Michael Breitung Photography


Blog - Morocco Travel Photography – Desert and Coast

After two wonderful days of landscape photography in the desert, we continued our tour with Wild Morocco and drove through the vast Iriqui Lake towards the Anti-Atlas mountains and then north to Ait Ben Haddou.

The barren area around the Iriqui Lake could easily have been a setting for Mad Max Fury Road. After passing this wide expanse of emptyness, we drove past an impressive, jagged mountain range until we reached civilization again after nearly two hours of off-road driving.

Night Photography in the Erg Chigaga

But before we began this day long drive towards Ait Ben Haddou I undertook one last morning hike into the dunes. There’s nothing more tranquil than a night in the desert. And there are few other places where you can see that many stars.

The Milky Way over the Desert of Morocco

To capture this photos of the Erg Chigaga dunes with the Milkyway above, I got up at 5:30am. A hike of half an hour brought me to the top of one of the highest dunes near our camp. At that time the Milkyway rose in the east and began its journey across the night sky. With sunrise still two hours away, it was dark enough to clearly see the core of our galaxy. In the photo I took that morning you can also see Venus, which was the brightest object in the sky.

I sat there a little longer, waiting for the sun to illuminate the dunes, before I went back to our camp for a delicious breakfast.

Route to Essaouira

After this little desert adventure, we were off to Ait Ben Haddou where we spent the evening. This place has been the setting for many Hollywood movies and for this reason it’s very touristic. But around sunset, the Kasbah wasn’t busy anymore and we were able to explore the narrow alleyways in relative silence. You’ll see some footage of that in the video below.

The next day we crossed the Atlas Mountains and drove past Marrakech towards the coast. Our next stop was Essaouira, where we had booked four nights in the wonderful Riad Dar Maya*.

The Riad was located right inside the medina, and I spent many hours walking around the various streets looking for scenes to photograph. What I liked about Essaouira was the relaxed atmosphere. It’s much less hectic than the medina of Marrakech or Fes and the streets are also not that narrow, which provides some room to breathe.

Essaouira Cat

Another thing that is very characteristic of Essaouira are the countless cats. Everywhere you go you’ll find some drowsy cat sleeping on a bench, a wall or right in the middle of a shop, which is quite cute.

Then there is the little harbor with the adjacent fish market. This is the place from which you get the best view of the city. The last evening I climbed on one of the walls there and took some long time exposures during blue hour. With the dark sky above this looked very dramatic, even though weather conditions were not ideal for the photo I had in mind.

The skyline of Essaouira at dusk

Then it was time to pack up once more and head off to our next destination, Fes, which was the most interesting place we visited in Morocco. But this story has to wait until the next article.

* This is a Booking.com Affiliate Link. If you use it to make a booking, I’ll get a little commission from Booking.com

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