A day to day account of the March 2019 trip from our photographer Renato Granieri.
Day 1: Thursday 14th March 2019
Arrive in Marrakesh, Morocco
We are met at Marrakesh airport by our local guide Brahim. Later in the evening we meet our photography tour leader Renato for a chat about the next day. D
Day 2: Friday 15th March 2019
Drive to the Sahara Desert at Erg Chigaga
Today we have a long drive ahead. We leave at 7am after a traditional Moroccan breakfast, a mix of French pastries and some warm local bred with honey, accompanied by a tasty fresh orange juice. The journey is long, but when we leave Marrakesh we have only one thing in mind, arrive at the sand dunes in time for the sunset. The breath-taking landscapes keep our mood high, and the excitement increases as we get closer to our final destination. The camp is modest but warm, and after a fresh mint hot tea, we start exploring the dunes in a soft light. That’s what we are here for!
We have arranged for a Bedouin and some camels. We run up and down the dunes looking for different compositions. We are tired but very satisfied with this photo opportunity and end the day dining outside under the stars.
Day 3: Saturday 16th March 2019
Drive to Ait Ben Haddou
We get up early, and take advantage of the sunrise for more sand dunes shots before we pack up and head for Ait Ben Haddou. A fortified Berber settlement, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site nestling on the southern slopes of the High Atlas Mountains; it is one of Morocco’s most picturesque settings. We have arranged another activity for the afternoon, an exclusive session with a snake charmer with the old Kasbah in the background.
We then head for the Kasbah. Its famous merchants’ houses have been the location of many film scenes including Jesus of Nazareth, Lawrence of Arabia and more recently, Game of Thrones. We climb right to the top, where the view of this Biblical place is mind-blowing. We then go down again to set up our shot of the from distance for the sunset.
Day 4: Sunday 17th March 2019
Capturing the vibrant life in Djemma-el-Fna in Marrakesh
We have some time for another shooting session at sunrise, and we return to the stream we visited the day before. It’s cloudy and moody, adding drama to the sky and the old village reflected in the water. Black and white proved to be a good option, but not the only one.
We arrive in Marrakesh in the afternoon, and we head out to explore this busy and vibrant city. We plan a shot from a high point and we enjoy a mint tea on the balcony looking down Djemma-el-Fna, while waiting for the best light. It’s windy, a bit rainy, but that doesn’t stop us from capturing the bubbling life lit up by jugglers, acrobats and controversial animal display.
As the light fades away we have another evening activity arranged before dinner at a traditional Moroccan restaurant. We enjoy a traditional belly dancer show privately organised for us. A different photographic challenge that allows us to trying different settings. In this case I used a slow shutter speed to add some blur. I composed to include the belly-button as my main subject and placed it roughly in the centre of the image.
Day 5: Monday 18th March 2019
Discover Marrakesh and end of the tour
We leave the hotel when it’s still dark, and head for the Medina for a sunrise shot. We look for opportunities, unusual viewpoints and interesting compositions.
Not long after, a few people arrive in the square at the Mosque and feed pigeons early in the morning. Time to switch settings and include flying birds in the shot of the iconic Medina.
We are joined by Hanane, our guide for the day, who takes us around to visit a few iconic sites
We have lunch at the top of a restaurant looking down Djemma-el-Fna. Time to say goodbye, and we head for the airport where the tour ends.
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