McKay Photography Academy’s adventure to Egypt!
Egypt – Days 1&2
Our schedule now that we are able to travel again has been pretty much a whirlwind lately.
Tanzania as you heard from my last blogs was off the charts. I could have written 10 blogs with photo tips and stories from that one tour as it was just FILLED with so much action and I will share some more to come in the future as well regarding that tour.
Following such an incredible MPA wildlife Safari to Tanzania (hopefully, you read the updates), it was directly to Egypt and then Jordan from there!
Wide Angle and Perspective I love to use a Wide-Angle lens to create a very different perspective. In this image, I am maybe only 2 feet away from this Camel. By using the Wide – Angle lens, a unique perspective was shown creating a sense of depth to the scene as well.
From Tanzania, we flew to Cairo via Ethiopia. This was our first McKay Photography Academy tour to Egypt and we had great partners working with us the entire way. Upon landing in Cairo, you quickly realize you are in a very different environment and culture than what you may be used to.
However, gone are the days of an old terminal and uncertainty about it what to do and where to go. An entirely new terminal has been built and our tour and clients were set up to each have a personal airport expeditor prior to immigration meeting off the plane. The expeditor walks each client through the entire process with ease, from getting your visa, to your luggage, to riding with you in a private vehicle all the way to the hotel.For those that have always dreamt of visiting Egypt, NOW is a GREAT time to do so for many reasons. It is safe, beautiful, and with the right tour, a completely personalized and immersive experience!
Imagine a small tour, seeing so much privately and with exclusive opportunities, all while being able to photograph and have an MPA team instructing you the entire way!
Yes, we will be headed back and planning soon and if you are interested, please let us know that you would love to join. This tour had 12 photographers and 3 MPA instructors plus our own private guides!
Waking up to this view from my balcony!
As soon as you head out on the road, you quickly realize how unique it is. Cairo is basically organized chaos if I was able to describe it somewhat! I am still not sure what the point of lines on the roads is as no one seems to bother staying in any lane! You quickly find yourselves immersed in a city that doesn’t sleep at night, seems a bit chaotic, and yet somehow all manages to work. Upon arriving at our luxury hotel, the 5 stars Marriott Mena House, it is time to relax and enjoy such a beautiful location. As I arrived in the middle of the night, I wasn’t too sure how close we were to the Pyramids. Imagine waking up, looking out my hotel balcony, straight at a 5000-year-old Pyramid less than a mile away! BLOWN AWAY and THIS IS SURREAL is what I felt!
As I came in two days early, my day was spent relaxing at the hotel, enjoying the views of the Great Pyramids, all while hanging out in the beautiful resort of Mena House.
Once all of the MPA clients had arrived, it was time for the tour to begin!
Creating a silhouetteA silhouette is actually very easy to do. As long as you have a light source that is brighter than your subject, you simply expose for the light source. This will show on your light meter as under-exposed as the camera is seeing the whole scene and wants to expose the main subject.But by working in manual on your camera and taking control, you can under-expose the subject, in this case, the Pyramid, and expose to the bright light, in this case, the Sun. In doing so, the main subject will be silhouetted. Some people will ask how can you get the exposure correct on both the subject AND the bright light behind it. The answer is, that you can’t.
If I was exposing for the Pyramid, the background would have been extremely bright. Rather than worry about that, use this to your advantage to create dramatic images!
The Pyramids –
We were up and on our bus at 6:30 am and we were the first ones into the Giza area the moment the gate opened. Driving into the complex and being the only ones there as we stepped out of the bus was a thrill for all. We had to make a decision. Do we first go into and tour the Great Pyramid of Kheops before anyone else arrives, and photograph it up close, or, do we find an awesome vantage point to photograph from?We went with option 2 and made our way to Panorama Point with its wonderful view of all the Pyramids in the area.
After photographing for a while and being the only ones there, the busses and tourists started to arrive.
Within one hour of us arriving and being the only ones there, the area was filled with thousands of people and vendors. Gone was the quiet time of having the Pyramids to ourselves, replaced with time to be a tourist as well.
Many of us, decided to do a camel ride because, well it’s Egypt, and at the end of the day, we are all still tourists as well!
From there it was back to Kheops and entering the Pyramid and walking to the tomb area. This is NOT for the claustrophobic or folks with difficulties maneuvering.
Upon entering the Pyramid, the sense of surreal hits again. You are walking IN the Great Pyramid! After entering, you must start climbing a small wooden walkway and many parts of it require crouching to get through. It is also one way in, and the same way out.
This is something that if you can do, I recommend because it is amazing to be inside! A once-in-a-lifetime experience for most. However, it is crowded, it is not easy, and at the end of the day, not everyone should do it depending on how they feel in small places with lots of people.
What lens should I bring?This question is the most asked question on any of our tours.
My answer has simply become YES. As in, YES bring a lens. There is NO ONE answer or lens. ALL lenses serve a purpose and the answer is really about how you want to capture images and perspectives as well as how much gear you want to carry.
There are unique situations of course where you know for a fact that a certain lens is what will be best. Wildlife as an example almost always means a long telephoto. However, even then, it really depends on the situation. In many touring situations, various lenses can be used and should be considered.
The next time you ask what lens should you bring, just remember, in almost all cases, any lens will work, it’s more just how you want to capture the scene.
In this image, I am using a 100-400mm longer telephoto. My subject allowed me to photograph him, but I was able to stand back and this created a nice perspective with the background as long lenses “compress” the image. But as you can see in the Camel image above, there I used a wide-angle lens.
ALL lenses serve a purpose!
Finishing off the day, we had arranged a private balcony area with dinner directly across from the Sphinx and The Giza Pyramids.
As the sunset, we enjoyed great food, a great private vantage point to photograph the sunset and Pyramids, and watch the light show that is put on nightly at the Sphinx. This was all Day One! What a day.
A tripod that is sturdy is a must for any nighttime photography! If you want to capture an image such as this without using a tripod, you can, but consider that you will have to raise the ISO EXTREMELY high in order to have a fast enough Shutter Speed to be able to hand hold your camera. This is because it is night and dark. By using a tripod, you can use a longer shutter speed to allow light to come in which allows for your ISO to be lower resulting in better image quality with less “noise’.