December 2019 Photo Contest Winner: Laurel Glassman, Chevy Chase, Maryland

Congratulations Laurel! You have won a year of free dues! September’s theme was deserts. Thanks to everybody who sent in their wonderful photos.

Photo: Laurel Glassman

If anything is certain, it’s the impossibility of taking a bad photo of Namibia’s dunes – unless you don’t take any photos at all. In the early morning, we hiked “Big Daddy,” which might more accurately be named the “Mother of All Dunes.” As we made our ascent, there was no viewpoint along the sweeping “S” curves of the dune that failed to afford bold contrasts of reds and oranges, challenging the softer blues of the crystal clear sky. From the peak, we joyfully ran down the steep slope to the Deadvlei salt pan, where 800-year-old Acacia tree skeletons opened their arms to us.


Dorothy Thompson, Richland Center, Wisconsin

Photo: Dorothy Thompson

Where the Sahara sands meet the sea … a man stands on shore thinking, the rolling waves of the seemingly endless Atlantic behind him. In Western Sahara, near Laayoune. It seems that the vast apparent emptiness of ocean and desert are especially conducive to reflection.

Joanruth Baumann, Friday Harbor, Washington

Photo: Joanruth Baumann

For half an hour these quietly desperate horses gathered at a bone-dry cement trough in the southern Gobi Desert, Mongolia. At 10 a.m. the solar-powered pump sprang to life and reluctantly released cool water into the dusty container where the hot, thirsty horses shared their first drink in 24 hours. The horse is life in the Gobi but water in this desert is even more precious. Within 10 minutes the water was gone and the horses turned back into the desert, to wait until tomorrow for their next drink.

Diana Soucy, The Villages, Florida

Photo: Diana Soucy

My husband and I recently traveled to Botswana with my son, his wife and my two grandchildren. While I had been there before, my family had not. As a special treat for me, I added Jack’s Camp in the Kalahari Desert to the itinerary. I had always dreamed of a photo with the habituated meerkats climbing all over me and sitting on my head. I just love meerkats, but apparently they are more attracted to beautiful young women, such as my granddaughter, than to seasoned old travelers like myself. I will NEVER live this down!

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