Marrakesh Rooftop City

Marrakesh Rooftops

A view of some nearby rooftops and a stunning sunset over Marrakesh, Morocco. In black and white I know, but I have a few more shots of the same sky coming! This was shot from Riad O2 in the city where Polldaddy recently stayed.

In the Medina many (most?) of the houses are jam packed in next to each other. We had to take a winding alley way from the main road to the building, going left, right, left, right, left (and maybe 2 more turns?) to get there. Like nothing I’ve ever experienced before.

What’s Marrakesh like? The medina is the old fortified town which is where we were staying. You’ll be woken each morning by the Muslim call to prayers as there are loud speakers dotted around the city. Currently the first one starts around 5:30am so I hope you can get back to sleep afterwards! I wasn’t too fond of heading out in the city. It’s very busy, vehicles of all sorts zoom up and down the streets. Everything from motorbikes to carts pulled by donkeys will pass you by. There are no traffic lights in the medina either and footpaths disappear without warning, if they existed at all.

The food we ate there was excellent, both in the riad and outside. Well, except for the one night we decided to sample what was on offer in the plaza. What a mistake! For the same price you’ll get a top quality meal in a fancy restaurant elsewhere!

The hot air balloon guys were super friendly and I can recommend them, the locals taking care of us in the riad were too but out on the street was another matter. Talk to anyone and they’ll either lead you to a particular area of the souk or demand a tip for “showing” you the way.

If only we could get a bit of their sun here in Ireland right now. Go on clouds, let the sun through!

Oh yes, I may have to change the tagline on this blog. This photo was processed by Adobe Lightroom. It’s not Photoshop but it’s close. I used this preset on this photo but Lightroom is really impressing me. It’s ability to recover blown out detail is amazing, the noise reduction and sharpening tools are easy and effective. The one area it really falls down in is not being able to reassign keys. I fixed that by installing Paddy which let me assign hotkeys to my two main export presets.
I imported over 23k photos into a catalogue and it’s running nice and fast. The next thing to do is write a preset and assign a hotkey to import images from my CF card.

Aperture ƒ/4
Camera Canon EOS 40D
Focal length 21mm
ISO 100
Shutter speed 1/30s

To home on the bike

To home on the bike

To say there are many motorbikes in Marrakesh is an understatement. We arrived at dusk and watched shell shocked as small motorbikes wove back and forth between traffic and around corners with little evident care for safety. As a pedestrian here you must have eyes in the back of your head!

With that sorted out and explained the picture above might not be too surprising and it’s a not an uncommon sight to see 3 people on a motorbike. It looks like three generations here: son leaning forward on the handlebars, mother driving and grandmother sitting on the passenger seat.

We haven’t seen any accidents yet but this old post from 2009 says accident rates are rising.

Aperture ƒ/7.1
Camera Canon EOS 40D
Focal length 21mm
ISO 400
Shutter speed 1/100s

Four legged Traffic in Marrakesh

Traffic in Marrakesh

I’m here in Marrakesh, Morocco with the rest of Polldaddy for a week. This photo of a man on a donkey and cart was taken on the streets of the medina during a lull in traffic. After driving here I’m quite certain you could handle driving anywhere as buses, cars, vans, motorbikes and bicycles jostle for the same space in often narrow streets!

Aperture ƒ/14
Camera Canon EOS 40D
Focal length 21mm
ISO 400
Shutter speed 1/400s

El Puerto de Santa Maria: The snail seller

the snail seller

Anyone for snails or should I say escargot? A man selling snails wasn’t doing much business when we walked by in El Puerto de Santa Maria in Spain last March. I wasn’t going to sample any of his produce, have you tried snails? What do they taste of?

There’s a really interesting page on escargot on Wikipedia. Still won’t get me to eat them..

Snail shells have been found in archaeological excavations, indicating snails have been eaten since prehistoric times.[3][4] A number of archaeological sites around the Mediterranean have been excavated yielding physical evidence of culinary use of several species of snails used as escargot.[5] The Romans, in particular, are known to have considered escargot an elite food, as noted in the writings of Pliny. The edible species Otala lactea has been recovered from Volubilis in present-day Morocco.[6] This archaeological recovery is from an era of Roman Empire occupation of this provincial capital, which site was known to embody a very highly developed ancient civilization since its days as a Phoenician and Carthaginian colony.

Aperture ƒ/4.5
Camera Canon EOS 40D
Focal length 28mm
ISO 400
Shutter speed 1/160s

The Beatles, John Lennon and Action Figures

The Beatles, John Lennon and Action Figures

We visited the Mother Jones Flea Market a few weeks ago and it was a treasure trove of old and sort of old stuff.

Pictured here are some action figures, a book on the Beatles and a poster of John Lennon hiding away in a corner of one display. Appropriate as we’re going to see a Beatles cover band tonight!

Aperture ƒ/4
Camera Canon EOS 40D
Focal length 21mm
ISO 1600
Shutter speed 1/20s

Barren and Snow

Barren and Snow

This private road up to Blarney Castle was covered in snow, the trees were bare and every inch of grass wore the familiar white coat of a recent snow fall.

Taken yesterday morning while the snow fell. It’s -3C here in Blarney this morning and feels even colder! Brrrrr

Aperture ƒ/5
Camera Canon EOS 40D
Focal length 21mm
ISO 100
Shutter speed 1/50s

Blarney in the Snow

Blarney in the Snow

It started to snow this morning in Blarney shortly after 6:30am and it has snowed continually for the last few hours. There’s a nice white coat on the grass and trees but the roads have turned to slush making them somewhat treacherous. They’ll be a lot worse if the snow freezes so I hope it all disappears nice and quickly!

Aperture ƒ/5.6
Camera Canon EOS 40D
Focal length 21mm
ISO 100
Shutter speed 1/60s