Morocco: A Visual Feast - Photography Workshop & Journey with David Wells


Join David Wells to discover and photograph beautiful & varied landscapes including golden dunes, snow-capped mountains, imposing gorges & fortified ksars.

Experience medieval Fes, storied Marrakech and take on a five-day journey through the stunning Atlas Mountains across the sublime Sahara Desert. Relax, photograph, and enjoy exquisite Morocco!

  • Date: Oct 24-Nov 4, 2019
  • Destination: Morocco
  • Genre: Travel, Landscape, Street, Night
  • Skill Levels: All Skill Levels
  • Group Size: Max. 12
  • Includes: All accommodations, logistics, most meals and tours incl. 5-day luxury expedition into the Sahara Desert

Workshop & Tour Highlights

  • Photography workshops & one-on-one guidance by travel photography veteran and photo instructor David Wells, on his 8th time leading this trip.
  • Three nights in Fes, the largest and most intact medieval city in the Arab world, at the lovely Algila Fes boutique hotel.
  • Three nights in storied Marrakech, meeting point of caravans for centuries, at the Riad Al Rimal boutique riad.
  • Five-day journey through the stunning Atlas Mountains to the sublime Sahara Desert.
  • Open Sky senior Tour Leader & photographer Temu Nana as your personal host.
  • Spend a night at a private luxury camp in the dunes of the Sahara.
  • Tour the UNESCO-protected 11th century Kasbah of Ait Ben Haddou.
  • Take in and photography a beautiful & varied landscape: golden dunes, snow-capped mountains, imposing gorges & fortified ksars.
  • Experience Marrakech’s magical Djemma el Fna at dusk, when the square comes alive.
  • Travel with our top-rated, English-speaking Moroccan guide, Moulay Hassan.
  • Enjoy exquisite Moroccan fine dining.
  • Relax with logistically-seamless, hassle-free travel, with tipping included & much more (see tour inclusions).

Photography Topics Covered

Making exceptional travel photographs requires skills in many different types of photography, from street photography, to still-life work, to portraits.

In a typical day of travel, a photographer may shoot busy markets, quiet buildings, open landscapes, or close-up nature. 

The best travel photographers are versatile in their skills and fluid in their process, using minimal gear to achieve maximum results.  In this tour, David plans to explore the following topics needed for good travel photography:
  • Composition
  • Stopping action vs showing motion
  • Framing and scaling
  • Portraying people
  • Being in the right place at the right time
  • Varying the time of day
  • Understanding light
  • The traveling photographer's camera and bag
  • Basics of flash
  • Panning
  • Night photography & light painting
  • Using the appropriate lens
  • Using a camera on manual mode: working with Aperture, Shutter Speed, ISO, etc.

Catering for All Skill Levels

You do not need to be an experienced photographer to participate - the trip is intentionally structured to accommodate travelers with varying levels of photography experience. 

Beginners are welcome.  The only requirement is that you bring a camera with adjustable settings (a DSLR would be ideal, but any camera with adjustable settings will do).

One-On-One Instruction

The group is small enough that you will have plenty of one-on-one time with our instructor, David Wells. 

Moreover, prior to departure we’ll send out a questionnaire asking everyone about prior photography experience and what you're looking to get out of the trip. This will factor into the final stages of planning and we’ll make sure to attend to everyone’s needs. 

Combining a Workshop and a Tour

This adventure is a workshop & tour hybrid. Open Sky Expeditions has taken what would on its own be an amazing tour and carefully structured it with photography in mind. 

Dedicated workshop time, best hours of the day, sufficient time for photography, & tour content in each location, etc., have all been thoughtfully taken into consideration. 

Both the instructor David Wells and OSE’s Temu Nana, a photographer himself, will be on hand throughout the tour, and our excellent local Moroccan guide Moulay will also join us for all sightseeing.  

Itinerary Overview

October 24

Depart Home.   

October 25     

Arrive Fes & meet the group over cocktails. 

October 26     

Photography workshop in the morning.

Guided tour of Fes’ fascinating medieval medina throughout rest of the day. Navigate & photograph the maze!

October 27     

Morning visit in “new Fes” (dating from 14th cent.) followed by lunch and photo shoot with a family.

Photography workshop in the afternoon; night photography practice.  

October 28     

Spend the day on a beautiful journey southwards through remarkably diverse landscapes:

Visit Swiss-like Ifrane; have lunch in Midelt; descend into the Ziz Valley; arrive at Erfoud, gateway to the Sahara.   

October 29

Continue on 4x4s into the Sahara Desert south of Erfoud. Visit with nomads; enjoy private lunch at an oasis.

A breathtaking late afternoon awaits: sunset camel ride, dinner and overnight in private desert camp.  

October 30     

Sunrise in the dunes; continue exploring the Desert in the morning, then head westward.

Afternoon walk in the striking Todra Gorge, and continue into the beautiful Dades Valley. 

October 31       

Leisure time in the morning to review photos and relax.  

Lunch at a Berber home in the Skoura Oasis; tour the imposing 11th century Kasbah of Ait Ben Haddou. 

November 1      

Cross the beautiful High Atlas Mountains en route to Marrakech.

Late afternoon walk in Marrakech to magical Djemma el Fna Square at dusk.

November 2    

Guided tour through Marrakech’s ancient medina.  In addition to souks and artisan areas:

Visit the Ben Youssef Medersa; Visit the Photography Museum, hosted by the Director.  Explore Djemma el Fna again.

November 3    

Morning visit to historic Marrakech monuments (Bahia Palace, Badia Palace, Koutoubia Mosque).

Afternoon options for leisure time back in Marrakech; final photo show & Farewell Dinner.  

 November 4   

Return Home

 Optional Extensions

PRE-TRIP: Depart three days earlier, on October 21st, to add a night in Casablancaplus two nights in the stunning blue city of Chefchaouenup in the Rif Mountains (or simply depart a night earlier on October 23rdto add Casablanca on a private basis). 

POST-TRIP: Extend two nights in beautiful seaside Essaouira, returning home on November 6th.*

*Note: For those interested, David Wells will be offering some optional teaching during the optional extensions on video. A small supplement will apply and in Essaouira includes an extra day for post-processing (with return home November 7th). 

Accommodation

ALGILA FES in Fes

The Algilà Fès is nestled at the end of a quiet street near the heart of the ancient labyrinth of the Fes Medina. An architectural gem, it offers modern comforts  in a traditional setting. Comprised of three inter-connected 18th century residences, rooms are arrayed around three separate courtyards adorned with fountains, palm trees, and sitting areas. Delightful details include a rooftop terrace with marvelous views over the medina and a small library of guidebooks and Moroccan literature.

KASBAH HOTEL CHERGUI in Erfoud

In a privileged, quiet, setting minutes away from the spectacular Saharan dunes, the tasteful and recently constructed hotel is surrounded by large tracts of land next to palm groves and rich vegetation. Comfortable rooms, a tranquil atmosphere, competent and warm staff, and good cuisine—both Moroccan and international—make staying here a memorable experience.  Meals are served indoors or outdoors and there is a spa with massage service and jacuzzi.

YOUR PRIVATE DESERT CAMP in the Sahara at Erg Chebbi

Our luxurious private camp is located in the heart of the magical Saharan desert dunes, far from areas visited by other tourists, only accessible by camel or 4x4 vehicle. In a truly magical setting, it is run by a warm and professional staff of locals who will treat us to true desert hospitality. Individual bedroom tents with comfortable beds adjoin to a smaller tent with a hot shower, toilet, and sink. The entire camp is covered in colorful Berber carpets with cushions. Food is prepared on-site by a private chef, and traditional candle-lit dinners are served in a cozy restaurant tent. Running water and generator-powered electricity add earthly comforts to a truly remarkable experience. A band of local Gnawa musicians will join us for the evening as dusk turns to dark, revealing an awesome, star-filled night sky.

XALUCA DADES in Boulmane-Dades

One of the best hotels in the area, Xaluca Dades is a fine 4-star hotel in the Dades Valley, just 12 miles from the actual Dades Gorges, and in the heart of the beautiful Atlas Mountains. All rooms have a modern/Moroccan décor, flat screen satellite TV, free WiFi, a telephone, mini-bar, A/C and radial heating. Other on-site amenities include a restaurant serving international cuisine, a large bar, a spa & hammam, an outdoor swimming pool and jacuzzi, fitness rooms and tennis courts, a shop, and even a heliport.

KSAR IGHNDA by Ait Ben Haddou

On the edge of the desert by the Atlas Mountains and near the stunning village of Ait Ben Haddou, the Ksar Ighnda hotel blends in with the surrounding natural beauty in an authentic, yet modern, setting. Amenities include satellite TV, mini-bars, safe, and a spa.

RIAD AL RIMAL in Marrakech

Our final abode—ideally located in the ancient area of Ksour and only steps away from the main square Djemma El-Fna—Riad Al Rimal features a traditional hammam (steam bath), a spa, heated pool, and a jacuzzi. Traditional in decor, this riad offers a touch of modernity and comfort in the heart of the ancient medina.