MOROCCO PART 3: CHEFCHAOUEN

MOROCCO PART 3: CHEFCHAOUEN

After three days in the Sahara, it was time to head back north to Chefchaouen, a small town in the Rif Mountains, in the north of Morocco.  It was going to be a long journey, and we'd decided to break it at the Roman ruins of Volubilis, near the city of Meknes.

Even so, the drive was still a marathon.  On our last day in the Sahara we awoke in a berber tent in the middle of the dunes, got up to photograph sunrise, then had the hour long camel ride back to the kasbah we'd used as our base.  A quick shower, change and breakfast, then we hit the road back north across the middle Atlas mountains.   We'd been so blown away by the changes in scenery on our way down, that we thought it would be a nice idea to film it using the video recorder on the D90.  So at various points of the journey, we filmed the passing scenery, towns and people, with the idea that I could edit all the short clips together to make a brief film that shows the changing of the landscape and culture across the length of Morocco.  We kept the idea up all the way until the port in Tanger, and at some point when I have time, I'd like to sit down and get to work on cutting it together.

MOROCCO PART 2: THE SAHARA

MOROCCO PART 2: THE SAHARA

Fes was fantastic, but when the germ of the idea of coming to Morocco first took root in my head, it was to photograph sand dunes in the Sahara.  Looking at the map, it seemed perfectly feasible, over to Morocco, a couple of hours down to Fes, and then it was just another 500 or so kilometers to Erg Chebbi, where the Sahara starts.  How hard could it be?  

<!--more-->As it turned out, it wasn't particularly difficult, but it was long.  Driving 500km in Morocco takes a long time.  The roads are generally pretty good, there's not that much traffic on them and contrary to my expectations, people on the roads were cautious and completely unaggressive.  It was rare to see someone breaking the speed limit.
No, it takes a long time because what little traffic there is on the road, is generally slow moving trucks, and the road up into the middle Atlas, across the plateau at the top, and then down again on the other side at Errachidia, is often relatively winding
Like the Amazon, it's size and age, and the fact that humans are utterly insignificant in the face of it, barely scratching it's surface, leaves a deep impression

MOROCCO PART 1: FES

MOROCCO PART 1: FES

Well we're back from Morocco.  A few thousand kilometers later, the car has collected all kinds of dust and sand, as well as a strange knocking noise which first appeared when driving across the stone desert near Merzouga, but it got us to where we wanted to go, and it got us back again.

It's been a fantastic trip, one that's really pushed us both physically and mentally.  Photographically it's been really challenging and a lot of fun as it demanded so many different approaches.  From patient tripod vigils in the dunes, to handheld shooting in the low light and narrow confines of the medinas of Fes and Chefchaouen.  Portraiture, landscapes, street shooting, panning, architecture, details etc etc...I can't remember a trip where there's been so much variety.

HEADING SOUTH TO THE SAHARA

HEADING SOUTH TO THE SAHARA

There are certain places, certain names, that just have a resonance and conjure up all kinds of images in our heads, associations with stories of far away places that we've carried with us all our lives.  The Amazon.  The Himalayas.  Patagonia.  The Sahara.  
Whilst I'm lucky enough to have spent time in and photographed the Amazon, there are still many other evocative places on my list of trips I want to make, so I'm really excited to be visiting one of those places, one of those names, next week.

We've packed up the car, and tomorrow morning we'll set off on a 3300km round trip to the edge of the Sahara and back.  First through Portugal to southern Spain, then across the mouth of the Mediterranean, and into Morocco