Tortillis – Dust Bowl

Tortillis means dust in Maasai,  and during our visit we certainly had no shortage of dust.  It was at Tortillis that I saw and photographed my first mirage.  Mirages are tricks of the atmosphere, optical illusions caused when a layer of air next to the ground becomes superheated from heat stored in the soil or in dark pavement. The boundary between this hot – and therefore less dense – air and the cooler, denser air above it bends the light rays that strike it, acting like a giant mirror or lens held parallel to the ground.  Water mirages paint lakes across parched desert sands, deluding desert travelers.  Having traveled the dry beds of Tortillis, I would hate to find myself in a situation where I was mentally incapable of recognizing the mirage for what it is.  Looking at the image below, you can see the “lake reflection” or mirage just below the horizon.  Trust me, there is no water out there!

Tortillis Dust Bowl and Mirage

Nikon D3s, 70-200 mm f2.8, ISO 200, f/10 at 1/320 sec

Returning from swamps of Tortillis National Park, a small head of elephants make their way across the dry lake bed toward the forests of Tanzania.

Elephant family heading toward Tanzania

Nikon D3, 200-400mm @ 400,  f/4, ISO 320, f/8.o at 1/320 sec (hand held)

Image captured HERE


Cheers and happy photo’ing