Showing posts with label travel photography. Show all posts
Showing posts with label travel photography. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Cairo, Egypt ~ Such Colors and Contrasts

“What are its colors?” my artist friend Christine asked last spring about a place I was describing over dinner.

Loved the front of this building housing a number of international schools - Zamalek district
Colors? Hmmm,. . . I hadn’t really thought about that for any place we’d visited.

The old newspaper reporter mind of mine has been on auto-focus: ‘Just the facts, Ma’am’, approach to photos and the notes I take while traveling. I’d think more about the scene’s story than its colors. But the question was a good one and has niggled my brain all year. Christine has me refocusing and thinking about how integral colors are to a ‘sense of place’ and its narrative.

Recently opened Ritz-Carlton between Tahrir Square and the Egyptian Museum
And so many of you have remarked on the modern buildings in Cairo, saying the city didn’t look like what you’d envisioned. Colors and contrasts – no where are they more apparent than in Cairo; we just needed to let our mind’s eyes roam freely. We’ll ultimately get to some of those famous tourist destinations but today - with no particular destination in mind -- let us show you some of Cairo’s colors and contrasts:

PicMonkey Collage
On a clear day in Cairo you can see. . .
One of the disheartening contrasts is the impact of the early morning smog on what could be a 24/7 beautiful cityscape. These photos were taken within a few hours of each other from the deck of our room at the Cairo Marriott Hotel. The smog was worse on other mornings.  In a city of nearly 24 million people driving an estimated 8 million cars, smog is inevitable. Air pollution is so bad that tour companies advise scheduling trips to the Pyramids (which are surrounded by suburbia) in the mid- to late-morning. An early morning visit could find them obscured by smog.

Building housing the Ancient Egyptian Music School - Zamalek district
The city’s architecture is a kaledescope of contrasts.  Strolling through ‘our’ Zamalek neighborhood we happened upon this stunning building just a few blocks from our hotel; home to the Ancient Egyptian Music School.  What a contrast with the recently opened Saudi Arabian Embassy Tower a few kilometers away.

PicMonkey Collage
Saudi Arabian Embassy Tower - Cairo
The 32-story Embassy Tower which opened in Sept. 2014  is the largest foreign embassy in the city.

Residential high rise towers - Giza

Residential high rise towers – most a stark tan or gray color thanks to a coating of dust and smog - line roadways like tunnel walls. The two pictured above are in Giza, the Cairo suburb that is home to the Pyramids.  (In fact, the suburbs encircle the Pyramids that we so often envision as being out in some vast desert along the Nile.)

PicMonkey Collage
Shops in the Zamalek district - Cairo
Setting out on foot, as we often did, you’ll find all sorts of colors in the displays of small vendors and shops that line the streets.  These photos are of a few of the many small stores in our Zamalek neighborhood, about a mile’s walk from our hotel.

PicMonkey Collage
Scarves, flowers and bread added color to the Cairo street scene
No matter what street you explored there was color and contrasts to be found. That photo on the lower right shows their famous Arab bread still puffy and hot from the oven, pita, we would likely call it. . .some of the best bread we’ve ever eaten. The vendor carried his display on his shoulder and set it up for sales on a street corner.

A colorful encounter at the Sphinx
And the people also sport a wonderful mix of colors, as these school girls show. I think we often have notions of how women in this part of the world dress and it is good to be reminded that you can’t make blanket judgements about people and places. These girls not only brightened the landscape with their colors but their smiles as well. These girls were on a school outing at the Sphinx and several of them raced over to ask me to pose for ‘selfies’ with them. Our guide wanted to shoo them away. But I found it an enchanting experience and agreed to pose only if they would pose with me. And yes, these teens in Egypt have cell phones!

Floral display Ritz Carlton lobby- Cairo
Some of the most colorful and posh places in Cairo were the elegant hotel interiors and the flowers and arrangements that filled their lobbies with color.  This is taken in the Ritz Carlton Hotel, where its common areas where in full bloom with magnificent floral displays (and a large Christmas tree surrounded by toy soldiers as well).

PicMonkey Collage
A scene from Arabian nights - JW Marriott Cairo
We happened upon a scene right out of Sheherazade’s Arabian Nights at the JW Marriott Hotel, where we spent our last night. Hotel staff had been busy all day setting up for this wedding celebration and turned a conference meeting room into a fantasy setting fit for a Pharaoh. . .

With that, we’ll close for this week. Thanks to all of you for the time you take joining us on these armchair adventures via TravelnWrite. We welcome our new ‘subscribers’ who receive our posts in email form (for free) and new followers. 

Next week we are off to the Pyramids and the Sphinx. . .but first. . .

A BIT OF HOUSEKEEPING: for those who follow TravelnWrite on Google Friend Connect.  Google recently announced changes that could impact your ability to receive the blog – and we don’t want to lose touch so take a quick look at the Blogger announcement below  (this doesn’t affect those of you receiving the blog in email format in your in boxes):
“[Beginning] January 11, we’ll remove the ability for people with Twitter, Yahoo, Orkut or other OpenId providers to sign in to Google Friend Connect and follow blogs. At the same time, we’ll remove non-Google Account profiles. . .[these] changes that will eventually require readers to have a Google Account to sign into Friend Connect and follow blogs.”
Bottom line:  We noted two profile have been lost, but you’ve still been able to write comments (I think).  If TravelnWrite, has disappeared from your reading list, you may need to sign up for a Google Account, and re-follow our blog in order to get the blog.  OR skip the ‘following’ and sign up to ‘receive the blog by email’ Put your email address in the box on the right-hand column of the home page. Feedburner will send an email asking you to to verify that you want to receive emails from us, confirm you do and posts will arrive in your inbox.
Linking this week with:
 Mosaic Monday – 
Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday
Wordless Wednesday
Travel Photo Thursday – 
Photo Friday
Weekend Travel Inspiration

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Travel Photo Thursday: A New Perspective

First, a big thank you to all who commented on last week’s photo; Greece, we believe,  is one of the special places in the world.

This week’s Travel Photo Thursday photo was taken as we approached land after a six-day transatlantic crossing, during which time we had not seen another ship, bird or sign of life.  As we neared our first port of call, Madiera, some 300 miles off the coast of Africa, we spotted another ship setting sail – it was cause for us shutterbugs to race for our cameras. As I bent over for this angle a woman who'd been directing her husband's photo efforts, called out, “Look how she’s doing it, take one like that!”. . .making me laugh so hard I nearly miss the shot.

(To see other photos from this cruise, watch the slide show in the right hand column of our blog's home page,

HAL 2009 cruise photos 048

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Teaching an old Travel Dog New Tricks

Little Princess goes to Paris
j smith photo, (c) 2011
This southwest road trip through a part of Nevada and a lot of Arizona a test of the post's title.

For decades my travel attire has included a mandatory camera draped around my neck.  The reason was best expressed by a friend when she once said of travel photography,"taking a photo makes the trip seem real, like it really happened"..

And I'm a reluctant late-comer to the digital world having only a couple years ago I left my SLR and photos behind, when I inherited a then-several-years-old digital camera.  Joel was immediately delighted as it no longer required that huge package of film canisters nor my bulky SLR.  That first digital still looked like my SLR, and I quickly became charmed by the little contraption and named her Ol' Betsy. Sadly, she began showing signs of age while we were in Greece last fall and her impending retirement was confirmed when they quit selling memory cards that she could handle and the repairman used the horrid words, "garbage can". (Betsy is resting comfortably on our kitchen counter right now).

So for months I've searched for a replacement: big bulky DSLRs, smaller point and shoots that look like DSLR's but that fit in the travel bags a bit better. What I vowed I wouldn't ever buy was one of those small things with no eye viewfinder that you can hold in the palm of your hand.

New Tricks

So, here we are am on the road; me with my Little Princess, as I have named the new camera..  She arrived from the afternoon before we left on this trip.  And she's everything I said I'd never buy:  compact, no view finder, and so small there is no neck strap, there's barely a wrist strap. (Joel loved the camera the minute he saw its size, "less to carry" he noted without concern of its capabilities.)

But reviews I have read from the dozens of travelers who love this camera say that this Fuji Fine Pix F300EXR (the name is bigger than the camera) is the perfect travel camera. Many said they've compared their photos from this camera to the DSLRs and they have rated well. I've read the small 'how-to-use' pamphlet, but didn't have time to load the 150-page PDF users manual, let alone read it. I figured out how to charge the battery and install it, along with the memory card.  But I certainly have no idea how to make the bells and whistles it offers sing any sort of photographic melody, let alone result in a digital image (I still prefer the word 'photo')

For now the old travel dog is busy snapping digital images and telling myself that travel - even travel photography - should remove me from my routine comfort zone.  Little Princess has certainly done that.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...