I have recently returned from my adventure workshop in Morocco. It was a resounding success. So many great photos created, so many amazing meals eaten and best of all so so many incredible places seen. A really once in a lifetime experience and I am so glad I could share it with a group of amazing people!
We started off in the mysterious and busy city of Marrakech where we met and planned for our night shooting in the Sahara and beyond.
Loading into two Toyota 4×4’s we headed out over the mountains and down into the desert valleys, stopping along the way to capture the mesmerising landscape.
Each Riad we stayed in had its own charm and was totally different to the next. And all the food was amazing (just wanted to say that again!).
After Marrakech we made a stop at Telouet Kasbah on our way out to Erg Chigaga camp in the Sahara desert, the Erg was a real bucket list item for me for many years and it did not disappoint, in fact, just the opposite, it went beyond my wildest expectations as a destination, and I’ll tell you why – the light! O wow…I know a thing or two about light and I have always pursued its qualities and purity, but the desert surprised me with a few new mysteries about light. First, depth – it is really hard to judge distance, and I am talking about crystal clear days.
It was quite an experience to be in such an expanse of beauty, heat and sun and have the thought of getting lost…But, we had our local guide, Ibriham, who said this place was like his backyard. Nothing like a good guide right!
There were a few other optical sights that I had a hard time defining – like the light and shadow from the really low sun appearing to bend along the gentle curve of a dune combined with a light wind blowing sand across the surface and making it “fuzzy” and appear like, what?…frosted and smoked glass. Like I said, it is really hard to describe. I thought it a wonder to see. Not sure if it could be captured with a camera – that kind of thing.
After a dawn shoot in the dunes Ibriham took us back out into the dunes for a 3 hour “tour” of the dunes. I think this may have been my favourite part of visiting the Sahara – walking really far from camp, having no idea where we were, but trusting in our Berber guide. Amazing!
Turns out we really were not that far from camp but after 200 meters the camp sort of disappears, even from high dunes…bring plenty of water!
Morocco hasn’t hard a hard rain since 2016. The place is really in a water crisis, but somehow life persists. The Fennec Fox, the Sandfish, Beetles, Kangaroo mouse and others. Ibrahim caught and released a beautiful sandfish (looked like a shovel-nosed lizard). When he released it, I thought it would scurry away over the dunes, but it went straight into the sand and was gone in a second. Amazing. We didn’t get to see the beautiful Fennec or other creatures, but we came across their tracks everywhere – telling little stories and their life and travels.
We left Erg Chigaga on a real high; two full days on the dunes, eating and sleeping well in a beautiful camp.
Our next night was wild camping under the stars 2 hours West from the dunes somewhere in the Zagora Province.
Camping under the stars in the desert is an experience never to be forgotten. The weather was perfect. We had good clouds for sunrise and sunset and a pitch black night for long exposure photography of the milkyway. We were so thrilled and stayed up late playing with light painting palm trees and rocks.
We woke the next morning for a dawn shoot in the same area as the previous evening – always good to explore the same place again in different light.
That evening we went back out to the place we shot for sunrise to do some more light painting, since it was such a blast.
The next afternoon we made our way back to Marrakech for the last day of the workshop. He had a private walking tour and visited the Museum of Photography, which, if you are ever in Marrakech, I highly recommend going to. It was wonderful!
Our last night together overlooking Marrakech from a fancy restaurant was an exquisite closing to a stunning and wild adventure.
There were a lot of good photographic practices that I found useful in Morocco – like how important it is to keep your kit clean and dust free, how important it is to scout beforehand, and just be prepared for contingencies that may arise.
Oh yes we rode Camels too!
Has Morocco ever been a must go destination for you?
I’d love to know what you think of the photos, please comment below. It’s always awesome to hear your thoughts.