Intrigued by the idea of combining vacations with a photography workshop at one of my bucket list destinations, Morocco, got me reading about Peter Sanders, a British photographer and his concept of photography workshop “Art of seeing“.

“It isen’t about (photography) technique as much as to get them (students) understand how to see things and get into the state where you are just watching things” and “to learn to wait for the decisive moment (to take a picture)” – Peter Sanders.

Beautiful sunset, 28 C at Casablance

Beautiful sunset, 28 C at Casablanca, boarding connecting flight to Marrakech

Did I get you Interested to know more?

Convinced, I registered for the workshop, booked the journey and on 9th May my husband and me reached Marrakech after a 4 hours journey and + 15C temperature difference to Geneva. After a wet and cold spring in Europe, 31 C is heavenly!

The workshop started in Marrakech, mainly in the historic city center for “hands-on” practice. Presenting here our “tour-de-Marraekech” starting from the Koutoubia Mosque, through the Medina and on to the old souks of Marrakech, which are part of the UNESCO world heritage site- the Medina of Marrakech

Koutoubia mosque with minaret

Koutoubia mosque with the 77 m high minaret, the landmark of Marrakech

The Koutoubia mosque is one of the oldest mosques, completed in the 12th century. The sandstone minaret is 77m high and a landmark structure of Marrakech. The courtyard has rows of citrus fruit trees, as we already had seen in Cordoba, Spain. The question is: Is this a Moroccan tradition or Andalusian? They spend some shadow, the rest can be figured out later 🙂

Minaret of Koutoubia Mosque

Details of the 77m high Minaret of Koutoubia Mosque

portraits workshop

Portraits Workshop

To beat the midday heat (35-38C), we rested at a restaurant, drank rounds of mint tea (yes the hot beverages are the way to go in the heat) and then proceeded with a portrait photography workshop. The soft light through these tents was perfect for portraits, Peter said. In studios they try create the same soft light with lamps, diffusers and reflectors, he explained.


Entrance of a restaurant

Doorbell1, Medina of Marrakech

Doorbell, seen in Medina of Marrakech: this one was about including shadows

The effect I wanted, was to include the shadow of the object, which proved to be a challenge to get the light and exposure as I wanted to.

Doorbell2, Hand of Fatimah

Doorbell, Hand of Fatimah, Medina of Marrakech

Wandering through the narrow lanes of the Medina of Marrakech, I tried to catch some of the traditional decorations. Besides light, aperture, shutter speed and composition you also needed to take care of pedestrians, children playing, motor bikes, carts and normal bikes passing through these narrow lanes!

Door, Medina of Marrakech

Door, Medina of Marrakech

Old door, Medina of Marrakech

Old door, Medina of Marrakech

An old window in the Medina of Marrakech

An old window in the Medina of Marrakech

saw this in a very narrow lane of the Medina

Door decoration, Medina of Marrakech

Door decoration, Medina of Marrakech

Dry Fruit and Nuts; Souk, Marrakech

Dry Fruit and Nuts;  Jemaa el-Fnaa

We made our way through the maze of narrow lanes of the Medina, through the old souk and reached the Jemaa el-Fnaa, the main square of Marrakesh and a UNESCO heritage site. There was a row of food vendors with dry fruit and nuts, also serving fresh pressed orange juice, grapefruit and lime juice. Ahh! Refreshment! We stayed away from ice cubes for concerns of hygiene. The juice was very refreshing and tasted of fresh oranges! We also had some of those salted almonds and sesame coated, sweetened and roasted peanuts, which were too good to resist! The apricots were soft, chewy and tasted like apricots – all in all, go ahead and try some, next time you are there! Prices are reasonable.

Spices, souk of Marrakech

Spices, old Souk of Marrakech

Energized by the refreshment, some of us went back to the old souk, lining the Jemaa el-Fnaa at one side. Spices are available around every corner in the souk, however liked this presentation the best

Decorative Tagine, Old Souk of Marrakech

Decorative Tagine, old Souk of Marrakech

I don’t think, this Tangine is used to cook! I saw it in the tourist attractions section of the souk. The tradition of the souk has it, that the shops are gathered into different sections: grocery, spices, leather ware, pottery, lamps/decorations, dresses etc. This dates back to the old custom, when the traders used to bring in their stuff from all over Morocco – animals, crops, incense, spices, cloths etc. and sell it here in the souk, at the area designated for the products. This division of “areas” has been maintained.

Tagines, Souk of Marrakech

Tagines, Souk of Marrakech

Souk, Marrakech

Souk, Marrakech

I think this is a water bottle. Saw it at the tourist section of the souk, while the others were bargaining for some Moroccan garments.

Jemaa el-Fnaa, Cafe France

Jemaa el-Fnaa, across the marketplace  is the Cafe France

Tired we met up with the others at the Cafe France at the Jemaa el-Fnaa, seen across the market place. You get a marvellous view over the city. I only had some water, thus can’t say anything to the quality of food there.

Afternoon view from Cafe France

Afternoon view from Cafe France

restaurant at jemaaelfna

Dinner at a Restaurant at Jemaa el -Fna, latter is UNESCO heritage site

At the Jemaa el-Fnaa they have these food-stall-turned-restaurants, efficiently run and popular with locals and tourists. Apparently they are strictly regulated by the government and safe to eat. The ambience is simple: wooden long tables with benches, paper table cloth and napkins. Our restaurant was the restaurant No 24. Our dinner included salad, grilled vegs appetizer, grilled meats and fish; we stopped the order of couscous. The food was good, the atmosphere something different to experience, however we were tired! The day ended with a pick up at the Koutoubia mosque.

The next day we travelled over the  Tizi n’Tichka-Pass (2260 m) crossing the Atlas mountains to reach Ksar Aït Ben Haddou, Ouarzazate in the south of Morocco.

Have you been to Marrakech? When are  you going to Marakech?