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Morocco, what a wild adventure


PCNW

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Atravelynn

Camels in the sunset/sunrise are classics.

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@xyz99 There are two desert areas that people consider, Erg Chebbi, closest to Fes and easier to get to and Erg Chigaga, closest to Marrakesh. I read up on both and the Chigaga option seemed the least commercial and truer desert experience….and three hours away from the closest town. But Chebbi has taller dunes, as I understand. There are more camp options in Chebbi but they’re more crowded too. The desert experience there is very close to a town.

 

At Luxury Desert Camp they try to keep you occupied so however long you want to ride a camel is up to the guest. To go for a sundowner they take you to the top of a dune that has been set up with pillows, wine and a table. This trip takes about 25 min. It was a pleasant ride. But getting up with that camel….oh my gosh. It’s in three parts, first you’re slung one way, then the other and back again like a wet noodle. Seriously you feel like you’re in a cartoon. We were so certain that the threesome heading out would fall off we hung around and video taped it…but they were a disappointment by not falling off and doing just fine.

 

Star gazing….xyz99 the one night I considered setting up my tripod and giving it a go it was too cloudy and I baled on the idea. The other nights we sat around chatting with a wine glass in our hand and hit the sack early. But everything I read about the desert was how great the stars were….and the silence.

 

@atravelynn The classic pics were actually arranged and would have made a comical video. There were three of us directing the camel driver, waving our arms in an exaggerated manner and having to yell like a fish wife. “Ok, walk this way…now go back…no, no, go back!....turn around and try again!.....no, don’t let that little camel catch up with the big one!...ok, one more time…” Finally I looked up and the camel driver had just sat down…I guess he was done with us.

 

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Earthian

I went though the whole report again and was again impressed by the quality of the photographs. Your portraits are great. Good equipment, PP can only take a person so far. It is that something else, that eye, which transforms a good photograph to true art. You have that.

Just for the sake of us lesser mortals, could you include one photograph as shot? Without PP?

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Sangeeta

Patsy, what a pleasure to see this. You have managed to capture on camera that special something that is so unique to the Maghreb, but that is not just a function of the light or the colors or the landscapes or the people or the livestock. It took me back 30 years - esp the medina at Chefchaouen (that has changed not a bit) and the hammam story (still exactly the same! Did your scrubbing lady have tattoos on her forehead?) and those Berber blues - in the eyes of the people, their turbans, their walls, their seas, their skies- that blue is just dazzling! Your portraits are superb. You should really think of exhibiting your people images.

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Peter Connan

Stunning stunning stunning.

 

Thank you for dessert desert!

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Your portraits are superb. You should really think of exhibiting your people images.

 

I second that !

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Your portraits are superb. You should really think of exhibiting your people images.

 

I second that !

 

 

And i third that!

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@@Earthian many any thanks to all for the votes of confidence. I used to have a bad case of GAS...gear acquiring syndrome but now my focus is on editing and also creative portrait lighting. I sit for hours watching tutorials to the point that I should be teaching photography and sadly only just a beginner. I'd be glad to share what I know in the hopes that the more experienced photographers on this site will share their secrets...which I imagine they would say is getting it right in camera and not in PP.

 

I've tried to find the images that were taken in difficult light and needed the most help.

 

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In an ongoing attempt to show that my images are not much different than yours @@Earthian here are a few more. I truly think the real talent is in the editing...and I believe those that are impressed with their "straight out of the camera" are going to be left behind. No doubt the pro's can start with the best image but all/most can make any photo better with editing.

 

There's a duplicate here that I can't get rid of. Also just know that the Nikon D800 offers a big dynamic range to work with.

 

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I will say I actually have much better "poorly exposed pics that needed much more work" but I'm babysitting my twin grand daughters who are missing their momma and have pooped in their pants.

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Peter Connan

@@PCNW, in a number of the photos above you have managed to greatly improve the skies despite there being lots of obstructions rising above the skyline.

 

Are these done with a brush, or with a grad filter combined with subtraction brush that LR6 allows?

 

I agree that the newer Nikon full-frames allow a lot of shadow lifting, especially at low ISO's. The purists of course feel that this is better done with filters in-camera, but of course in several of the photos you show above this would not work. Particularly the one of Caroline in the tent door. Arguably the other option with that particular should would have been to go for a high-key look?

 

Still love your Dragan-effect shots.

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@@PCNW

 

If the photographer does not "see" the photo, there is no photo to edit.

 

The photo cannot be just miraculously saved from totally wrongly exposed and with zero composition elements to a great photo just with post processing. Both the IQ and the composition has to be done by the photographer "on the field".

 

Only a good photo can be processed into an excellent photo.

 

I am of the "purist" breed ... cloning out the distracting elements is just not what I think is acceptable. Next step would be cloning in ... a lion next to the waterhole, ...

 

However photography is an art, and there is no wrong in art as long as the art captures the imagination of the viewer. A lot of work and love was needed for the final results, and those results shows it. Excellent job!

 

 

Myself I tend to be in the kindergarten of the post processing school. Our photos looks good because Zvezda was taught photography by a master from the "film & darkroom days": make it right when you push the button on the camera!

 

Thank you for your pre and post photos. Who wants can learn so much !!

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@peterconnan To bring out the sky in most images I would start by drastically reducing the highlight slider globally then if more is needed go to either the graduated filter (and erase as you suggested) or brush carefully just the sky. And if I'm selectively editing the sky I not only reduce the highlights but also inc. the clarity, reduce (darken) the shadows and the blacks and add contrast.

 

@@Sangeeta Thanks for the kind words, you're right about the blues.... And, I did take two portraits and put them on canvas that were 60 inches by 40 inches and I'm pleased with those.

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Marrakesh

 

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We left the desert and had a very bumpy 3 hour ride to get to the start of the tortuous Atlas Mountains, my biggest fear of the trip. Narrow hairpin turns, passing going at a rate that seems impossible to survive. The only way I could stomach it for the entire 9 hour journey was to never look up. And like canoeing with hippos it worked. There were times I needed to grab the door handle to keep my seat...and again passing on the edge of a mountain.....never again.

 

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When in Marrakesh we did our two trips into the medina, adopted a stray cat, bought trinkets but only paying three times their value, visited the snake charmers, did the monkey on the shoulder thing and argued with shop owners over pricing, Caroline having told me she wasn’t going to bargain became the champ at it.

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To cross the street with 4-5 lanes of fast moving traffic I was told to just go and don't hesitate like some skittish cat but that was very hard for me. So what I did was identify a local man, grab his arm and hang on, they know how to do it, all the while screeching like a mad owl. So scary. Stepping in front of moving cars isn't natural but truly that’s how it’s done. And when I couldn’t face walking straight into moving traffic one last time we got a taxi to just drive across the road….seriously.

 

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And we thought this man looked like Obama.

 

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ZaminOz

Wow @@PCNW

such beautiful and evocative images to go along with your natural conversational writing. Love it.

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Earthian

@@PCNW

 

Thank you for sharing those pre and post processing photographs. My conclusion was right. Your pre processing photographs are very good by themselves.

I confess i lean towards the purists though i do use LR6 to do some processing.

The picture of Caroline with the goats. What software did you use to remove the man behind?

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More fantastic photos to enjoy in! The road ... wow ... just calling out to me: "Come ride me!". Not so much the camel :P ... once and never again, the camel ride.

 

@@PCNW, to share more of your trade secrets with us (and as Exif is not visible): what were your (general) camera settings?

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Madrid

 

We left Marrakesh for Madrid which was Caroline's idea and logistically and flight wise not a bad one. We met her good friend there and we walked, trained, cabbed, toured, looked and ate but she had me buy some trendy ankle boots... They're so cute she said, will be so comfy she said... After 10 min. I had blisters and was walking on the cobblestoned streets like a lame horse that had thrown a shoe.

 

Almudena Cathedral

 

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You can't get away from the ham or prosciutto in the restaurants and one day without knowing what we were ordering we were served ham, olives, chips and anchovies.... Talk about salt and water retention.... geeze, as if my boots weren't hurting my feet enough, nearly needed a seam ripper to get them off.

 

Palacio Real de Madrid

 

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Having previously toured Barcelona, the Mediterranean, then Rome I thought that I was done with Europe, big cities, churches, synagogues and castles but after touring Madrid.... I now know that I'm really done. Really, really done. Don't need to do anymore. Just not interested in seeing anymore big cities anywhere.

 

Street Performers

 

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This man stayed like this for hours. We know his right arm wasn’t real but still…..

 

 

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No real interesting photos to share, no more stories to share. We had been in seven hotels and I was ready to fly home.

 

 

Thanks for riding along with me on this very wild adventure.

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And what an adventure it was @@PCNW. Although no dinner with a prince with a white Ferrari but so many stories to share! Thank you for allowing us to tag along. It was a true visual delight.

 

Madrid ... been there about 10 times, week long (have clients to escort to a local Iveco factory). I like the city. Even more than Barcelona. But if feet are not happy not even the best jamon iberico can help :) !

 

Looking forward to follow you on your next adventure! And Caroline's, of course.

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michael-ibk

A real treat of a trip report, thank you for sharing. Your photography is in a league of its own, and it was very interesting when you demonstrated your PP skills with these "Before-After" shots. Marvellous stuff, all of this, especially loved the desert and the portrait shots.

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Peter Connan

Thanks for another stunning trip report, and your helpful answers WRT post-processing.

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What a thread! So much incredible, vibrant color in your photos. My favorites are of the various market stalls and grocery "spreads." The ones on this last page in particular seem so rich in color and texture.

It seems like you had a ton of fun. Thanks for this glimpse into a country I know very little about.

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@@Marks @peterconnan @@michael-ibk and @@xelas @@Earthian @@ZaminOz Thanks for all of the kind comments, much appreciated.

 

@@xelas I've looked at a sampling of settings but really can't find much. I used aperture priority probably 70% and manual 30%. While in the changing light of the souks I tried to remember to use auto ISO. My apertures were frequently f/8 for more DOF or wide open for a shallow depth when using my 24-120. But from the looks of your photos I should be asking YOU for help, beautiful.

 

@@Earthian I use Photoshop for cloning out things that I find distracting. But I will say that I love editing and like the challenge more than I think the element needs removing. Also I'm not a pro or selling images under false pretenses so I don't have any qualms about changing a photo from it's original state. Learning better and more creative editing techniques is my focus now.

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@@PCNW

 

Thanks for replying. As fot the kind words, I will forward them to my wife; she is who has "the eye" in our family. I am a mere technical assistant and sherpa / driver :) . Plus I am allowed to work on her photos in post (under strict supervision B) ).

Glad to hear you have used 24-120f4 to such a great results. That lens was my last acquisition, and Zvezda like it very much. As useful as 16-85 VR DX was on crop bodies, but with better IQ.

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@@xelas Caroline and I call our 24-120 the "walk about"....it's our most used lens.

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@@PCNW

 

I have a good feeling that Zvezda will love it also. A walkabout lens is what she is using most of the time. BTW, have seen some great pictures on Instagram :) !

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