Candid street photography in Morocco is exciting and challenging. In preparation for this trip, I decided to take my new Pentax K-5 with my favorite street photography lens – Pentax 21 mm f/3.2. I picked up a Pentax 70mm f/2.4 in the unlikely case I needed extra reach along with a Pentax K20D for backup. In fact, for most of my pictures I used a K-5 with 21mm, except for the few shots in a Fez tannery with a 70mm.
Morocco is a wonderful country. Unfortunately for photographers, the general attitude towards being photographed is very negative.Street performers and water sellers (nobody buys anything from them any more) are very happy to pose…for a fee. Since I’m only interested in candid photography, I used extreme discretion.
On narrow streets you are almost always close to your subject. Wide angle lenses are probably the only right tools for this situation. All pictures that involve people are taken without using the viewfinder by shooting from the hip. I kept the camera in my hand with a wrist strap for assurance.
Portrait oriented pictures are taken with my hand straight down at my right side.
To make the landscape oriented shots I had to raise my hand just below my chest.
Framing is not the only challenge. Bright sun, narrow streets, and covered souks make very high contrast scenes.
In retrospect, I think that my choice of a 21mm lens was ideal for my shooting style, even though I regretted not having a 14mm lens with me. The relatively quiet operation of a Pentax K-5 definitely helps, at least psychologically, for taking candid pictures in close range.
I will be back in Morocco, “Insha’Allah” (God willing).
For more pictures go to Morocco 2010