"Basecamp" at the bottom of the Erta Ale volcano.
There was nothing here, save for a smattering of rock and stick huts providing shade and a tiny bit of protection from the wind. There was no water, no provisions and certainly no one else around. Or, at least that's how it is during the summer. I was told that in the peak winter (cooler) season, there can be up to 50 jeeps and a couple hundred tourists here. To capitalize on this income opportunity, locals set up camp and provide camels to lug gear and provisions up the volcano for these groups. Needless to say, there were no camels available for my use.
This is the point from which everyone walks the 10 or so kilometers up to the Erta Ale volcano summit, which is the highest point visible in this photograph, just to the right of center. Though a gentle grade, the hike was a brutal one in the furnace-like heat. Though I wanted to make it to the top for sunset, there was no way I would have been able to start walking in the middle of the afternoon when the heat was at it's peak. As a compromise, we started walking at 530pm. I achieved the summit three hours later, well after dark.
This is a 4-shot panorama stitched together in CS3.
Location: Denakil Depression, Ethiopia
Lens used: 24-105mm f4.0 IS