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Marrakech, Morocco Best Travel Destination 2015

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Travellers Choice on Trip Advisor has voted Marrakech the top destination in the world to visit .

digital photography holidays holiday tour tours workshop workshops to Marrakech Morocco, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma Asia hosted by Stephen Studd

Marrakech, Jemaa el Fna sunset

It is easy to see why, just 3 hours flight from the UK and you are transported to a city that for me, as a travel and garden photographer, has such a rich tapestry to photograph. No visit to Marrakech is complete without a visit to the main Jemaa el Fna square, a cocophony of noise from snake charmers to drummers with the smell of spices and food being cooked for locals and visitors from far and wide.

One of my favourite street food stalls in Jemaa el Fna is Chez Hassan, number 32. You can’t miss it, just look for the one creating the most steam and smoke as the best Merguez sausages in town sizzle on the griddle, be patient as it’s hard to get a seat as this is a firm favourite with the locals.

digital travel photography holidays tours workshops to Marrakech Morocco, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma Asia hosted by Stephen Studd

Chez Hassan, number 32

Of course there is much more to Marrakech than the main square. The nearby Koutoubia mosque dominates the skyline and is a favourite location of mine for photography.

digital travel photography holidays tours workshops to Marrakech Morocco, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma Asia hosted by Stephen Studd Koutoubia mosque

Woman walking in front of the Koutoubia mosque

The souks and narrow winding alleyways of the old Medina always come up with travel photography gems. Getting to find your way around can be very tricky, fortunately after photographing here over the years I know my way around the maze like labyrinthian narrow streets.

digital travel photography holidays tours workshops to Marrakech Morocco, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma Asia hosted by Stephen Studd medina

Man with donkey cart, old Medina, Marrakech

There are so many great backdrops for photographs in the old Medina. I am always on the lookout for a good background for a photograph. One of the skills of travel photography is to observe the movement of people in a particular location and see when the best light hits the scene. Once you have found a location with good light and movement of people, a trick I employ is to frame my scene with the camera on a tripod with a remote shutter release. When a person comes through the scene I’ve framed they don’t have the same reaction as if I had the camera up to my eye. I tend to even look away when they appear as if I’m not even taking a photograph, it’s a trick that works for me, resulting in natural looking images with people.

digital travel photography holidays tours workshops to Marrakech Morocco, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma Asia hosted by Stephen Studd cyclist medina

Cyclist in the old quarter of Marrakech

In the old Medina I love the crumbling coloured walls, there always seems to be a good prop set against them.

digital travel photography holidays tours workshops to Marrakech Morocco, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma Asia hosted by Stephen Studd bicycle medina

Bicycle, Medina

The Medina is home to many artisans located in their own areas. The tannery district is only for those that can bear the stench, but a fascinating place to photograph.

digital travel photography holidays tours workshops to Marrakech Morocco, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma Asia hosted by Stephen Studd tannery district

Tannery district

Other favourite areas are the wool dyers district.

digital travel photography holidays tours workshops to Marrakech Morocco, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma Asia hosted by Stephen Studd wool dyers district

Wool dyers district

and the metal work district.

digital travel photography holidays tours workshops to Marrakech Morocco, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma Asia hosted by Stephen Studd metal workers district

Metal workers district

If you are in this area be sure to check out the Museum of Photography to see some amazing photography from Morocco spanning a number of decades. The place also has a great rooftop café with views over the sprawling city and Atlas mountains.

A great escape from the hustle and bustle of the old Medina is to go and visit the iconic Jardin Majorelle, a feast for the lens with its cobalt blue walls, colourful containers and collections of cacti and bamboos. The garden was restored by Yves Saint Laurent and there is a memorial to him in the garden.

digital travel photography holidays tours workshops to Marrakech Morocco, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma Asia hosted by Stephen Studd Jardin Majorelle

Jardin Majorelle – Yves Saint Laurent garden

Spend some time here, there is plenty to photograph, you can also get one of the best Moroccan breakfasts in Marrakech in the courtyard garden.

digital travel photography holidays tours workshops to Marrakech Morocco, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma Asia hosted by Stephen Studd Jardin Majorelle

Jardin Majorelle, ‘Kalanchoe Beharensis’

Be sure to look out for those hidden corners too.

digital travel photography holidays tours workshops to Marrakech Morocco, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma Asia hosted by Stephen Studd Jardin Majorelle

Jardin Majorelle

If you want to escape the city altogether the Atlas mountains are only a short distance away with its Berber villages and slower pace of life.

digital travel photography holidays tours workshops to Marrakech Morocco, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma Asia hosted by Stephen Studd Atlas mountains

Atlas mountains

digital travel photography holidays tours workshops to Marrakech Morocco, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma Asia hosted by Stephen Studd Atlas mountains

Atlas mountains

Back in Marrakech there are numerous souks to get lost in, my favourite is the spices souk.

digital travel photography holidays tours workshops to Marrakech Morocco, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma Asia hosted by Stephen Studd spices souk

Spices souk

It’s worth while weaving your way around the maze like souk to see what you stumble upon.

digital travel photography holidays tours workshops to Marrakech Morocco, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma Asia hosted by Stephen Studd souk

Marrakech Souk

I love exploring the quieter areas off the beaten track, you just never know what you are going to encounter around each corner.

digital travel photography holidays tours workshops to Marrakech Morocco, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma Asia hosted by Stephen Studd man with fez hat

Marrakech man in traditional djellaba and fez hat

Other places of interest for photography are the various Palaces and the Ben Youssef Madrasa, a favourite place with my guests on the travel photography city break I run there each year.

North Africa, Morocco, Marrakech, Marrakesh, Digital photography holidays and tours to Morocco, Marrakech Ben Youssef Madrasa

Ben Youssef Madrasa

An alluring appeal that keeps me coming back to Marrakech is the light and the African sunsets you get there. Perch yourself on one of the numerous cafes in the main square, get yourself a Moroccan mint tea and a tajine, watch the place come alive as the sun sets, and enjoy the feast for all the senses. Yes the billowing smoke you can see in the shot below is coming from Chez Hassan.

Jemaa el Fna and Koutoubia mosque, sunset

Jemaa el Fna and Koutoubia mosque, sunset

You can join me on a 5 day travel photography city break to Marrakech in September 2016, with an optional photography excursion up in to the Atlas mountains where we have a traditional Berber lunch on my Berber friend CoCo’s roof terrace.

Full details can be found on my travel photography holidays website: www.digitalphotographyholidays.com

Newsletter subscribers receive special offers throughout the year on my travel photography holiday and landscape photography workshops, you can subscribe here


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Author: Stephen Studd Photography

Stephen graduated from LCP in London in 1987 with a 2:1 BA Honours degree in photography. Since then he has travelled the world as a professional freelance travel & garden photographer. His photography has been published in many areas around the globe; from front cover of National Geographic magazine, to countless travel books, brochures and print media. His work has also been used in many advertising campaigns, with clients such as Fiat, Citigroup, Caribou Coffee, Expedia, BBC and countless others and his photography has picked up numerous international awards.. Stephen leads travel photography holidays and tours to Burma, Cambodia, Angkor Wat, Vietnam & the USA. He also leads Bluebell photography workshops in Gloucestershire and landscape photography workshops in the Gower, Wales. http://www.digitalphotographyholidays.com Stephen can be contacted for commissions via his photography website.

One thought on “Marrakech, Morocco Best Travel Destination 2015

  1. Morocco is on our list of places to go.

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