth the risky climb to be able to experience this unique environment first hand. As I returned to the car, I must have drank a litre of water in 10 seconds and poured another one over my head. If you’re visiting the Dead Sea area, make sure that you have plenty of water on hand, dehydration can be a very miserable experience, and who wants that when they are in such a wondrous place?
The Dead Sea is situated an incredible 423 metres BELOW sea level and is the lowest point on the planet on dry land. The waters are some of the saltiest of any body of water on Earth at 33.7% salinity. To contrast that, the world’s oceans are a mere 3.5%. The water stretches 67km North/South and 18 km East/West. I’ll have a lot more information about the natural wonders of the Dead Sea and surrounding areas, as well as some scientific facts and history of the region in future blog posts.
The Dead Sea is now a finalist in the ongoing competition for the new 7 Natural Wonders of the world. I know it gets my vote, and it can get yours too. Just visit the New Seven Wonders Official Site to vote and read up a bit more about this unique place.
I have to take a moment to thank Royal Jordanian Airlines for the outstanding flight and service that I experienced on this trip. I had the pleasure of visiting their offices in Amman and meet with Mr. Atalla who is the airline’s director of marketing, and he gave me me the whole history of the airline, and some great facts about his native land as well. I’ll be sharing some more info about Royal Jordanian in some future posts. When they heard that I was coming to Jordan to shoot for the tourism board, the good folks at RJ worked it out to fly me there in style. I was fortunate to be placed in “Crown Class” and I felt like a king. It’s nice to be able to sleep well on a seat that turns into a flat bed in a plane, and arrive at your intercontinental destination refreshed and ready to work. Thanks Royal Jordanian, it was a pleasure to fly with you, hope I can do it again soon.
If you’re looking to book a trip to Jordan, check out the RJ site by clicking on the banner below.
Enjoy more travel photos and stories:
Pete | Hecktic Travels says
Incredible photo Ken, and some great facts. Glad that you and your gear survived the shoot ;). And nice about flying in “Crown Class”. Pretty sweet gig bro!
Anne McKinnell says
Gorgeous image Ken, can’t wait to see more and hear more about this interesting place.
Gene Bowker says
I just had a co-worker return from there. I was amazed at his description of the Dead Sea, now with your post I really want to go and see it.
Carlos Garcia says
Fabulous capture Ken! I am planning on going to Israel next year and look forward to seeing the Dead Sea. As usual, your narrative is great!
So happy to meet you, Ken! Your site is gorgeous. I could spend hours looking through your photos — and just might. I look forward to following your adventure now!!
gregory urbano says
very cool sho, looks like ice!
Scott Lackey says
Fantastic! Tell us a bit about the camera/film/processing, if you can. Looks a bit different than some of your other photography.
Kristi Hines says
Great image! That is really some funky looking terrain!
Ken Kaminesky says
Hi Pete, the overall shoot was not dangerous, but this was one moment that was a bit risky. I would not recommend that anyone take their children to where this was shot, but any sure footed person could make the trek easily. I’m more concerned about dropping my gear than anything else.
Anne, there are a lot more photos and stories on the way. Looking forward to sharing them soon.
Gene, words don’t do the Dead Sea justice. It’s a must see AND experience place.
Carlos, I hope you get the chance to get to Jordan as well. Petra is a must see place, and for a man of faith such as yourself, there are so many important biblical historic sites to visit. You’re gonna love floating!
Abby, it’s my absolute pleasure to know that you’ve enjoyed browsing my site. Thanks again for being such an inspiration, I was really touched by your story and i hope we get a chance to meet one day :)
Gregory, one thing I can assure you of, is that there is absolutely no ice in that area whatsoever… Except perhaps in my drink back at the hotel :)
Scott, the process is quite similar to my usual workflow. I always shoot digitally,but this time I toned the hdr effects down a bit to keep a more photo like appearance.
Kristi, it was funky all right! one slip and I can just imagine how painful it would be to get all cut up on that jagged salt. Well worth the risk though :)
Leslie (Downtown Traveler) says
Yes! Love that you’ve started posting photos of your Jordan trip. It’s an amazing shot, as usual :) We didn’t make it to the Dead Sea with our US tourism delegation, but I want to return to Jordan and check it out! Can’t wait to see your photos of Petra!
Ken, I love your story about the guide and struggling up/down the hill for the perfect photographs. I also empathize with the dehydration as I’ve actually experienced it and it is so brutal. All of that to get this beautiful photograph? Well worth it my friend. It’s BEAUTIFUL. Makes me want to go to Jordan!!
Andi of My Beautiful Adventures says
Beyond stunning, but I expect that from you! :)
The Dead Sea is an amazing place, and I voted for it here: http://facebook.com/votedeadsea in the Nwe7Wonders of Nature campaign.
You are welcome to post your photos thee as well, they are amazing!!!!
A stunning photograph!
The Dead Sea is incredible. I’ve been on the Israel side but not the Jordan side yet. I’ve read that you can’t even get sunburned if you lie out all day because it’s so far below sea level, but I didn’t stick around long enough to find out. And I love that photo at the top of the page.
Jordan is really high on my list of places I’d like to visit so I’m really looking forward to your posts on the area. This photo is gorgeous – leaves me wanting to see more! =)
Ken Kaminesky says
Leslie, the Dead Sea was a highlight of the trip for me. You absolutely must return! :)
Kirsten, I was ok that day with the dehydration, it was in Petra that i got sick with sunstroke/dehydration. This was a few days before the Dead Sea. Always wear a hat and, drink a ton of water! You’d LOVE Jordan, awesome place for a photographer!
Olga & Elise, Andi, thanks so much :)
Sabina, That’s what they say, the sun is very mild there. Has to do with the being below sea level and such high concentration of oxygen.
Andrea, Thank you… there are a ton of new pics on the way :)
jill- Jack and Jill Travel The World says
That’s a neat pic. The dead sea sounds amazing – really hope we can make it there soon.
Awesome shot Ken! We looked everywhere for a cluster of salt like this but came up short, this one is incredible
Wow, truly gorgeous shot. The Dead Sea must have impressive landscapes, and your photography can capture them at their best.
Wow, gorgeous photo! It makes me want to visit the Dead Sea when I go to Jordan, and also reminds me that I should choose a cool month to visit.
Great shot! I had no idea it was below sea level. Cant wait to see and read more about your travels in Jordan.
Roy | cruisesurfingz says
Wow Ken, you’re out-done yourself again!
Clare Appleyard says
You are officially my new favourite landscape photographer. Period.
crazy sexy fun traveler says
The shot is full of energy :) Beautiful!
Justin Hamlin says
Gorgeous capture Ken! Like you said in your previous posts, nothing like suffering for your art. Beautiful.
Seguro Viagem Europa says
Hi, just a quick comment: Amazing Photos! Nice HDR tecniques! I put your Blog in my favorites, I will be visiting more often.
Incredible photo! Can’t wait to go there :)
Why dont you check out the Dead sea on the Israeli side.
I fell in love with the sunsets and Qumrum not to mention the great mud baths.. Flour Caves I can go on….
Definately gets a rate as a wonder of the world that is fast dying itself. Next time try reading a newspaper onthe water as you watch the beautiful sunsets.
Great post.And yes the water in the Dead Sea is extremely salty, and has been estimated to be the second saltiest major body of water in the world. Its name is derived from the fact that the water is far too salinated for marine inhabitation… Source http://deadseaproductstore.com
Great post, Ken. Thank you for sharing your story. Where and how were you able to find such locations? I searched so much on google (maps and search) and other photography forums but can’t seem to find any details as to where I can find such spots to photograph. Do you mind sharing how to get to these places? Everyone seems to agree that these are not near the resorts but somewhere south. Is that true? Thanks.
Ken Kaminesky says
As these are off limit places in many cases and also quite dangerous to get to, I’m not comfortable to share these details with anyone. Thanks so much for understanding.