In anticipation to a November break to Marrakesh in Morocco, I spent a good while trying to decide between Canon’s latest, greatest compact offerings, the Powershot S95 & the IXUS 1000HS.

To cut a long story short, I bought this badboy…

And it was loads of fun getting to know it it in Marrakesh last week.  As a major fan of the tilt-shift lens look (see blog post here), I was particularly interested in & impressed by the ‘Miniature mode’ (which works on both stills and HD video).  It not only gave that great selective, perspective blur, but also the impression of depth of field, which you so rarely get with compact cameras and their tiny sensors.  I was impressed with how this mode lets you choose how shallow the blur is going to be, where to place it & whether you want that blur to be on a horizontal or vertical plane.  It was such a nicely thought through feature, that the majority of my Marrakesh stills were shot on this mode!

So here we begin! Clare, m’sen & two pals of ours, Jules & Tom, disembark at Aeroport Marrakech Menara!

I’ve always been a massive advocate of travel.  It opens your mind, fills your eyes & helps you value what you have.  Over various holidays & years out, I’ve visited over 50 countries, often as a solo backpacker.  Photography is a wonderful companion to the solitary wanderer; allowing one to somehow make real one’s experience.  I find stamping those photons into pixels stores a memory in a way my memory can’t.  It helps me frame what I see & truly soak it in, in a cleaner way.

Anyhoos, enough hyperbole… Marrakesh!

Riads are Morocco’s a kind of home & hotel, based around an open courtyard, used for socialising. We checked into ours, got a great intro to Marrakesh from the manager Ali over mint tea (which we were allowed unlimited of during our stay) and off we wandered to find the food stalls in the main square…

The Djamaa el Fna is an amazing place, buzzing with BBQ smoke, snake charmers, lights and noise.  The smells are unbelievable.

I like how from a height the simulated tilt-shift effect does make things look miniature.

I like this snap of some dude being worked over in a long negotiation on the entrance to the Souks.

We kicked off the next morning with a mint tea & set about exploring

From the rooftops you could see the Atlas Mountains!

You can see why it’s called ‘Miniature mode’ eh?  I love it.

Marrakesh’s old town is a warren of winding backstreets and there wasn’t a map around that made an effort to chart them.

Basically, if you hit the old fortified wall, turn round & wander on.  If you’re lost, ask locals for the main square.

Everywhere felt impressively safe actually.

It’s amazing also to leave Englands wintery grey and be bathed in 25 degree sunshine!

I love the random street signs & how everything’s been a bit botched.

Check the random cables tied to the wall

In amongst these tight bustling backstreets are fabulous oases of tranquility, like the Ben Youssef Mosque.

The ornate intricacies of the place are mind blowing.

There’s  my Clare over the otherside!

Back in the warren like ‘souks’ where you can  buy pretty much anything you desire.

We saw this very chap on Jamie Does Marrakesh

I rather like this tilty street scene.  I far prefer motorbikes stationary, as opposed to the speeds they bomb around on them.

Lots a gw’on in this one.  Tres Moroccan.

Another long backstreet scene.

I love how easy it is to wander away from the tourist square and see local life being lived.

In an old palace we marveled at more mad detailing

and did a few stupid tilt-shift jumping shots, to the bemusement of a nearby guard.

When we spread the word that we were hitting Marrakesh, we were positively bombarded by warnings about not eating the street fodder.

So we fragrantly ignored it & got involved.  It was all delicious, and somehow we stayed regular!

It looks like the Caribbean in this palace eh?

In a park we had a little play with perspective.

One of the ancient gates, rusty hues & brilliant cobalt skies.

This one was actually called the black gate, not cos of it’s culture, but because the wealthy wouldn’t use it.  Back-along, and the world across, the wealthy in sunny cultures used to avoid getting tanned to show how they don’t have to work outdoors.  Paler skin showed higher class; and the poor worked in the sun got tanned.  Hence this gate being called the black gate.

One  windy meander brought us out on this bustling little local market.  Not a tourist in sight.

Carefully sculpted spice mountains lined the streets

The mint tea is super refreshing & the French legacy remains in both language & pastries!

I always like shooting pics of sellers/workers surround by their produce/work

This was another place we later learned Jamie visited, but it sells Tangiers (as well as roasted sheep heads on the left!).  Tangiers are a Marrakeshi speciality; roast meat with veg & spices for 4+hrs in a kiln.

It literally fell off the bone.

I like this chap taking the handbreak off his donkey.

I saw this shaft of sunlight against a wonderful baked wall & love this portrait of Clare.

This is one of many doorway shots I caught around the city.

Which is your fave?

I think this is mine.

This one’s kinda spooky

I like the way they reuse old tyres to make pots & picture frames.

No-one on this street but a lonely Jawa.

The ‘Incomparable Palace’, an ancient, giant ruined palace.

You could climb up on the walls to really get that miniature toytown look.

And underneath was a wicked network of underground rooms & tunnels.

While we race from home to work & live our lives behind closed doors, I love how some cultures put it all out on the street.

We were amazingly impressed with Marrakesh.  It’s not for everyone, especially those who don’t like things dirty, smelly & in their face, but I reckon it must be the most culturally different destination currently being offered on a low-cost airline route.

It felt like going to india, but for £60.

We’ve brought back a leather poof (that smells of urine & pigeon poo) and an ace 12 cup mint tea pot to remind us of our adventure!

I was also super pleased with my new IXUS 1000HS compact.  That tilt shift look was loads of fun to bring a fun element to the images.  Even better was the tilt shift video feature.  Remember the post I did about the New York tilt-shift timelapse video ‘The Sandpit’ (post here)? Well this little IXUS badboy does that effect in camera!  No rendering 8 frames a second into a 25p movie & adding tilt-shift in post, just set the tilt & hit record!

Check back tomorrow for my fave clips, chopped into a wee tilt-shift movie!

B

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