Morocco is certainly a place of wonders, a country where ancient cities and traditions remain as authentic as the medinas within.
At its most basic level, a medina is a walled city. Being the largest of the world, the medina in Fez is probably the best location to get a feel for how these conglomerates functioned. There are over 9,000 streets and alleyways, where not even Google Maps can help you to wander around without getting lost. In Fez, one of the main entrances to the Old City is Bab Bou Jeloud, also popularly known as the Blue Gate. It’s an ornate triple-arched gate in the typical architectural Moorish form covered in beautiful tiles on both sides.
As in my previous post, I also wanted to take this photo during my prior photo tour to Morocco in 2017, but I just didn’t have time last time and the location of my riad was not very close to it. But this time was different: the place where our group stayed was just a couple of blocks away and I was determined to get it right. This is a crowded place and, with that, I knew this photo would need to be taken at night and that it would take some time to pull it.
Oftentimes when I lead tours, I go out once all the “official activities” are done to explore and do some shooting. I always invite the tour participants to join me on these late night or early morning explorations. This time was no different, and my now good friend George came along. It was a fun night. When we got there we found this cafe right across from the gate. We set the tripods along the sidewalk and then we asked one of the servers if we could put a table there close to the cameras if we ordered some tea. He gladly accepted and brought us a table and Moroccan tea.
We spent almost two hours there having tea, watching the people going by and making photos. The most difficult aspect was to manage to get an empty scene, with no people or cars going by. For the most part, I was timing my photo and trying to get the right conditions. It took some time but I truly enjoyed the process of being there. I composed the image at an angle to have some dynamics, and also I took care to make sure that the minaret of the mosque of the medina could be seen behind the main arch.
This photo was shot with the Fujifilm GFX 50S and with the Fujinon GF 23mm F4 R LM WR mounted on a tripod. It was long exposure of about 13 seconds, mainly because I wanted to blur people walking by. Post was entirely done in Lightroom; I cleaned up the trash from the streets because I believe it just distracts from the photo, and adjusted contrast, highlights, shadows, then added some clarity and saturation.
That’s all for now; hope you like it. Feel free to send me questions and comments, and if you’d like to buy a print of this image, just click here.