Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Morocco 2015 Trip Day 2 Lost

Morocco 2015 Trip Day 2

Arrived at the  RM Menara hotel just in time for dinner last evening.
Wake up call 7 AM, Yoga 7:30... breakfast 8:30.. On the bus by 10:00..Hassan passing out our daily water for our tour of Marrakesh...  also counting the heads so no one is missing.

Yoga in the gorgeous lounge opposite the dining room
Composite plus Polaroid texture 

Our first stop was an artificial lake in the Menara Gardens..
Impressed with the wide plaza leading to the lake.... the local people including the venders that were everywhere.... Here is a composite of two views... one leading up to the lake and second of the lake.
Combined both photos and merged then  ran two filters in Topaz Simplicity, hard pencil and painting IV which I masked and blended in.

Lake Manara Marrakech, Morocco

I was impressed and a bit overwhelmed by all the patterns that where everywhere, sidewalks,buildings,gates etc. I made this composite of three photos. One of the entrances to the mosque a second of a prayer sitting at the entrance. I used one of the pattern detail images.  Experimented with filters from Topaz Simplicity 

Muslim prayer and gateway

Facade of the Mosque
Two filters from Topaz Simplicity

Our next stop was to the Medina, the old city in Marrakech....lots of alleys,shops, smells and textures.

Entrance to The Medina
Smartphone from bus window


This is the where I got LOST.. Well really not lost..I knew I was in Marrakech but had lost sight of my group. Here is the last spot where when I lost the group.   On the top right I inserted a blowup of the people near a store where I thought I spotted my daughter with the new hat.  But when I got there... nada... no one from the group in site. Where to go left or right!!! Well I chose left as there seemed to be some attraction in that direction... a few twists and turns and I was in a sort of courtyard with people lined up to view a room. Thought I spotted the girl with the hat ...called out... no one answerd.  Went back to the store and looked to the right but didn't see any signs of any group... ( later I learned that they were in a cosmetic shop listening to a lecture about argam oil and cosmetics ) so back to the square.  One young Morracan boy asked me, in broken English if I was looking for something..answerd "I Lost my group" Well he seemed to know where MY group was among the many that were touring... so I started to follow him and another young man.

Last spot 
See girl with hat in insert.

Well then I thought that the group would be visiting the Mallah, Jewish Quarter so my new companions took me through the alleys to the Jewish Quarter to the Old Synagogue.  There I met a lovely lady from the Jewish Community that explained that there were no groups expected that day... which was the eve of Sukkot and also of Muslim feast Eid al-Fitr.  So off we went through the allies back to some main square. Took only 2 shots during my walk. Mind wasn't exactly on photography....composite showing the alley from the Synagogue and an interesting door with a Hamsa doorknob. I must have been some sight following two young Morocan boys.

My Morrocan guides 
Alley from Jewish Synagogue
Composite + Topaz Simplicity filters

Back to the main square there many tourist buses and we asked a driver about our group... Showed him a shot taken the day before of our bus and driver.... he didn't know him... Then I got the idea that I may have the the telephone number of our guide David... seaching through my phone found the number but alas it was his Tel-Aviv cell number... and the paper with his Moroccan number was back at the hotel...  my new guides helped me change money to make public calls... in the end got change from a local woman sitting and selling some odd items.... the boy saw that the change was not correct and spoke with her harshly demanding the correct amount.... why I didn't think to call the hotel was beyond me... had the hotel card....

Our GREAT driver

Well this is really turning into a long blog!!!! Long story short decided to taxi back to the hotel....David, our guide told us it would cost about 20 Dirhams but taxi driver charged me 50... one of my guides accompanied me in the taxi... saying he was to visit a friend in the Police station nearby...so off we went... let me tell you you are taking your life in your hands driving around Marrakech.... my guide got a generous tip... actually more than he asked for... wasn't that familiar with exchange rate ...the taxi driver also wanted another 20 dirhams to take my guide back to the square.... end of the line buddy... NADA...

Back at the hotel went immediately to the conseirge and told them that I was from David's group and they  told me that he has called about 1000 times looking to see if I returned..... I thought well I would spend the rest of the day relaxing by the pool... think I deserved that!!! It wasn't much more than 15-20 minutes that my daughter Yael  knocked on the door.... she also had a story to tell... remember the cosmetic shop... well the owner brought her back to the hotel on a moterbike... YIKES.   So back in a taxi ... back to the to the square... the group was on its own to wander ans shop....
Steet Scene

Also we got Henna drawings...

After bringing some refreshments she grabbed my hand and also made a drawing on my hand... which lasted the whole trip....

Henna Drawing

 In the early evening we went back to the Jemaa el-Fnaa square for more shopping and Marrakech experience... this time we rode there by horse and buggy!!! I was quite tired and overwhelmed by the crowds etc.  Yael said it reminded her of India only India MUCH more.... 

Horse and Buggy
A very popular way of transportation in 

Jemaa el-Fnaa Square
Early Evening

Jemaa el-Fnaa Square
Early Evening

Bazarre Jemaa el-Fnaa Square 
Composite plus filters from Topaz Simplify 

My Moroccan Album on flickr 


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Morocco 2015 Trip Day 1

Morocco 2015 Trip Day 1

I am going to stray from my usual format of showing what's on my easel or sketch book to a description of my wonderful trip to Morocco --September 25 - Oct 6....I had brought my sketchbook and pencils hoping that I would have time to do some on spot sketches... what a dream that was.... Everyday day was so packed that I hardly had time to breathe let alone sketch.. many times arriving at the hotel just in time for the dinner. I did take loads of photos  with my regular Canon G11 and my new smartphone Meizu Note2 which has a marvelous camera. The trip was integrated with daily Yoga class in the mornings. My daughter was the instructor.

At first I thought I would make some sketches from the photos... how to choose which one..there are so many and each day there were 3 -4 different experiences. I have yet to process the photos, I shoot mostly in RAW,  so I decided to make some compositions using 2- or more photos.... I did a course with some online friends of the book by Katrin Eismann  Photoshop Masking & Compositing so it will be a good chance to brush up on my Photoshop skills. So this will be more like my travel diary.

Day 1 was a long and tedious day traveling with about 3-4 hours left of daylight after processing our passports at Mohammad V airport in Casablanca. First an explanation.. I was part of a group tour from Israel to Morocco. Since Morocco does not have diplomatic relations with Israel  the visa process was long almost 3 hours since they had to process 6 large groups from Israel with only 2 clerks.

Yael relaxing with a head stand!!!
That's me in the reflection!!!

After finally leaving the airport we headed to the Grand Mosque Hassan II.  It then really hit me. Here I was in a Muslim country..I was  greatly impressed with the wide open spaces, the patterns, the people and the beautiful day!!! I have uploaded a group on my Flickr account. Its minaret is the world's tallest at 210 metres (689 ft). Wikipedia

The main tower, the plaza, family groups
Mosaics and tiles

With not much time left we headed over to one the popular Boulevard de la Corniche and the Miami Plage for some refreshment before heading  to Marakech... 2 -3 hours away.  

Yael had coffee
I had ice cream on a waffle!!!

On the way we stopped for --rest rooms- and some refreshments at a gas station on the main toll road... like  "Yellow" in Israel... Moroccan style!!! 

On the way to Marrakesh

Thursday, October 1, 2015

September 30 x 30 Final Collage

September 30 x 30   Final Collage

At the end of each 30 x 30 Challenge we make a collage of all the works.. I use Photovisi for my collages...easy/simple and very user friendly

A months work.. 30 new sketches that some will hopefully be the basis of some paintings..  They all look great altogether... Thanks Leslie for the opportunity to challenge my self and share with so many great artists.

Photovisi collage