Instructor: Yiannis Rizomarkos
From the peaks of the High Atlas to the Atlantic Ocean dunes, this travelogue was designed according to the aims of the photographer-traveler and offers a comprehensive overview of the exceptionally diverse landscape and exciting South Moroccan culture.
Travelling around with 4×4 vehicles, we will cross the eternal paths of nomads and merchants through epic mountain ranges, rocky deserts and ancient cities, we will approach distant Berber villages and photograph the lyrical landscapes and the traditional lifestyle of the tribes of the High Atlas. In Marrakech, we will wander through the maze of the medina (old town) and the suk (market) among vendors, acrobats and sorcerers, musicians and snake charmers, and we will create images of the frenzied pulse of the city. The photographic adventure ends at Essaourira, on the Atlantic coast of Morocco. Dunes and exciting seascapes, windsurfers and locals who play beach football on weekends, the colorful harbor and the atmosphere of the fortified medina will provide us with authentic travel photos that capture the character of the place and as well as our feelings. As part of the trip, participants will photograph daily with Yiannis, taking personal advice on the approach of the subject and the editing of their images.
The trip to the South starts from Tizi n’Tichka, the tallest mountain pass in North Africa of an altitude of 2,260 meters. On our way we will enjoy the breathtaking view of the Atlas Mountains with the many small traditional villages of Berber and photograph the traditional process of making Argan Oil from local women in one of the many associations. Following the classic route of the caravan to the strange Kasbah (fortress) of the medieval Telouet style with its Moorish architecture, we will hear stories that will enliven our photos, while the late afternoon we will record the light that falls on the ancient clay walls in the photogenic village Aït Ben Haddou (declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site).
Continuing our journey with 4 × 4 vehicles we will be off-road, in the valleys with the thousand Kasbah and next to unusual rocky formations and will explore narrow gorges. Spring is the best time to admire the Dades River and the lush gardens along the almond trees and walnuts paths, as well as the rosy pink meadows passing through the ”Valley of the Roses”. We will meet families of nomads who still live in caves in the rugged mountainous landscapes of the High Atlas and spend time drinking a glass of tea with them and taking snapshots of their everyday lives.
The journey to the Atlas is completed after 4 days in the strategically located Ouarzazate, the “Gate of Sahara”. Surrounded by dramatic landscapes, loved by a number of cinematographic crews (scenes from the films “The Gladiator,” “Laurence of Arabia” and “Alexander” have been filmed in the surrounding area), they have been bringing together for centuries traders who made their purchases within the walls of Kasbah Taourirt.
Following the route to the Atlantic, we will have a two full day time in Marrakech to get lost in his medina and capture the colorful chaos of the central Djemma el Fna (declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO), the magnificent Majorelle Garden, the architecture, the bazaars and the energy of this ancient city.
Extended program: For the lucky ones who will continue the trip with the instructor for for 3 more days, Essaouira on the Atlantic coast and surrounding areas will be our latest photographic stop. The atmospheric fishing harbor with the blue boats, the medina with the wavy bastions (registered in the UNESCO heritage), the long sandy beach that attracts windsurfers from all over the world and hides within its ruined medieval castles, the world’s only Argan tree forest to which the goats climb over the Argan trees to “collect” the fruit, make Essaourira the perfect photo finish of the trip.
Morocco is a country with somber diversity, warm hospitality and hundreds of faces. Everything is ready to welcome all those who are looking for yet another photo adventure!
The trek is addressed to everyone, regardless of their photographic level, to beginners with basic technical knowledge, as well as to more experienced photographers who want to acquire a strong travel portfolio. Participants should have a laptop for the editing of their pictures.
Suggested prior knowledge: Photography Basics