Driving through the desert at dawn to Al Ain near the border with Oman, I noticed racing camels having a morning run at the local track. After a few shots of groups of camels cantering (if they do that?) I was invited onto the track to take some more shots.
This scene is very traditional apart from one thing - the Robot Jockey
Camel racing used to involve human jockeys on board. Literally they were velcro-ed in place. With 'the need for speed', jockeys were as small as possible and so small children were used. As you could imagine if you've ever tried to get on one if these beasts, let alone walk while mounted, jockeying a running camel must have been incredibly dangerous.
In a nod to human rights and 'elf and safety, in the past 5-6 years human child jockeys were banned and robot jockeys took their place. They have a radio controlled 'arm' and whip to gee on the camel, and a loud speaker to play 'motivational' sound effects. The sight of a pack of 30 or so running in a race, chased by Toyota Landcruisers with Emiratis hanging out of the sunroof with radio controllers must be something else! I have to get to a race soon :-)
So with all things traditional in the photo (apart from the above) and very rare nice early morning light I decided to give the black and white conversion a more vintage effect.
Oh, and here's a mugshot: