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Travel Photography Inspiration Project: Morocco

Morocco is one of the few countries on this planet I have visited and I am happy to highlight it for the Travel Photography Inspiration Project. What I liked about Morocco were not only the markets and popular sites, but also getting out to the coast to the relaxing town of Essaouira. It’s so close to Europe and an easy boat ride lands you on the shores of a different continent. The bustle of a port town gives way to open regions dotted with farms and mosques.

The images below are from your fellow DPS readers and attempt to show their experience in this vibrant country. If a picture is worth a thousand words, let’s start a 40,000 word journey through Morocco!

This is the sixteenth country we are covering the DPS reader fueled DPS Travel Photography Inspiration Project. (sorry the list is not being updated at the moment due to a technical difficulty, but we are proceeding through as many countries as we can cover!)

If you would like to be involved in the next country’s post, drop me a line here.

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Djemaa El-Fna coming alive at at dusk by Kirsty Larmour

Use a slow shutter speed and a steady table, railing – or even better a tripod! – and capture the movement and hustle and bustle of a crowded area.

Merzouga -desert tree

Merzouga – Desert tree by Federico Campeggi

Location: Draa valley. This is one of my favourite shot because for me it represent the life growing up in such a difficult environment as the desert. I decided to freeze the tree on the left side of the pic, not in the center, in order to draw the viewer’s attention not only on the tree itself, but also on the sand dunes, in order to reach a good balance between loneliness (the desert) and life (the tree).

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Exploring by Janice Rotinsky

Exploring the narrow back streets of the old cities is a constant surprise. This old tannery was visible through a small opening in the wall. The people are very friendly and welcomed us in to take photos when they saw us peaking in.

Erg Chebbi

Dunes of Erg Chebbi by Angus McIntyre

Foreground detail can make sand dunes more interesting.

Man and donkey, Fes medina, Morocco

Man and donkey, Fes medina by Marcy L

This man was resting in an alley of the Fes medina. Tip: Be aware of the local culture, and ask permission before taking a picture if that’s expected. This man gave me permission to take his picture for a tip.

Rabat IX

Rabat IX by Reena Mahtani

Colourful tradition and modernity together. The three girls were playing with their phones by the sea, a bit like everywhere else in the world.

Morocco

Untitled by Karo Krassel

Cap Spartel Lighthouse

Cap Spartel by Peter West Carey

Location: Where the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea meet, Morocoo

Tip: While we were reluctant at first, facing a  hour delay at the train station meant we hired a cab/guide for the day to see some quick sites in Tangier, the main port across from Europe. We were happy we did as we saw sights we never would have experienced if we saved a few bucks and hung out at the train station. Paying a cabbie a half-day fare can be a great idea for last minute sightseeing.

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Peeking through the beads by Kirsty Larmour

If travelling with your kids remember to get down to their level and take pictures of the things they find fascinating too – little girls always love sparkly things!!!

woman passing doorway

woman passing doorway – sidi ifni by Michael Robert Powell

Look for patterns in colors. This was a quick shot. The original was good but in post-production I improved it with a slight crop, also removing a powerline and sharpening the wall texture.

Merzouga - Desert storm

Merzouga – Desert storm by Federico Campeggi

We reached Merzouga on a late evening, with the aim to go through Erg Chebby desert the day after. as soon as we arrived, we were caught by a powerful storm, so I decided to go up to the roof of my room to take some pictures. I choose a 30″ exposure and after 4 or 5 shots I was lucky enough to get that shot of the lightening

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Merzouga desert by Janice Rotinsky

The red sand dunes at the edge of the Sahara are stunning. There’s plenty of opportunity to go on a camel ride anywhere from a couple hours to overnight. We were just sitting on the dunes waiting for sunset when I spotted this guide leading his camels home.

High Atlas near Agouim

Landscape in the Atlas Mountains by Angus McIntyre

The intense colors of the High Atlas are stunning; rent a car rather than taking public transport, so you can stop where you want.

Sheep heads Fes medina Morocco

Sheep heads, Fes medina by Marcy L

You never know what you’ll see when you turn a corner in the narrow, crowded alleys of the Fes medina. Tip: Keep your mind open to unusual subject matter.

Meknes I

Meknes I by Reena Mahtani

Long hours in trains can also give you an insight of the country. This mother was telling stories and playing with her daughter. I wish I could speak French to understand what they were talking about!

Morocco

Streetphotography in Essouira by Karo Krassel

Photoidea: Most people in Morocco don’t like to get photographed (religious purpose). So it’s best to try to be invisible while photographing. Have your camera ready for the next shot to be able to quick make a photo as you are passing by a street. In morocco it’s better if you don’t run around with the camera around your neck – better have it in a small bag close to you or with a scarf covered. Like this it’s easier to be “invisible”, to not show that you could take a photo every moment and also to keep your camera save from not getting stolen.

To get shots of moments you need to be fast. Know your camera to be able to handle it quick.

woman at beach morocco

woman at beach by Michael Robert Powell

Custom dictates that women in public – even when going to the beach should be covered; this also applies to swimming. Here a young female looks out towards the rest of her family in the water … This black and white conversion enhances her sense of solitude (amid the sands: looking like a Sahara-scape).

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Casablanca At Dusk By Peter West Carey

Tip: Don’t stop shooting when the sun goes down, but do find something to brace your camera against. In this case, a balcony railing will suffice.

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Mint tea by Kirsty Larmour

Take photos of the local food and and drink as a way to take you back to the evocative tastes and smells of Morocco

Legzira beach - Morocco

Legzira beach by Federico Campeggi

Personally this is one of the most beautiful beaches in Morocco, located in the south of the country, around 200 km from the Western Sahara.

We reached this beach on a late evening, around 6 pm. my attention was instantly drawn to the 2 beautiful arches that, starting from the cliff, dive into the sea. so I tried to include both of them in the frame of the picture by walking for 10 meters into the sea to reach the final composition.

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Untitled by Janice Rotinsky

One of the reasons I enjoy travelling is to see the locals go about their daily lives. Just by chance I caught this group of men resting in their carts. It helps to have a zoom lens so it isn’t evident that you’re taking their photo.

Marrakesh sunset

Sunset and minaret of the Koutoubia mosque, Marrakesh by Angus McIntyre

Minarets improve skylines (but minarets against blue sky make dull photos)

Woman and donkey Ait Ben Haddou Morocco

Woman and donkey, Ait Ben Haddou by Marcy L

Some families still live in this ancient fortified city in Morocco. Parts of the Russell Crowe film Gladiator were filmed here. Tip: Include local people in your long shots to give a sense of the scale and the atmosphere.

Fes III

Fes III by Reena Mahtani

My highlight of Morocco is the food. Starting with the simple bread they give you everywhere, the pastries that they eat with mint tea, pastelas and tajines. Yummy!

Morocco

Untitled by Karo Krassel

While I was having my van at the mechanic, there was this local guy there. We got into a conversation, he told us crazy stories about his last year in prison (which he actually really enjoyed because you get free food and have a free bed), while this I was making these portraits (after asking if that would be alright).

Photoidea: You want to take closer photos of people, don’t just go in front and make a shot, ask them first! Not only that they don’t like it, you could also get in some trouble. The best is to get to know them, talk to them for a while, perhaps have some friends with you talking to them, ask them between if you can take photos and if yes, take your time while you are having a conversation to make some pics. But don’t forget to really listen to the people, you will hear some amazing stories and learn about the life in morocco!

essaouira

old city of essaouira by Michael Robert Powell

This Atlantic coast destination is a traveler’s favorite (and I’ve visited Essaouira in 1991 and 2007). This image was shot from a harbor tower adding a depth of field with the stone wall then the inclusion of the seagull drifting your eyes towards the old city.

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Volubilis Panorama by Peter West Carey

A panorama of the ancient Roman ruins at Volubilis, Morocco.  The panorama was stitched from 21 different photos shot in a vertical orientation.

Tip: Some shots are just a little too big. Practice shooting panoramas before you go.

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Decorations for Sale by Kirsty Larmour

The colours of the souks are amazing – close up pictures of some of the little details you see make wonderful colourful pictures even without seeing the whole scene

Merzouga - Dromedaries

Merzouga – dromedaries by Federico Campeggi

When leaving Merzouga and Erg Chebby desert we saw these dromedaries crossing the street. I jumped off the car and waited for the dromedaries to walk close to the sand dunes in order to include also them within the frame of the picture.

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Moroccan Mosques by Janice Rotinsky

The religious architecture in Morocco is beautiful. It’s often hard to show the grandeur of a building in a photo, it helps to have a person in the picture to gain perspective. Even better when it happens naturally.

Cooks

Cooks in the Djemaa el-Fna by Angus McIntyre

Marrakesh’s Djemaa el-Fna is heavily touristed, but there are still good shots to be had at early evening, when the square comes alive.

Marrakech VIII

Marrakech VIII by Reena Mahtani

Djemaa El Fna can be a very tempting shopping spot. Carrying a small backpack is essential to avoid buying lots of stuff. I brought back to England around 15 kilos, including coffee, a small carpet, a pair of leather shoes and plenty of gifts for my friends.

Morocco

Kids playing football on the beach of Sidi Kaouki before sunset by Karo Krassel

Photoidea:  Morocco has an incredible light. Get up early to make pictures at sunrise or go out with your camera before sunset and make some silhouette photos or to get your motive in the best light.

fish tagine

tagine – a traditional moroccan dish by Michael Robert Powell

A tasty, must-try meal in Morocco is Tagine. It simmers for some hours and is then eaten straight from the clay cooking bowl. Its ingredients vary across the country but in this instance it was fresh fish. This simple image fills the frame, with a nice contrast of blue table mat and colorful meal.

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Nothing On TV by Peter West Carey

Tip: Everyday things can be the most interesting when seen in a different context. Shoot the obvious.

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Peter West Carey is a world traveling photographer who now is spending a large amount of time going back through 6 years of travel photo and processing them like he should have to start with. He is also helping others learn about photography with the free series 31+ Days Of Photography Experiments which builds off of the 31+ Days To Better Photography series on his blog.

Some older comments

  • Michal France

    February 15, 2013 04:34 am

    beautiful pictures! for inspiration here is also my gallery form 10days stay in this beautiful country:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/90949112@N02/sets/72157632749097721/

    and some pictures I liked particularly

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/90949112@N02/8467735117/in/set-72157632749097721

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/90949112@N02/8467734729/in/set-72157632749097721

    :

  • MyNorthAfrica

    January 21, 2013 05:12 am

    Great photos, they capture the true morocco!

  • Sam Azmy

    January 19, 2013 04:19 am

    very nice, I have some travel photography as well on
    500px.com/sazmy

    thanks for your critiques

  • Fiona Carroll

    January 18, 2013 09:42 pm

    Glorious photographs ! Thankyou for sharing. Sound advice regarding being senstitive to the fact most Moroccans really don't want their picture taken. Particularly now with the internet , Facebook being a great concern to them.

  • Naomi Roberts

    January 18, 2013 04:28 am

    I have visited Morrocco on several occasions and just loved it for the great travel photgrsaphy opportunities.

    I particulary liked the colours that abound, Here is a set that shows them

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/24208738@N06/sets/72157624379809255/

  • Ania

    January 18, 2013 03:36 am

    Very beautiful photos, quite inspirational :)

    Morocco is a true photographer's dream... I've spent 6 months there recently and took thousands of pictures that I'm still sifting through and processing, here is just a few -

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/mytidbits/sets/72157627329590944/

    It's hard to pick a favorite but these 2 come close :)

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/mytidbits/7026457465/in/set-72157627329590944
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/mytidbits/6099889261/in/set-72157627329590944

  • Fotomaniac

    January 17, 2013 02:33 am

    I like this photo, here some my pictures:
    http://www.fotomaniac.it/marocco.asp?Categoria=Marocco

  • Jana

    January 16, 2013 09:08 am

    Morocco is fascinating country. At every corner one looks you can see something amazing, yet different.

  • ccting

    January 14, 2013 12:43 pm

    Hi Peter,

    Why Malaysia is not in your list ;(..

  • Lynda Morris

    January 14, 2013 09:15 am

    Just come back from Morocco and thought these were just the right tone

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/56737568@N05/sets/72157632218419407/

  • Roy

    January 13, 2013 03:42 am

    Inspiring photos. Adding Morocco to my list of destinations.
    Peter West's photo feels like a Morocco classic.

  • Mustofe77

    January 12, 2013 09:37 pm

    I really like the social photography as some of the photo above, as this photo shows what one is happening in the community and can increase our empathy for others. The photos are nice.

  • Larry Lourcey

    January 12, 2013 04:59 am

    Those are some amazing images! I've never been there but it looks like I may need to add it to the Photography Bucket List. Thanks for sharing!

  • Vikas Singh

    January 12, 2013 12:26 am

    Having such a beautiful post like this in my inbox really made my day! Its brilliant, the pictures, the captions, the story behind ever picture, everything!

  • Supermillo

    January 12, 2013 12:06 am

    I've been in Morocco in semptember 2012: amazing country!!
    Here some pictures:
    http://500px.com/photo/21935449

  • Mei Teng

    January 11, 2013 11:22 am

    Beautiful country. Love the photo of the tagine.

  • scottc

    January 11, 2013 07:50 am

    Beautiful photos, I had a very short stay in Morocco once and it is a photogenic Country. Travel photography is one of my favorite subjects.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lendog64/sets/72157626181080349/

  • Andy Martin

    January 11, 2013 06:43 am

    Thanks, Peter! I'm headed to Morocco next month and can't wait to see and photograph the sites for myself.

  • Alan

    January 11, 2013 04:59 am

    Beautiful pics and sound advice. I just love Morocco! Well done!

  • John Velocci

    January 11, 2013 03:37 am

    I like the Decorations picture. I have a similar picture here. http://500px.com/photo/20502487

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